Back from the weekend, which I mainly used to get some rest and recover from whatever was going on in my stomach. Thus, Saturday was my lazy day and I spent it in my apartment, no sweating, no food that confuses my stomach, just writing some emails and trying to find a private Chinese teacher, because I decided to learn the language as good as I can. This would make living here easier since people keep talking to me in Chinese as if they expected that I can talk their language or at least understand it – I hate to disappoint them, but most of the time I get them to laugh in return.
Let me just talk a bit about the last 2 days.
While I wrote the first sentence I noticed that I have forgotten what I did Sunday, or at least though that I already told you. So let’s just pretend Shanghai didn’t have a Sunday last weekend.
Oh .. now I got it. I did …. Something on Saturday but had a lazy Sunday. Something like this. Wow…dizzy!
However, the lazy Sunday as I recall it, ended with an invitation that I, once again, got from my flatmate Fiona. She invited me to go out with her, Yui and roughly 10 friends of them, to eat sushi in a Mall-restaurant at around 19.30. I got a message around 17.30 that she and a friend will be eating an hour early and if I’d like to join – I wrote “Yes, on my way”. Hopped out of my sweatpants into some jeans and a beige tee-shirt. Got outside and to the metro station. The heat wasn’t as bad as in the afternoon but it was still enough to get me soaked after one station (note: there IS air-condition in the metro), so I texted Fiona “Forgot my metro card, will be there at 19.30”, because I didn’t wanna show up sweaty and all. It’s just not my style. So, got back to the apartment, changed clothes and was running late – I thought to myself “take a cab” and that is what I did, because I thought it was a good idea. Turned out not be! Here is why – I took a picture of the Chinese address from google, so I could show the cab driver. It was rush-hour and I was standing on my street to wait for a free cab to drive by. It took me 3 cab drivers till I got (5 minutes late) to my destination. Here again, is why – First one, could not read what I had taken a picture of, therefore had no address; the second one ….. ohhhh the second one…good times. I hopped into the cab and here is a little information for you: Cab drivers have cages around them, that don’t allow passengers to hurt or even touch them. There is just a small little space above the dashboard where you can hand him/her the address. So, what I did was obviously wrong, because I took a seat and reached him my blackberry (with all my forearm on his side) to show him the address. He started screaming and shouting and I think I saw a tear in his eyes. It was too intimate for him and I violated his private space…..learned my lesson!
I arrived at the sushi restaurant, Gatten Sushi, and was greeted by 4 chinese girls, Suzuki (Fionas friend who must be the happiest guy on earth, because he is always joking and smiling) , one Irish girl and a German guy. Dinner was good, although pretty expensive for SH-standard (15,-).
But this dinner helped me to confirm my believe that I recently had about foreigners in Shanghai (pretty sure that I got this impression on Saturday, whatever the hell I did back then…) . They are all Assholes.
Okay, not all of them, but most of them (not those, that learned the language and are trying to be one with the culture like the Irish girl) and you can tell that by their appearance. Despite all expectations, the most evil eyes that I got in my time here, were from foreigners, checking you out and probably trying to see if you are cool or not, if you’re an expatriate or you’re just tourist. I gotta say, I am pretty glad to have contact with locals that show me around and want to meet up with me, because finding friends, under those circumstances, is not really easy. Especially if you are picky, like me!
I like the idea of listing topics and giving you some more information about it, so here we go.
Why Chinese smoke
What I am telling you now is probably not the main reason why people smoke here, but it might have a bigger influence than some might expect.
Not only are cigarettes extremely cheap, prices ranging from 40 cents to 2,50 Euro, but the way they are presented is just unique. Tobacco shops in China – doesn’t matter where you find them, in the mall, on a busy street or a small little backalley – look like you are at the freakin’ jeweler. Cigarette Flagship stores everywhere, with cigarettes presented in a vitrine and the sales people (mostly) wear chic clothing. Pretty interesting to see and I will definitely take a picture of one, to post it here.
