2. the rest of it

As happens, I have not set aside the time to write regularly, and now I am starting to forget all the other stuff that happened – when I went to shanghai, nearly two weeks ago.
All up, the taxi drivers are not good. The photos from the whole thing are up at the Flickr site, minus those of my girlfriend who shall forever be unphotographed here.
The first night I stayed in a Hotel 168 (which is a chain there apparently) near Chi feng road subway (flyover) station. It had a glass wall in the shower so you could lay on the bed and look in at the person in the shower, or vice versa. Despite that, it wasn’t so great, so I changed the next day.
The manner in which people speak chinese can often seem _a bit much_. For instance, they often yell. talking, at yelling volume. The upside is you can do it too if you want — try it, just start talking to your buddy at normal vol. then halfway through go to yelling. It feels great.

I ate a lot of chinese food and most of it was really good. the girlfriend, je, who is korean brought several korean eating habits to the table, such as 1. ordering a lot 2. always wanting soup 3. always needing rice. This made for a lot of uneaten (wasted) food, but whatever, it’s not like anyone on the planet is starving or nothing.

We were fully armed with three shanghai-city travel guides. The chinese one (je speaks chinese) and the korean Lonely Planet soon got dropped for the English Lonely Planet, which due to being printed this year, was actually useful. At first we only looked at it sporadically, but then je got into it a lot more, choosing places to eat, shop and so on, according to the book. We’d get to a restaurant, she’d say “what does he recommend?” and order something according to the book. ‘He’ referred to the collective of people that write these kind of things. Man – that guy knows everything!

I can’t much go into specifics of what and where was good to eat because I left the book with her – who is still there studying. There was one place in the north of the city that was Uighur food, which was really cool. All these strange and way-interesting dudes and families sitting around on big circular tables. There was entertainment, including this Uighur dude going at it with a Uighur guitar.

uighur-rock.jpg

Also see a short clip of it.

The French Concession area was really nice. Came across a few good cafes, delis — that kind of thing – the kind of thing it’s basically impossible to find in Seoul. Seoul only has chain stores. As far as China goes, Shanghai is pretty expensive but it’s not really the kind of thing a Westerner or someone on a 1st world income notices.

We did everything the guide said including getting a massage from some blindies at Lulu, walking around the backstreets to find the old Russian church and visiting the chinese sex museum. It was pretty heavily over-rated and next door to an aquarium that actually smelled of dead fish. But as they say, sex sells (as do smelly fish).
According to the pervs on Flickr, this sordid scene was the most popular. It’s of some dodgey bloke having it off with a blind man’s wife, while he holds the kid, oblivious to what is going on.

illicit-behaviour

One place we stopped into that’s not in the book was the local branch and national headquarters for ‘wall street english’ — and english-teaching place. Je had been thinking about signing up for some courses to keep her speaking going, and more than anything, as a way of meeting chinese people (she’s just new there). when they say me there, tagging along, they seemed to feel the need to go the hard sell — as if I was the ‘rich uncle’ or something.
I’ll say this – they must have a _huge_ profit margin because that was a big place, with a lot of people learning there but they only had four native speakers on the books. It’s all done with computers, they said – which would never work in this country.

Anyway, I’ll be going back to Shangers. Mostly for the girl, but for the food too.

jinmao.jpg