Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Real Shanghai

Sooo, on the street, we often see jewelry, hats, toilet seat covers, books, corn, phone charge cards, CDs, sweet potatoes, strawberries, street meat, DVDs, but today, we stumbled upon some tiger paws and claws that could easily be hack sawed off for any type of creative necklace you could imagine. Or, just use some of the marrow from the bones in your tea to improve your health. I don't think tigers grow in China, but hey, this just proves that you can get ANYTHING in China. You just have to find out where to get it. I'm also pretty sure this would be illegal, along with underaged drinking, prostitution, copyright violations, and spitting. All of these things aren't really paid much attention by the authorities, unless of course it somehow gets into the local media.
The whole day to day, still, after 7 months is still intriguing, shocking, hilarious, fun, amazing etc. These subway pics are from one of my newest experiences; heading to a basketball game (Shanghai Sharks-they have one or two ex-NBA guys, that can only play 3 quarters here) at 5:30 at night, needing to make a few connections on the subway, one or two in some very busy parts of town. Anyway, it was shocking to approach this sea of humanity and see that they were all waiting patiently in line. Most places have more of the cultural flare and complete disregard for personal space, they cut in line at will. I get it why they cut, you get to where you want to be and go to where you want to go because that may be the only way you're going to get there.

We ended up, literally, 25 people deep. You've got to realize that these subways are over 200 feet long. The place was packed. The doors open, and it's like a syphon pouring into the train. I've only seen it in Tokyo. People finding every nook and cranny, pushing to squeeze their backsides past the doors. Everyone sees where the point of no return is and that's where the next person just waits for the next train. At that point, there's about 5 people in line, but soon extends back to 20 or so. A friend told me it was going to be like this, but I thought there was a bit of exaggeration....nope!

Sharks win comfortably in front of 3000 or so out of a possible 8-9000. The ticket booth was smaller than our bathroom. $20. They recently installed a concession stand in the fairly modern building-What is Yao Ming thinking? Aren't they supposed to try to make some money? No hats, shirts, hot dogs (oops, "sausage"), etc. other than popcorn, candy, and a warm can of beer, that they pour in front of you for $1.20 (they ran out by half-time). I can't remember the name of the famous guard from Oklahoma State that really lit it up for them....maybe because they don't have programs or rosters....good shooting display by both teams, which was fun. John Lucas' kid....he ran up the back of all those 6'7"-6'10" guys all night long. Speed kills, I know, as I've been dead since seeing it first hand at age 18.

This here, is what Anne and I saw as we walked by a popular spa that lots of teachers frequent to get their hair "done" or get a massage. It is what we see on a daily/weekly basis. It could be a remodel, a new business, or a makeover. You never really know until later. Somehow, all of the city worker bees find, get called/notified, sniff out where businesses are gutting property, and they sort and recycle materials onto their individual 3 wheelers until the frames bend. They will then pedal towards the recycle station until they can't move the load, then they'll continue on foot with ropes around their shoulders. It is amazing to see their will and determination in the midst of their smiles. It's a tough way to live, I'm sure.

I just had to put this in--one of the things that make us feel comfortable here. Coincidentally, I had to teach customary (95% of the world uses metrics, of course) units the next week. I have 2 kids from North America, and they recognized many of the terms/measures, but still didn't really understand it; the numbers really are ridiculous! Well, everything you see at a Starbucks in the States (except the food choices), shows up here in Shanghai-I doubt the reciprocal is true. Let me know if you want a "Shanghai" Starbucks mug! I had to laugh when I saw these mugs. No one knows what the numbers are for, they can't read English, so they can't say, "ounces", and there's no connection for short, tall, grande, and/or venti--Joey wants all to know that venti means 20 in's the same for me when a vendor on the street shows me Chinese characters representing prices for what they're selling. I have no idea what he's talking about! I say, "Wo ting bu dong!" (I don't understand)

Anne and I were shopping for Lamborghinis last week and we couldn't decide between the stylish green or spicy butter yellow. Fortunately there was a Rolls Royce dealer right next door. The newer hip versions really make you think about about practicality and safety. We're going to hold off for awhile as we are clearly conflicted. We're gonna head back to West Nanjing Rd. where we can compare Porche, Mercedes, Ferrari, and the newest Aston Martins all within a rock throw of each other. It's cool how they have their flagship stores inside hotels like Hyatts.

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