Chinese people = the human chameleon
When I came to Holland, I sure knew that people love to ride their bike. They do it all the time, when it’s sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy, dutch people just don’t care. The fascinating thing however is, how fast they adapt to changing weather. You can’t count till three and dutch people are already riding their bike with a freakin’ rain poncho on. The same thing is true of Chinese people. They are masters in this. Not only do they ride their bike with rain ponchos on within the first drops to hit the ground underneath them(which is even more difficult, because Shanghai doesn’t need clouds to rain as we have learned from my first post) , they also wear their sunshades right on time. Sometime you see people with rain ponchos on and their sunshades, because the sun comes through every now and then. Another skill they have (We have learned, that Chinese women wear umbrellas when the sun comes out for not getting a tan) is to put up their umbrella exactly when sun shines down on the ground before them, with them NOT EVEN LOOKING. It is hard to explain this scenario but they are impressive when they adapt to changing weather conditions.
ALWAYS makes my day. Too special
South Memory Restaurant
The South Memory Restaurant was the restaurant that I chose for having lunch today, as I walked through Luijiazui Greenland (very cool) and Century Park (pretty boring, but huge). This restaurant is situated in the Super Brand Mall in New Pudong (where all the financial Skyscrapers are) and I chose it because it wasn’t to expensive for a mall-restaurant.
After I told them that I was alone and wanted a table for myself, they giggled and lead me to a nice table at the window (view from it in the picture below). It was obviously not usual to come here alone. Luckily the menu was in English, unfortunately the waitress didn’t know any English, which was the reason for me pointing at “Beef with chili” which had 2 of 5 chilis (on a scale from 1-5) and I honestly thought “Sounds good and not too spicy”.
I thought wrong….so wrong again. After the waitresses they served the dish (tea was already on the table) and my 600ml TsingDao Beer.
When I picked up the chopsticks, the waitress came once again and talked to me in Chinese (she already had a pretty monotone conversation about my beer order from before) , so I leaned on the table, a little bit forward, smiled and was about to tell here that I have no idea what she is talking about, when she suddenly ran away. This left me confused and I picked up the chopsticks, when I saw her running through the whole restaurant. By now you can guess what she was looking for – she came back with knife and fork. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of other customers, so I laid down knife and fork and ate like a Chinese MAN!! I thought, I can still use them for the small rest afterwards, so she didn’t run for nothing.
However, the first bite was good. The second a bit spicy. And after the third one, I knew why they serve tea with every dish, to extinguish the fire in your mouth, since beer doesn’t work (with all the gas in it). I thought wrong (made it even worse) and by that point, I had the feeling that they wanted to kill me “What the hell is wrong with this country? TWO CHILIS??? SERIOUSLY???
I ended up eating just the beef and onions. I was glad, when the waitress brought me 1/7 of a water melon for desert. In the picture below, you’ll see the reason why I’m writing this blog post while sitting on the toilet (not even kidding!). I really want to say that it was good, because it was, but I’m just too much of a sissy to stand this level of spiciness.
I seriously cried when I had my 3 bite
The view from my table
Why people talk so loud in Shanghai
I have the answer to the question that everybody asks himself, when he first gets to Shanghai. People in the streets talk really loud with each other, or while talking on the phone. But why is that?
Well, it has to have something to do with a product that I have been looking for, since my arrival 7 days ago. Q-tips!! I wouldn’t say that I have been to every grocery store in Shanghai looking in every aisle for Q-tips, but basically I WAS!!! They don’t have it. Ergo … we conclude – People can’t get the dust and construction waste or whatever OUT OF THEIR EARS. Means they don’t hear that good and need to talk loud. Simple and at the same time so brilliant, right?
Just a little side note, Chinese love to use their smartphones. We know that. But they do it differently. They do not just write WhatsApp-messages, they send Voice-messages, which I find very interesting and also pretty cool. This is obviously very common here.
That is it! Sorry to let you wait, but it takes me pretty long to find the time to write those lines. I will be posting some more pictures pretty soon.
BTW, you remember me writing about the stores on Nanjing East Road taking air-conditioning way too serious?
The Super Brand Mall in New Pudong is leading. I took this picture from a pedestrian bridge. The air-conditioning of this mall (see how small those doors are?) is so strong that it is still cool on the upper stairs. As soon as you’ve reached the bridge and took 2 steps, it’s possibly 10 – 15°C degrees warmer.