Cultural Revolution Through Art

上海 Blog #13

二零一五年六月二号星期四二

Tuesday June 2nd, 2015

Local Time: 20:59 Shanghai Time

Given this being my 13th blog post, I’d like to begin by debunking a common myth regarding China. In my hotel/dorm/thing whatever you want to call it, does in fact have all 15 floors. They did not skip floor four nor floor thirteen. The building may be unlucky, but it stands just fine.

We were supposed to go to the Pearl Tower today, Shanghai’s most iconic building. However, our trip was postponed due to pour (haha get it?) weather. I mean, it’s pretty much been pouring all morning, so I’m glad they did. I’d like to actually be able to see something when we eventually go.

Instead, we went to the Chinese Propaganda Museum. I feel like the name really over glorifies it, so don’t get the wrong idea. Our bus arrived at an apartment complex, we piled off, followed a stone path ducking under trees and around bushes to a back door, down some sketchy stairs to a secluded basement full of a couple hundred or so vintage posters. Later, I was informed by one of our chaperones that the “museum” was really more of a private collection and the man who owned had been in business twenty years, but only legally for the most recent three. How reassuring. I can’t say I found the posters terribly interesting, especially since I couldn’t read them, but the stories Ma 老师 told about her parents’ experiences during the Cultural Revolution was quite fascinating. Her father came for the Labor class, so he didn’t mind it, but her mother came from a family of scholars and watched Chairman Mao’s propaganda tear her family apart.

The funny thing about the Propaganda “Museum” was despite its unofficialness it did have a gift shop where it must make absolute bank because almost everyone bought a good 20-150 kuai worth of stuff except me.

We went to yet another market afterwards and really perfected our haggling skills. It’s an art and it’s fun. It’s also a great place to practice speaking Mandarin. This market today was the largest I’ve visited. Standing about four stories, it was an endless labyrinth. You begin seeing a lot of the same merchandise over and over again, so it’s best to shop around and get lots of price quotes before trying to strike a deal.

Side note, I’m looking forward to returning to the land of decent wifi. Even ResNet at UW works better than this, and that’s saying something. Just another privilege I took for granted I suppose. On the other hand, there are quite a few things I will miss about China when I return home in a couple of weeks. Some of the food. The fabulous tea. The kind people. The language practice. The amount of exercise I get (I’m getting so buff, it’s great!). Zhai老师,Ma 老师, Shao老师.The challenge of the language barrier. The haggling and cheap stuff. China’s pretty cool. I recommend.

At the fake market
At the fake market
At the fake market
At the fake market
At the fake market
At the fake market
West Nanjing Road at night
West Nanjing Road at night
Best cheap Chinese ice cream
Best cheap Chinese ice cream
Propaganda poster
Propaganda poster
Propaganda posters at sketchy museum
Propaganda posters at sketchy museum