Some random thoughts since I’ve arrived here in Shanghai:
- I should mention that I did no research on this city before I came and sadly, it’s showing.
- Looks like I’ll be eating dumplings for 3 straight weeks.
- Being an Asian-American in China is problematic. Already, I’ve been asked for directions twice. When they inevitably realize that I don’t know what they’re saying, they either a) look at me like I have a mental disability b) Keep talking in Mandarin to see if I might recognize any of the words that they’re saying or c) Recoil in panic. For the first time in my life, I wish I were white.
- Having lived in New York City for over a year, I know what millions of people feel like. Here, I can feel the crushing pulse of billions.
- My hotel has odd amenities. In the bathroom, they have complimentary soap, razor blades, men’s casual socks, toothpaste, condoms and sex oil. I’ll probably end up using all but two of these items.
Sidenote: The condom box has critical reviews written on the back. Apparently, it’s made of “latex viagra” and the New York Times calls it “A Triumph of Excess“. On the front, they claim that it’s “No. 1 American Choice“. This cosmetic obsession is something else I’ve noticed in China. My hotel is next to the “Joyfull International Brand Luxury High Rise 4-star Hotel of Shanghai”. Their branding strategy seems to go the “Let’s put all the buzzwords into one advertising campaign” strategy. So if I’m looking for a hotel, I can see, Wow…I’m an international person and there’s a BRAND NAME hotel…can’t be that bad. And look! It received 4 stars. And it’s full of joy. Let’s stay there. It’s true with everything from hotels to condoms. Apparently, America is the preeminent authority on condom quality.
- I’m slowly learning how to read Chinese. The process goes something like this. I stand in front of map and I look for where I need to go. I say to myself: “Ok, crazy looking symbol, box with sprouts coming up from the top, complicated symbol, crazy symbol, horse looking letter.” Then I go find it.
- A guy approached me today and started speaking in Mandarin. I said, I don’t speak Chinese. He says,
“Ohhh you American? Where you from?”
“OHHHHhhhh….I have many friend from Shanghai in New York.”
“Hey, listen, you want to enjoy some young girls?”
“No no, listen. They very young and you young, and you can enjoy much better than street girl.”
There’s a saying in New York that goes something like this: ‘Go fuck yourself” Know what it means?”
- The only man more popular than Mao Zedong is Kobe Bryant.
- I went to a McDonalds and I tried to redeem my “Free Medium Fries” Monopoly card. They looked at me like I was from Broadway and Park Place. (Astoria’s pretty close though ho ho ho).
- I’ve only been able to pick up a few Mandarin words. Ne how, and Shi she of course. And the other one I keep hearing is “nigga”. Nigga this and nigga that. It may just be my imagination but it’s as if every sentence begins with “Nigga, wohshsoeheaoe” I’ll hear sentences that go like, “Nigga, eowshog nigga, weiohs wei nigga, wesuchwoe nigga, woeihds nigga nigga wei. hao hao hao.” Can one of my Chinese friends illuminate me on what nigga means in Mandarin? Does it mean “Um” or “The”?
Sidenote: Wouldn’t it be funny if “nigga” in Mandarin meant “What”? Then it’d be like a Chinese person coming to Brooklyn and hearing “Nigga, What?” on the sidewalk and then the Chinese person would be like…Yo, that’s redundant.
- I forgot my nail clippers and my nails are unseemly long. But the worst part? I seem to fit right in with the other men in this country. It’s pretty dang gross.
- My stomach is about half tea, half grease.
- I can’t tell if these are clouds or smog. I was thinking about buying one of those paper masks for a souvenior but now I’m thinking I might use it for the duration of my stay. The only thing stopping me is my fear of being asked for more directions.
- Finally, I usually post my blog posts on Facebook. I didn’t know that Facebook is banned in China. How did I post this? Backdoor channels and circuitry. That’s all it is people. Subnet IP espionage.
(I asked my friend to post for me…Shh…don’t tell the government).