Posted by: daradoodle | September 7, 2008

The Wheels Are Turning

Outside of every Fudan University teaching building, a sea of bicycles exist. Due to the size of the campus, you’re crazy not to invest in a bike. That being said, my buddy ole pal Paul from Scotland (who speaks Chinese rather fluently) was in need of a bike too. We decided to buy bikes at the same time in hopes of getting a good deal. The easiest way to purchase a bike is to select one from a bike vendor on the street. You have to have at least one lock for your bike and the vendor usually throws that in with the deal you negotiate. The lock comes with a key and it’s like none I’ve ever seen before. Take a look…

Bike Lock

The key goes in the round part

Bike Lock

Funny thing about the bike is that the quality is so bad, I can pick-up the entire thing using my pinkie finger. I fear for my life every time I get on this bike because if I were to wipe out (like I did back in June when riding one of Nate’s BMX bikes to my Chinese language class in Pasadena) I’m dead. Done. On the flip side, the bike does drastically cut the time it takes to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B.’ Here are some pics from when Paul and I acquired our beauties…

Paul checking out the situation

Paul checking out the situation

This is what I'm working with

We picked these two

That's my bike he's working on

Here's my bike

I’ve been in China for a week now and I’m already craving certain food and drink. I love U.S. breakfast. There’s nothing like two poached eggs, two slices of whole-wheat toast, and some hash browns. My new neighborhood doesn’t roll like that for breakfast. And that’s ok, because I actually really enjoy eating 包子 (baozi)or steamed dumplings in the morning. There’s a spot right across the street from the Foreign Students’ Dorm that sells baozi.

Baozi Spot

Baozi Spot

There’s two types to select from, meat or veggie. I get one of each… or in today’s case, two of each.


Unfortunately, what we know as coffee in the U.S. is not common here in China. Instead, instant coffee is the alternative. I’m not completely sold on this stuff… yet. I guess because I’m not quite clawing the walls for caffeine… wait for it… wait for it…

A much needed latte

A much needed latte

There is, however, a Howard Johnson hotel down the street that does sell “proper” coffee beverages in the lounge. It’s a bit pricey for a latte at 30元 (yuan), but they hook you up with a plate of super yummy cookies. I ate mine… and Paul’s… then the waitress restocked the plate. So between the drink and the goodies, it’s not too bad of a deal. Nate is going to send my stovetop espresso coffee maker to China soon… I look forward to that day.

Yeayyyy coffee!

Yeayyyy espresso!

Tomorrow the dates and time slots for the English taught Chinese language courses will be posted. I’ve never been more ready to get in the classroom. The J-School advisor has been tremendously helpful by emailing me info. on English taught classes. When I told him that I was taking courses for “no credit,” that opened doors for me to enroll in English taught courses. I have one more week to try classes out before registering. I already know I’m definitely enrolling in a class called “Covering China – the tug of war between commanding journalism, market-driven journalism and journalism for public interests.” Long title, but basically it’s about the history of newspapers in China. The prof. is bringing in a few guest speakers including one of “the best” investigative reporters in China. We’re also taking a field trip to a newspaper based in Shanghai. He seems very hip and 有意思 (you yisi) interesting.

Easy Access Condoms

Easy Access Condoms

The first day I ventured off campus, I couldn’t help but notice interesting dispensers attached to fences along the sidewalk. I got a closer look and learned that they’re easy access condoms! What better way to prevent AIDS and STDs than passing a condom dispenser enroute to the grocery store? You never know!


  1. OMG Dara – I love reading this stuff!!! THe condoms are quite strange – but I guess if you’re only supposed to have one child, then they got to do what they got to do!!!!!!

    Please dont crash your bike!

  2. WOman you are having so much fun.
    I am really jell jell…love the bike and baozi.
    Nice score on the Joe at HOJO and you get yummmy cookies. I bet if you turn into a regular there, you will score even more extra free sides. I can’t wait to come visit!

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