Sunday, September 18, 2011

More random thoughts...

For some reason, I thought it made sense to get up at 6 a.m. I’m not sure why that was a good idea, as I don’t have to be out of here until 9:00. Hmmm. Because of that I am now coming up with more random notes.

On this trip, I was fortunate enough to keep my snarking skills in tact by practicing with one of the best from the Midwest. Dan, it turns out, shares my proclivity for poking fun at the insane comments and observations that we came across during the course of the trip. We both found it quite implausible that Chengdu was the equivalent of Paris in David’s mind, and would raise eyebrows every time David made that assertion. Another repeating theme that left us wondering was that it seemed that anything of Chinese origin was good for something. For example: jade cools your inner heat; the powder generated by rubbing two pearls together is good for circulation; Sichuan pepper cools you when it is hot out; this tea eliminates belly fat; this tea is especially good for “drunken time”.  If everything is good for something then I would think this is the healthiest people on earth.  Which leads me to my next point....

One other very easy target for us was a male habit of walking around wherever they are with the shirt lifted up to the breast bone, letting whatever belly they have hang out over their blet. We first saw this in Beijing and it was a recurring sight just about everywhere but Shanghai, so we both realized it was more than just an isolated occurrence. I think this is how Dan and I originally started snarking during this trip. He appreciated the wonder I shared aloud with him one day. I’m not sure whether these men think this is attractive, whether it’s an animalistic instinct to attract the ladies or truly just a cooling mechanism, but I am fairly certain this is not what my mother hopes I bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

Already I miss hearing David and Stanley say “citron paper”, especially now that I’ve realized that what they really mean is “Sichuan pepper”.

China is a honking society. They will honk in traffic, honk on empty roads, honk to pass you, honk while passing you, honk to warn you around a sharp corner, honk because they are about to run you down. It seems an odd but efficient method of communication. It’s like New York cabbies on steroids.

There’s neon and then there’s neon. The neon of Times Square, for example, is seizure inducing. It is meant to be crazy-ass in your face. The neon on the high rises in Shanghai is tasteful. It seems as if they meant it to be pretty and eye-pleasing. The tv tower projects rainbow colors that fade in and fade out. The Citi building is covered top to bottom with animated video. The bottle opener building is a gorgeous neon blue. Sure it’s all bright and you can probably see it from the moon, but not an assault on the brain in the least.

In my last hour in Shanghai I am going back and forth on whether to take the second piece of luggage at $200 or cram it all into the big bag and pay the weight overage of $100. I’m leaning toward the latter, but I’m afraid I’m missing something here. It seems too obvious.

Off to my last breakfast in China….talk to you from the US!

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