Here I am with all my luggage before flying out from San Francisco. Just so you know, most others here have shipped several boxes of things, so I did very well. I had to pay $270 to get my luggage here but I get to use the rest of the $3,000 they gave me for shipping to ship things home at the end of my contract.
Today we were picked up again for breakfast and afterwards went sim card shopping, grocery shopping, bike shopping, and exploring.
The number 4 is considered an unlucky number in China because of its similarity to the word for death. The number 8 is considered very lucky, which you probably have heard if you have watched any of the Olympics. When we went to get sim cards for our phones, we got to choose our phone numbers from a list posted on the wall. The more 8's in the number, the more expensive it is. We opted for some 4's. My number actually does have two 8's in it as well. There are no phone plans here so you get a sim card and then charge up your card to make calls and text messages.
After getting our phones working, we went grocery shopping at Jenny Lou's. It is largely an ex-pat visited store and the prices show. I bought some basic necessities but we planned to hit up a market for fruits and veggies later.
Next up was the bike shop. Nate - I wish you were there with me! I have never bought a bike in my life. I have owned a few that were given to me (a red one I learned on, a purple one from Dad, two discarded ones in college). I went with comfort. I am now the proud owner of a Giant Athena bike....with a bell and basket. I've got a nice comfortable seat and I don't have to lean over to reach the handlebars. Apparently, in Japan, some call the bike I got a "Mama Bike". It does have gears and hand brakes which none of my old bikes ever had! (I've always been all about the coaster brakes!) I also got a bell, basket, and lock. It cost me about $130 total. My school is giving us each a helmet.
After the bike shopping, Brian, George, and I decided to check out a market again. This time we knew where to go and explored a large market just down the street from us. We took a taxi this time, but it will probably only take about 10 minutes to ride there on our bikes in the future. I bought a bunch of veggies and a dozen eggs for about $4 (broccoli, cucumbers, tomato, asparagus, and eggs). We bought some noodles and beers for a late lunch and were pleasantly surprised to find that our three heaping bowls of delicious noodles, one plate of edamame, and three beers cost us about $1 each.
Tomorrow we finally get to go to our new school and get a tour of the campus. As promised, here are some pictures of my apartment: