Wednesday, August 11, 2004

tragedy strikes...

Mom lost the digital camera. The one with all the pictures of me dancing with the old man. The one with basically all of Shanghai on it. The one she wouldn't let anyone else carry. Well, it's an excuse to buy a super fancy new one here, and at least it didn't happen at the end of the trip, but it fucking sucks ass. She left it in a cab, of course, and the amazing staff here have made every effort to track down her driver, even reviewing the security footage from the front door, which they found. No one could read the liscence plate, though, and thus, the camera is gone. We'll get over it, and mom's taking it the hardest. Ah well.
Yesterday, we hit the insect and fish market. It was bizarre, made up of a serious of intensly smelly alleys. Crickets and bugs and millions of turtles, all within this little residential ghetto. I took a million National Geographic-esque pictures if Chinese children in doorways, and old men asleep on rickshaws, but I'll have to describe them to you. (Okay. Still a little pissed about the camera.) Afterwards, I needed some alone time, so I went off to the fancy mall section of town. An expert shopper in the States, the malls here are pretty similar, and I felt suddenly at home. Many of the stores are the same, and many, many are different. There was a store called 45 Surftime USA, which was the Chinese attempt at Pacific Sunwear. I poked around, and when I told the staff I was from California, they went nuts.
"Oh, Hollywood! Surf and Turf! Hang ten, posse!"
Um, yeah. That's exactly what it's like. The one thing that IS exactly the same here as it is at home is Starbucks, right to the chalk board behind the counter. I got a Frappuchino and secretly and silently thanked mass globalization.
When traveling in such a different country, you do get this global perspective you'd never get reading and book or watching some documentary. But you also get culture shocked. At some point, and I hit that point yesterday, the communication barriers, the heat, the wierd food, the lack of tact, the pushy packed sidewalks...it all gets to you. But, I guess that's the point.
I came back to the hotel and watched Sparticus on HBO.
Before dinner, we ALL needed a drink, and went to the bar on the top floor. They have a lovely little appetizer spread and free booze and we got quite comfortable. For dinner, we hit 1221, a trendy Chinese restaurant favored by ex-patriots. This seemed good, because the food here really is different. And, not in a good way. 1221 has Chinese food like you and I think of Chinese food. It rocked, we went through 2 bottles of wine, and I think I agreed to produce dad's election night show. After dinner, mom and Alex hit the sack, but dad and I hit the Mezz Lounge and had some Santori. I passed out (literally) at midnight, and awoke hungover and hideous at 6am. I gotta say, when dad decides to toe one on, it's hard to keep up. But overhwlmingly entertaining. As we got on the elevator, he says, "Well Bethy. Those are all my secrets."
Wait. I've already forgotten all the good gossip he just told me. Fuck!
We're off to Beijing this morning. I'm a little sketchy about this flying domestically in China, for two reasons. One, the bag weight limitations are fierce, and I've, of course, purchased half of Shanghai, and Two, This is a 3rd World country. I'm not so familliar with their pilot training. Well, if I die, I die. But at least I'll be wearing Cartier. (Which is still ticking....mom predicts it'll be dead by Honk Kong. Whatever. This from the woman that bought fake Louis Vuitton sunglasses...)
Beijing...Interesting. Here's to hoping there's an uprising. Maybe, I'll start one!