I have been away for one night and I have an awful lot of information to share with you so let’s get started!!
David Overgaard, (a golfing buddy from North Vancouver) principal of Seycove Secondary was in China (left today) with 65 music students on a whirlwind Spring Break tour and got into Shanghai on Sunday evening so I went up yesterday (Tuesday) to see him and have dinner.
Story #1. Cost of travel in China. On Sunday Terry and I came back from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway station to Jiaxing South Railway station. Cost of first class ticket: 28.5 yuan ($4.50). On Tuesday I went from Jiaxing South Railway station to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway station. Cost of first class ticket: 61.5 yuan ($10.50). Today I came back from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway station to Jiaxing South Railway station. Cost of first class ticket: 34.5 yuan ($5.75). Can any one suggest why there is a different price seemingly everytime?
Story #2.I may not speak Chinese, but I drink Scotch. I was staying at the Grand Mercure Baolong Hotel and while waiting for David to join me, I tried to order two one ounce shots of Macallan 12 year old whisky. They brought me one 2 oz. shot, so I ordered a 2nd 2 oz. When we drank we both agreed that it wasn’t Macallan (we know our whiskys) – it was likely bourbon. “Oh no,” the woman said, “I can show you the bottle. ” Like that will help! Anyone can pour bourbon into a whisky bottle. From there it was off to Kaveen’s Kitchen for a fabulous Indian dinner and then a long walk back down Nanjing Road to the Bund, which brings us to
Story #3. Does lady mean sex? The closer we got to the pedestrian mall, the more people (men and women) approached us asking if we wanted a massage – and it was either a lady massage or a sex massage. (I think it us upwards of 10 times in the 15 minutes we were walking there.) Now, I have several questions about these:
- Are they the same thing?
- Do the masseuses really look like the photos they were showing us on the phone?
- When they say younger women, do they mean young girls (God forbid) or just younger than me (God, I hope so since I would not want a “massage” from anyone older than me!)
- When I was asked by a woman if David and I were gay followed immediately by the statement that she and her partner are lesbian, just what was she getting at?
- How come today around noon I was only accosted and offered “massage” 6 times in the same stretch of street?
Story #5. Lose a lung? After taking in the lights of Pudong from the Bund, David and I jump in a cab to head back to the hotel. Now, we were only in the cab for fifteen minutes, but we think the cab driver snorted and sniffed harshly enough to lose one, if not both lungs if he ever decided to rid himself of all the phlegm he must have accumulated. I think, conservatively, he snorted every 6 seconds – it was most disconcerting. He got his though. When we got out of the cab, two very drunk guys got in!
Story #6.Starbucks has nothing on the Mercure.I get up this morning and decide to go down and sit in the restaurant, have a cup of coffee and do some work. The restaurant tells me if all I want is coffee, I can go to the lounge – which is great as they have some very comfortable chairs there. I order coffee. Now, I see that it is Blue Mountain, one of the worlds finest, and that it is 78 yuan ($13.00) but I think that it must be a small carafe for that price. Wrong. One cup – and then they add on 15% service charge so it was just a tad over $15.00 for one cup. And people say Starbucks is expensive. (Plus when you go in for breakfast, coffee is unlimited and included!)
Story #7 A walk in the park. I checked out of the hotel and proceeded on a 11km walk across Shanghai to pick up some new eye glasses Terry and I order on Sunday. On my way I passed through a lovely park which was very busy with all sorts of people:
Story #8 Through sleet and snow…Well maybe we won’t actually deliver it to you, but we will bring the parcels to the gate of the university and then spread them out and you can come and pick it up from us.
Story #9 News item “Local woman opens recycling depot” On the sidewalk as I trundled though a number of neighbourhoods, I saw a few of these. Someone collects the recycling and then brings it to a central area, where they drop it off and get paid for it.
Story #10 Terry was right, damn it – well sort of. When we first got here, Terry had a minor disagreement with one of the students, She said that the scaffolding they were using was bamboo and he said it wasn’t. Upon closer inspection it was shown that the scaffolding itself was iron but the protective fences were bamboo. Well, I am here to tell you that if we had been in Shanghai then, she would have been right!
Story #11 This was a supervised event – don’t do this on your own. We saw this on Saturday as we wandered through the backstreets of Shanghai with Barbara and Michael. Don’t worry, the parents were right beside him playing cards – and he wasn’t going anywhere.
Story #12 This really happened, I swear. Now I know that many of you are not going to believe this – you are going to call me a prevaricator, a spin doctor, an outright liar. But I swear on my mother’s grave (well on the Pacific Ocean where we scattered her ashes) that it really, truly happened. I took a cab from the Ritz-Carlton Portman to the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway station today. It was a distance of some 20 kms and a time of approximately 30 minutes. What happened you ask. It’s really what didn’t happen. Not once did the cab driver honk his horn. That’s right NOT ONCE! It’s true, I swear.