Friday, November 24, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Thanksgiving in Shanghai

I've been doing my best to document my more unusual or noteworthy experiences over here. But, when all is said and done, I'm here to work. I've been doing a lot of that lately -- things are finally starting to move with the China incarnation of the corporate website.

Last night I felt like such a "big boy", going over to the movie theater after work, going into a restaurant and being able to order (albeit from a menu with a lot of pictures), and then off to the show. I was fully prepared that I'd be seeing a Mandarin-dubbed version of A Better Tomorrow or at least one in Cantonese with only Chinese subtitles but -- surprise! -- it had both English and Chinese subtitles. And, of course, the English subtitles were absolutely terrible. It took me back to seeing the film the first time in the early 1990s. At one point a character is supposed to be shouting, "I will!" Instead of that, the subtitles say, "I'll!" Technically correct but...

Midway through the movie I suddenly panicked. When I had driven over it was dark and, unlike a lot of scooter drivers here, I turned on my headlight. I pictured my scooter out in the plaza parking area with its light on, slowly going dim. Would some Good Samaritan have turned it off? Would my scooter be dead when I got out there? Would I have to grab my battery and take a taxi back to my place and come back the next morning? Should I run out there and miss ten minutes of the movie? Should I just leave and watch the rest of the film in my apartment?

I ended up just chilling and watching the rest of the film, though I scooted out of the theater fairly fast. When I got to my scooter I put in the key to see if it'd turn on. It did. And the headlight with it! So, when you turn off the scooter, the headlight goes off too. Remarkable. "What'll they think of next?"

Then it was back to the apartment for an evening meeting. With the U.S. being shut down today/tomorrow, my meeting evening meeting schedule has lessened a bit, it's just me and the Europeans who may be talking tonight and tomorrow. Tonight is slightly doubtful as I'll be heading out for some kind of Chinese Thanksgiving dinner tonight along with Serena. We have reservations at Lost Heaven over in Puxi (the one on Big Deer road, not the one on The Bund).

The next day...

I went out last night and had my Thanksgiving dinner. ice plant salad, baby cucumber flower salad, Mongolian buns, a terrific beef dish that came with kim chi and what I think was some other pickled cabbage, and some mulled wine with orange and cloves.

Beforehand, Serena and I met at Tianzifang to do some shopping. Andrea had requested a few things so we picked those up along with a couple knickknacks for some friends back home. The tough this is that there's little that can be gotten in China that can't be gotten through the web. It's more the novelty of it, I suppose.

I met Serena at a coffee shop (right next door to a Starbucks) where they sold Kopi Luwak coffee. One cup of just coffee could run 298 ¥ which, at today's rate, would be approximately $45 USD. When I mentioned Kopi Luwak to Serena she said, "Oh, cat shit coffee?" As she rarely swears, this made me almost choke with laughter.

I opted for a coffee shake for 30¥ instead.

Photos from outside and inside Tianzifan:

In today's edition of "the drive home from work:"

Saw this guy doing the "Asian Squat" next to the local Papa Johns. Yes, they have Papa Johns here (as well as Pizza Hut). I don't eat there in the US, I'm not about to try the China incarnation:

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