Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Catching Up

I never feel like I'm busy enough and that's why I tend to take on a lot of projects both at work and in my personal life. However, I think I've finally put my hand on the mat and cried, "Uncle."

I'm still gung-ho on the day job -- which has (as predicted) become kind of a "night and day job" between the Shanghai and Southfield offices. I tend to wake up with the sun (around 6AM) and then I'm to the office around 8AM. I work until 4PM or 5PM (on Mondays I usually go a little later) before heading back to my apartment to grab dinner and prepare for my slate of calls that start at 8PM or 9PM. I work until 11PM or 12AM and then crash out and do it again the next day.

Fortunately, weekends allow me a lot of time to do non-work things. Some of that is dedicated to things like going grocery shopping. Most of it is dedicated to working on the podcast, so much so that I'm finding myself spending almost all of my time doing that during the precious daylight hours. I am falling behind on all the reading and movie-watching that that "job" requires making me feel like I've bitten off way more than I can chew.

Rather than doing a half-assed job with the episodes I've got scheduled to do while I'm here, I'm putting the podcast on hold and playing a little bit of "catch up" with the episodes I have banked. I've got a lot of interviews and "special episodes" that I haven't yet edited and put together that will keep me busy. Plus, I also have three episodes of The Kolchak Tapes to edit and put together.

I will admit that I feel guilty about doing this but, so far, everyone has been understanding.

I also need to turn my attention the rest of the week to the articles I've not written for an upcoming Bear Manor Media book. I wrote one article / chapter for them back in... really, I think it was 2011.... about Airplane II: The Sequel and another last year about 976-Evil II, but still have yet to write about Linda Lovelace for President and The North Avenue Irregulars. Meanwhile, I did interviews for both of those pieces back in 2013. Poor Edward Herrmann died back in 2014 and he deserves better treatment than me just sitting on the interview.

BTW, the character he portrayed in The North Avenue Irregulars, Albert Fay Hill (Michael Hill in the movie), also died in 2014. I tried to get in touch with him without any luck.

The night before last I didn't get to bed until after midnight and then slept poorly. I woke up at 5AM without any hope of falling back asleep, though I lay in bed until 6AM. I talked to Andrea (via WeChat) and was to work before 8AM. My ass was dragging all morning and I finally gave up hope of concentrating on work around noon when I looked up and noticed that no one else was in the office (my coworkers religiously leave for lunch at noon or shortly before).

I drove my scooter down to Pistolera -- a surprisingly great Mexican restaurant -- and then to the Carrefour where I stocked up on groceries and sundries (finally running out of little travel shampoos and soaps).

My back's been hurting for the last few days so on my way back to my apartment I decided to stop by one of the three massage parlors by my place.

My doctor back in Metro Detroit leaves a little something to be desired. Last time I went to see her I finally complained about the stiffness I get in my neck (fairly often). Rather than do anything she told me, "You're going to Shanghai and they're great at massage. You should get some." Thanks, doc.

Between my neck and back I decided that a massage would be good. I went to the place that I mentioned a few weeks ago where my co-worker Laura went (recommended by the Marriott where she was staying). As soon as I got in the door the man working the desk started saying, "Happy massage!" and pointing at the price list.

Yeah, I think a happy massage is the same think you think it is.

While the offer was tempting, it was also over 500 RMB and my bank account is pretty tight right now (waiting for all these Expense payments from work to hit my bank). I opted for a full body (non-oil) massage. It was 158 RMB which is about $24 US. I also tipped the masseuse 20 RMB -- tipping is kind of gauche over here but I did it anyway. I said something I didn't think I'd say (and that I know my masseuse didn't understand), "I know it's not the custom here but 'in my country' we tip people who do great work."

Today I'm more sore than ever but I took some ibuprofen and hope to work it on out. And, hey, now I know where I can get a "happy massage" when necessary. Or get ginger dressing on my feet!

One thing that I can do with my new WeChat pay capability is to order movie tickets via the app. Blade Runner 2049 opens on October 27 here so I've got it on the agenda I put together for Andrea while she's in town. In the meantime, I decided to go see Kingsmen 2 at a local theater here in order to try out the process.

The individual times of the shows are broken out into individual prices, usually based upon theater size and perks, I think, even more than times. That means, I can go see a movie in the evening at a matinee price, as long as I'm not in a "VIP" theater. Likewise, different movie theaters themselves have different prices (like we do back home). There's no standard price for a ticket, it seems. The app lists average prices by theater, and distance from your current location. If I was using Dainping, I could also see the average customer rating but that app is "too Chinese" for me so far. There's no English version available as far as I know. I'd look on the Google Play store but I don't want to turn on my VPN just to find out (for some sites and apps you have to use a VPN while others don't work if your VPN is on).

I picked at 6:20PM show and pre-ordered some concession items. I hear that they have sweet popcorn, not salty popcorn. I'm curious to confirm. I think I also ordered a bottle of water though it could be the "salted tonic water" I got once before which was very interesting. We'll see how this experience goes tonight. These are the little things that make a big difference to me.

I met one of my podcast listeners, Dan Katz, who responded after I put out my first "Shanghai Surprise" announcement. He was just moving to Shanghai at the time. We had some tea on Sunday and shared our experiences.

He told me about a site called "Baopals" where lofan like me can order things via Taobao and T-Mall without knowing Chinese. I placed an order for some underwear and protein bars. Very exciting. :)

We'll see if I put in the address correctly and if the delivery guys will bring things to my apartment or if they'll use a locker somewhere nearby. I haven't even experienced the locker system in the U.S. (Amazon is adopting this, for sure, and I don't know who else) but I hear that the delivery person will put the item in a locker and text me the unlock code. Sounds very convenient, depending on where the locker is. And, I imagine that there are lockers in a lot of places that I'm just not aware of.

No comments:

Post a Comment