A shot in the arm (day 56)

I defy anyone to come to Shanghai and not be impressed by the skyline. I feel like I have said that before. No matter. You should also be impressed by the Pujian Fandian (just off the Bund, just over the river, just opposite the Russian Embassy). An excellent excellent backpackers joint in an ex 5-star hotel. Nice. And cheap.

I came here in part for an Ultimate frisbee tournament. Good idea, I hear you say. Yes it was. I was a pan-Asian allstar for two whole days. Not that it helped. We lost every game and ended last in the tourney. At least we can say we got a point in every game.

I had a fascinating conversation today with some kids in the Russian Embassy across the street. The traffic noise was so bad and the echo so strong that it was hard to talk. But we could piece together words letter by letter in both Russian and English. And try to throw darts to each other. So that was fun.

Tony, the American, speaks Mandarin. He is keen to come climb the mountain with me in a few days and then head off to Beijing. Sweet. Handy, but I quite like the idea of not being able to communicate with anyone.

I got offered a job here the other day. A guy suggested I come here for a year, he would help me find a job and we could boost Shanghai Ultimate a bit (until they could beat Singapore – arch rivals). It seems you do not need to speak any Mandarin at all to live here. Shanghai is a big, modern, westernish (once you get past all the Chinese people and characters and rapid-fire lingo) city.

The funniest (in the sense of strange) person I met in my time here was an Englishwoman who had been here six months and spoke not a word of Chinese. I asked her whether she felt like she had missed an opportunity (given that she was living in China) to learn Chinese. But she did not seem to see it that way.

Dumplings are nice. But, get this, I am looking forward to Russian food. Only because they have dairy products. You can buy New Zealand milk and butter, you know.

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