Scenes from 上海

– Because he is a 坏蛋, my Belgian friend had me walk alone in front of Chinese promoters for Wall Street English. As he thought, I was indeed flyered, and the promoter was indeed surprised by my Wall Street-like English. But we were the ones surprised when the promoter started speaking Dutch and French!

– An entire schoolyard of uniformed students doing morning calisthenics in sync to a broadcast 8-count

– Two old men playing mahjong on the sidewalk, the wife of one yelling from an apartment for her husband to come in and STOP playing because he’d been playing all day.

The morning commute from Lujiazui: against traffic.

– Commuting against traffic in Lujiazui.

– Walking through any open-air mall and finding groups of elderly women practicing taiqi, or wushu, or fan dance, or…

– Some lady was openly staring at me at the airport gate, but instead of glaring back, I accidentally smiled – and just like that, I got an hour of Chinese practice, learned some more about Shanghai culture, and found out why she was staring.

Pandas are a common sight on Chinese streets.

– Taking a classically azn picture with a panda

– Engrish of the day: the quiet finance guy at my office telling me he likes staying home. “I’m a homeboy,” he explained, seriously.

– Catching the eye of a similarly smushed person on the metro and exchanging smiles of sympathy

– Playing with a French girl’s fake Chinese iPhone 5

– Spending the afternoon of Tomb Sweeping Day in my language partner’s graduate math office, talking about the Chinese economy, looking at the world map, and discussing civil rights and racism.

– A pretty, made-up lady spitting directly onto the metro platform

All free.

– Letting the Chinese girls I tutor dress me up as a purple fairy

– Talking with my Thai roommate in Chinese till 2am

– Getting free stuff just because of Western status (coming soon: a possibly sarcastic Going out in Shanghai… for Free!)


3 responses to “Scenes from 上海

    • I was eating smushed egg tarts (蛋挞) in the airport. She was shocked (shocked!) to see a moderately affluent young woman eat imperfect food.

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