Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

Vegetarian Food and Foot Massages

First off, apologies for the failure of the word press blog. Despite my best efforts it seems that I’m not going to be able to access my WordPress blog in any shape or form while I’m behind the Chinese firewall. I’m actually writing these journals in Evernote and don’t really have a publication destination in mind, but I’ve got to keep them somewhere until I do. That’s especially a bummer since I had written a fairly long post in my iPhone which is now trapped in my WordPress app. Oh well. I guess you’ll learn about the beginning of my flight after I return to the US.
Last night was pretty fun. A driver for my dad’s company met me, my dad, and a coworker to take us to Pudong where our hotel is located. Although I was pretty much ready to crash, my dad talked me into going out to meet some other coworkers who were going to an American style bar in the restaurant. I was initially really creeped out by the very friendly girls in the bar who I thought were soliciting me pretty hard, I quickly realized they were just waitresses who were working a pretty hard sell. I met some nice people but was so spaced out that I wasn’t pretty social, downed a few beers and pizza, then came home and crashed.
Most of today was spent, sadly, in the hotel room feverishly working on my conference poster that needs to get presented on Friday. Fortunately, some of the organizers have offered to print it for me, but I think I need to get it to them very soon if I want that to happen. I was going to work on it tonight but just have no energy and am hoping I get a jetlag energy bump at about 5 AM somehow.
After remaining my own prisoner in my room and sadly not eating anything but a pizza breakfast all day, I was starving by five. Along the way I got a lot of work done on my poster, though it still needs some more, but also made contact with a number of friends and colleagues in China via cell phone. For those that don’t have it, my China cell number is +86 15921993342. Don’t call that from the US unless you want a big fee.
Around 6 my dad got back from work and his friend and former coworker came to meet us and take us out. We went shopping at an ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL department store in Puxi and then to a vegetarian restaurant for dinner. Knowing that nothing I would eat would have real meat, I tried to get the wackiest stuff I could on the menu, like “two kinds of jellyfish” and “deep fried sparrows.” It was a lot of fun. The conversation with Kathy got really interesting when we started talking about inter-cultural understanding, democracy, and education. It’s realy nice to have one insider’s view. I get lots of views of China from Chinese friends in Ann Arbor, but the opinion seems a little different when people are actually in China.
After dinner we went for a foot massage which was super cool. We had our feet soaked in big barrels of herbed-water while we got very intense back-massages. It featured a lot of lymph node manipulation in the neck, which made me feel a little nauseous, but was otherwise very pleasant. The massage came with tea which was nice and also a cool green bean dessert soup. We continued interesting conversations during the foot massage, which was intense, but not too much. I’m realizing my Putonghua really blows, but I’m determined to work on it.
When we finished the foot massage, we took a cab back to our hotel and Kathy helped me to look over some maps and preprinted some “Please take me to…” cards in Chinese. I think tomorrow (after finishing my poster!) I will go to see some museums in downtown Shanghai and just sort of wander-around and shop. This morning was boring and like many I’ve had in Ann Arbor, but things got interesting once I went into town. The cabs (and everybody) drives SO crazy here, it’s a wonder there aren’t more accidents. The lack of seatbelts is also somewhat concerning when coupled with the first observation, so I’ve just been hanging on to the handles and hoping for the best.
The city is actually very pretty and cleaner than I expected, and I’m excited to explore it on my own. I’m exhausted now though so I’m going to head for bed, but I hope I can keep up with this kind of updating for the rest of the trip.
Half-moons, sunshine, and puppies,
Daniel
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June 3, 2009 - Posted by | Personal | , ,

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