A Rant About Our Shanghai Guide and other China Frustrations

I woke up very early the second AM startled awake by realizing that I don’t have access to home because Cloud (our Shanghai guide) decided that an internet phone was too expensive and did not translate for me accurately.  He didn’t let me make my own choice, and steered me away from the phone.  So I can’t get to Google translate to see what characters mean and I can’t use simple phrases myself.  I’m mad at myself for deciding to be dependent on technology and a translator rather than committing more to learning basic things.
Cloud basically dumped us the third afternoon, hustling us through the Jade Buddha Temple.  I’m mad at myself for not asserting that I wanted more time there.  Yes, we needed the rest, but there were wonders there that I did not get to see.  How many times did John say:  You are in control.  It’s your trip.  Tell the guides what you want. 
 I’m also frustrated about eating.  Said we wanted simple light food for lunch.  He took us to a restaurant in a shopping mall, when I would have just preferred noodles, dumplings or buns on the street.  Something quick and simple.  We had so much food  at lunch we could not eat dinner.  I had a banana at 5:00 pm and that was it.  Could not bring myself to eat anything else.  I know we can eat cheaper.  I spent Y3 on two bananas yesterday.  I’m sure we could have had food for Y30-40 instead of the Y100 that we spent.  The places he took us seemed to be almost the same.  Both in shopping malls, with similar pictures on the menus.  Each dish Y38 or Y68.  Pot of tea Y68.  Bowl of soup Y38.  I know yesterday he wanted us to buy the “sea water duck” the place is known for, and I think he was put out that we did not.  
Then there was the tea.  I’m not sorry I bought the tea, nor had the tasting, but topped with other stuff, I’m beginning to think we were hustled.  It is clear to me that there was bak-shish connected with both meals and the tea event.  I suspect part of the reason I don’t have a phone is the lack of a kick back. But most of the  angst is self directed for not taking care of myself.
Back to technology.  So the lack of wifi makes it imperative that I acquire additional camera  cards today.  And I have no idea how to accomplish that.
Later.  Not only did I not acquire camera cards, we ran right up against how difficult it is if you don’t speak the language here.  The things I had planned to use the on-line translator for just are unable to happen.  We got into a cab tonite to go to dinner.  He couldn’t understand my language asking what the fare was.  I showed him the written characters.  “Money” he growled.  But we couldn’t get across our agreement and he basically dumped us back on the front steps of our hotel.  There two young people suggested we would be wisest not to go out to dinner because we would not be able to get a cab back to the hotel.
Went in search of a Starbucks with WiFi on our last night in Shanghai because we really wanted to upload photos and post to WordPress.  WiFi says we connected, but couldn’t access internet.  And the VPN was blocked as well.  Not even any email.  Ugh!
I remained without internet access on Saturday.  The new hotel again has only LAN connection.  WiFi in the lobby allows access to email (sometimes) but no internet even using the VPN.  I find this very frustrating.  I do not plan to send out incendiary materials.  I just want to be able to communicate with home.
This is a wonderful tour, but it’s still a tour.  We don’t get to see where the people live, work, shop.  Been trying to buy tea and munchies for our long travel day tomorrow and all we have is souvenir food, like salt water taffy at the shore.  You can ask and search and not find where to buy anything you might need if you lived here.  The tourist markets are getting more than a little old.  How many more “hello” can I sell you something, anything’s, can I take?
Confirmation about pain in the butt guide.  Arrived in Dali, which turned out to be China’s biggest tourist trap.  BUT, out there on the tourist trap streets were many China Mobile offices selling pay as you go smart-phones.  Our f’ing guide in Shanghai told me that there were no such phones.  Problems with not speaking Chinese.  We’re half way through our trip, so I’m not gonna buy one now.  Just stick it out with no access and hope I don’t bite my nails or someone else’s head off when I can’t read a menu or understand a conversation.

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