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21 April

My plans for future business activities in China are now quite clear and I find it is not necessary to spend as much time at the trade shows, so instead of returning to the Global Sources trade fair I decided to do more looking around in Shanghai.

I have heard a few times about an area of town called Xintiandi which is supposed to be quite an interesting place to see. This appeared to be a good time to fit it in to my journey. It is not far from the People's Square so I walked there after getting off the Metro and passed by the museum on the way.

It appeared to me to be the haunt for those living the socially extravagant lifestyle. One place of great interest to me was the site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China where I learned more of the history of the country. Most of the site is set up to follow the sequence of events and includes signs in English. I noticed a doorway off to the side on my way to the souvenir room which had a sign only in Chinese; so, since I am adventuresome, I decided to enter and see what lay inside. It was a room filled with pictures and Chinese writing about the women in the history of the communist era.

During my stroll in the area, I noticed an office of Wall Street English and entered to find out whether it would be possible to work for them. I was surprised by the atmosphere of the place when I entered and it took me a moment to adjust. It was very metallic in appearance and had subdued bluish lighting. When I asked for information I was told to contact their main office in Pudong. At least this center had staff that understood English questions. The other two English training places I visited couldn't understand when I asked questions.

On my way out a 21 year old girl started talking with me and told me she was a student there. She wanted to spend some time talking with me and I agreed to go to a nearby park with her so she could have a chance to use English. We talked for about an hour and then I walked with her to where she lives and then went to Nanjing Rd.

I went to McDonalds and bought a sundae and coffee to enjoy on a bench as I watched the people go by. As I was eating the ice cream one of the ladies I encountered in the past started talking with me again. She wanted me to buy her a sundae also, but I declined. She then said that all she needed was 2RMB to get one so I relented. When I gave her the money she then said she also wanted 2 for each of her friends who were sitting nearby. I then realized I had been taken in and refused to give her more.

A short while later another girl came by and talked with me for about 15 minutes and didn't ask for money so I guess there are a few who are not only looking for financial gain.

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