I agreed to meet my couchsurfing host at the Jing An Temple. Couchsurfing is a free network of travelers and hosts that allows you to connect with people all over the world. If a host is available and deems you worthy of being hosted, you’re in luck! I arrived before she finished work so I killed some time wandering around. I ended up walking into what seemed like a high end mall…and it had free wifi! It was the only time in China where I came across free wifi.
About an hour later, my host Liubov (Russian for love) showed up and we went to a coffee shop nearby. She had a walk that had an aura of purpose. We ended up talking about our backgrounds and a lot about fitness and health. She was really into hitting the gym and eating healthy. When I first connected with her before arriving, I thought she’d definitely be a local. Turned out she’s a Korean who was born and raised in Uzbekistan. Russian is the main language there, hence, the Russian name. She moved out to China for a change of scene and made a living by teaching English. Her English was very good, but she was venting about how Europeans who may be subpar in English would still get more clients and higher rates just from the fact that they appeared “American.”
We then decided to see the Bund, which is where the Shanghai skyline is most frequently photographed. Despite rushing there to see the skyline before 10pm, we were too late, and half the lights were already off. Liubov wanted to take me to a rooftop bar that shows a great view of the skyline, but they had a hefty cover charge that night so we strolled around the empty and dark Yuyuan Garden. We then went to an area that served street food late into the night and we enjoyed some mystery meat on skewers and shellfish.