So Many Stories, So Little Time

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:

I don't think David looks any more gay than I do - wait, I mean...

I don’t think David looks any more gay than I do – wait, I mean…

  1. Are they the same thing?
  2. Do the masseuses really look like the photos they were showing us on the phone?
  3. 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!)
  4. 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?
  5. 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:

Utilizing the ubiquitous workout equipment available throughout the parks of China

Utilizing the ubiquitous workout equipment available throughout the parks of China

Lots of people were waiting to get on the courts as well.

Lots of people were waiting to get on the courts as well.

Playing a friendly game of cards - well, maybe not so friendly.

Playing a friendly game of cards – well, maybe not so friendly.

Gangnam style hits China. We also saw  all sorts of people doing this last night on the Nanjing Pedestrian Mall.

Gangnam style hits China. We also saw all sorts of people doing this last night on the Nanjing Pedestrian Mall.

Doing the 2 step (I think - but then, what do I know about dancing?)

Doing the 2 step (I think – but then, what do I know about dancing?)

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.

Which parcel is yours? There was another guy just like this one right next to him.

Which parcel is yours? There was another guy just like this one right next to him.

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.

The local recycling depot.

The local recycling depot.

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!

This IS bamboo scaffolding!

This IS bamboo scaffolding!

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.

One way to make sure he didn't run away - and he was adorable.

One way to make sure he didn’t run away – and he was adorable.

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.

5 thoughts on “So Many Stories, So Little Time

  1. Lynne

    Would the difference in the prices of the rail tickets have anything to do with the time of day you travel and the day of the week?

    Reply
  2. Mike Wurtz

    Geoff, Barb and I are heading here when we return to the big city! We read this in TimeOut Shanghai.
    “Tongli is one of the smaller water towns, centering on a main junction of canals and arched bridges, but it has some unique attractions that make it worth a visit. Waterside cafes, tree-lined streets and a boat of cormorants kept for the tourists mean that it’s a photogenic place – but one of the main motivations for visiting Tongli, and what makes it stand out from the myriad water towns surrounding Shanghai, is the China Sex Museum (entry 20RMB). Set in beautiful grounds, that appropriately enough are also home to two rabbits, the museum features a range of exhibits which are by turns fascinating and hilarious. Highlights include photos of phallic rock formations; the various karma sutra-esque statues that dot the tranquil gardens; and a display of dildos through the ages, the most recent of which features the caption ‘the artificial penis use by modern lesbians [sic]’.”

    Reply
  3. David Overgaard

    Geoff an excellent recount of a great evening and a leisurely walk down Nanjing Road, however I believe your use of 10, as the number of times we were approached for massage, is very much on the conservative side. I think it was double that, as I recall, because we were just warming up with our creative answers to the posed question of sex massage by number 10.
    I tried the Macallan 12 year old when I arrived home and I was amazed at the quality, taste and the difference as compared to the alleged Macallan’s in the Baolong hotel. It did not however diminish the lovely evening, food and company of the evening. (I have a glass waiting for you upon your return this summer)
    I do believe you regarding the taxi ride without the horn going however, as our bus driver blew his horn only once in three days of traveling through the streets of Shanghai, and that once was only because a police car, with it’s lights on, (I know they always have their lights on when on the road) was getting too close to the bus during a triple vehicle u-turn from the three right hand lanes of a five lane road, and we had to do a five point turn, back and forward, back and forward, and the police car just kept getting in the damn way.
    Beijing and Xian were cities where honking every 30 seconds, needed or not, was the norm, not to mention the complete lack of the use of the marked lanes. Guilin the honking was less pronounced, mostly used on a two-lane road when passing two cars who were already passing each other while a fourth vehicle, usually a bus or truck, was coming the other way. Oh did I mention it was a two-lane road.
    Mind you the electric family scooters tended to honk equally in all cities in a Hortonesque Hears a Who fashion. “I am here, I am hear, I am hear!”
    Thanks again for meeting me in Shanghai. I enjoyed our evening!

    Reply

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