China x3

March 23, 2015 at 11:12 pm (Uncategorized)

Kyle’s off at rehearsal, I’ve got the new Sufjan Stevens album playing on NPR First Listen, and for a moment you might forgive me if I imagined things are just the same here as in the states. Of course, pretty much all social media is blocked and I’m using a VPN for pretty much all my connection to the outside world…but you can forget in the moment.

I wrote a brief post before, but I left off at day 5 where Kyle and I went to a place called the Library Distillery where Kyle’s friend bartends and Kyle sometimes plays the trumpet. Kyle had a small gig that doubled as a second birthday party, and we had a great evening chatting with some of Kyle’s friends around an incredibly James Bond-esque bar with a roulette wheel in the center of the main table. It was a very classy operation, and Rick (the bartender) kept giving us drinks well into the early morning hours. Still feeling jet lagged I was ready to go home, but Kyle and Julio (who does sound for Studio 188) were both hungry, so we went to what I can only call the Chinese equivalent of Shari’s. The name, when pronounced, sounds like “Beef & Tongue,” but it’s not that. However, if you were to say “beefandtongue” rather quickly people would know what you’re talking about, so that’s what I do. The food was decent, but the highlight of the evening was either Julio trying to help me get rid of some hiccups by smothering me or the old toothless man outside our window who stared at us the whole time. We got home around 4am, and I realized that while I might still be somewhat jet lagged, normal people don’t live within the performer’s timetable.

The next day we spent part of the afternoon exploring Shanghai, taking in part of what is just a massive, massive place. We then joined a couple of Kyle’s friends Aho & Elle doing KTV (karaoke!). As some of you may be aware I am a fan of singing, and it was a blast. The English selection was excellent all things considered, and there were way more current songs than most karaoke places have in the states. I would guess that probably has something to do with looser interpretations of copyright law, but that’s just an assumption on my part. Elle took us to this little hole in the wall place for dinner afterwards – the nice thing about hanging out with locals is that they know good places off the beaten path. I would never have ventured halfway down a dark alley to find food on my own. The food was good, and authentic (nice because up to this point Kyle and I hadn’t had too much in the way of truly Chinese cuisine). We then went home – taking it easy after being out all night the evening before.

If you’ll allow me a brief run down the rabbit hole of food, I’m going to take it in that direction now. I was SURE, just absolutely sure, that I would be sick as a dog for a while here in China. I’m not exactly an adventurous eater generally speaking, and you just hear all these stories about people traveling to other countries and spending days on the toilet. So far, though, that hasn’t been the case at all. I’ve eaten a lot of different things, most of it from pretty reputable looking restaurants but a solid amount from various street food vendors – dumplings and fried rice and whatnot. So far, I’ve felt great! Fingers crossed that it stays that way, but it’s been a pleasant surprise. Kyle and I have been drinking these yogurt things every day that are supposed to help with your gut flora, so maybe that’s been the trick.

Saturday we mostly rested, but in the evening we went out to a restaurant called Szechaun Citizen with John, Courtney, & Tyler, and then went to the JZ Club to see a band that Kyle likes play. I met a ton of new people again, mostly musicians, and we spent some time with a couple of Kyle’s friends hanging out and enjoying the music. There’s a lot of cool music happening in Shanghai, although my sense of that is probably colored by the fact that I am spending all my time with people who are making music here.

Sunday we spent some time exploring, and that night we went out to the Bund, which is the walkway/area along the river in Shanghai. The skyline is all lit up at night and it was absolutely beautiful – I took a bunch of pictures and saw tons of other people doing the same thing. Kyle and I had our pictures taken with a Chinese tourist – I guess seeing white people is enough of an event to be worth commemorating.

Monday we went out and did some shopping in the super touristy areas, and we were going to go to the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum (the description is more interesting than the name) but it’s closed on Mondays, unfortunately. I’m hoping we can hit it up later this week. We instead spent some time just walking around a different portion of the city and then made our way over to YuYuan Garden (which technically should just be Yu garden, since Yuan is garden in Chinese. I’m learning things!). We ate some Indian food last night with Kat, Hazel, & Julio, and had a couple of drinks before heading home.

So far the verdict on Shanghai: I’ve met a ton of lovely people, this city is still strange and smells funny, but it feels very international. I can see why Kyle and so many others like living here. Still learning a lot – I won’t pretend to know all that much yet. Bouncing in between being a tourist and jumping in on Kyle’s expat lifestyle.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: