Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Minor Victories

Just nod and smile. That's helping quite a bit over here when I use my limited Mandarin to try and convey a message. It's got to be frustrating for the person on the other side, knowing that they're talking to a complete idiot.

Today at lunch I managed to order a "set lunch" at the Japanese place I've been to before. I know they have a lot of pictures (and English) on their menu so I could point at something that looked appealing. I asked for some "bing shui" (ice water) to drink. I also wanted some hot tea. This caused a bit of a flurry because I think I just get one drink with my set lunch. I just nodded and smiled while the waitress pointed at a few things. "Hao de" ("How duh") I kept saying ("sure, sure"). I got the ice water. I didn't get the tea. I wasn't sad.

It's been kind of a "what did I just agree to?" and "what did I just eat?" kind of day. The set lunch had some interesting stuff that I imagine was tofu. There was also a salad, soup, pickled cucumbers, and something that I can only guess was congee. The main course was a delicious pork chop breaded in panko with a nice dipping sauce.

I got back to the office and wanted to try my luck again at the "self service" store that I talked about a few weeks ago (555). This time, I was ready. Other than being a little confused about the order of the queue for the check out machine, I did pretty well, scanning a few items and paying via WeChat. I got something that I'm assuming is ginko seeds. Regardless, they were yummy. I'd pull the package out of the garbage and take a picture of it, but the office ayi has already emptied it out.

I went from DTE where you had to empty your own garbage ("Know your own power") to Federal-Mogul where we've got at least one ayi that is always coming through the office every few minutes and sweeping, dusting, and picking up. Frankly, it makes me a bit uneasy but I think it's just because I'm not used to it. Also, it's not like Southfield where when the guy who picks up our recycling (Mitch) comes through, we all stop to talk with him (though Chris is always trash talking about basketball or football with him).

I kind of miss being able to make small talk with my waitress at lunch or dinner, though I have a few times when I'm at Pistolera or even Savor.

Savor is an interesting place. It's right next door to my apartment (close enough that I can hear the music they play when my windows are open) and they really cater to Westerners. They have quite a few people on staff who stand near the register and help the lofan with their orders. They have a long menu with checkboxes so we can easily mark off what we want.

I've only eaten a couple of meals there. I got there instead to order coffee for my morning protein shakes. They always look at me a little funny when I come in at night and order four or five coffees to go.

The other night I had dinner there and my hostess/waitress gave me quite a long story about how she used to work there then moved to the place across the street and then back again. It was nice to interact with another human being for a bit.

I need to start carrying around a book and get a few more on my phone (rather than just "Chinese For Dummies" which frankly isn't how I want to learn things -- not that I mind the "For Dummies" books but it's set up to just throw a bunch of related words at readers. I brought over a couple of those little Cult Movie books and a few 33 1/3 books. Those should be easy enough to carry around, even in my back pocket. Pretty soon I'm going to have to start wearing a jacket full time so I can always stock a book there.

Tonight I've got "working on articles" on my calendar. So, I'll be watching The North Avenue Irregulars and putting together a plot summary. I've got the bits from my interviews selected and I just need to start working those into the body proper once I get the skeleton laid out.

Speaking of skeletons..

Halloween is coming to China...

I downloaded The Rocky Horror Picture Show last week and plan on watching that on Tuesday for Halloween. I just hope it's the version I'm used to (No "Once in a While" and with "Superheroes").

When I got back to my apartment last night after the movie, I found two packages of stuff that I'd ordered via Baopals. I'm glad that that worked out. No locker needed -- though ironically I saw some of these lockers when I went into a grocery store last night near the theater. I look forward to the next time I hit that theater -- not just for the popcorn -- because there were a bunch of interesting-looking restaurants around. The more I explore, the more I get away from my little "Westernized safe zone." I'd call it "The Green Zone" but I'm not sure too many people would get the reference. Plus, it's a bit harsh.

No comments:

Post a Comment