Monday, April 28, 2008

So, got back to....

....the hotel at 5:30am-ish, and took a vid of the Huangpu River at sunrise....


video

Then I died.

After spending about half the day in bed Thursday, got up around 1PM, lied in bed for another hour, begged for an IV, but really didn't want to pay the extra 600 Yuan Room Service charge for an IV, so I did without.

Went out to the other side of the River (the ultra-modern, skyscraper section called Pudong) later that evening riding under the Huangpu on a little tunnel train called “The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel.” Imagine thee most cheeezy light show you have ever seen at any “science and technology” museum back in 1975......and you have The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. Except for the fact that if you buy a 70 Yuan (ten buxx) round-trip ticket, you get a free admission to the Shanghai sex museum at the other end of the tunnel.


Been to the one in Amsterdam in '92.......seen one sex museum.....seen 'em all......

On Friday, my sister went off on her own to hit the Propaganda Shop and get some Mao stuff. I totally vegged back at The Seagull and proceeded to type out seventy names and addresses to be mailed as invitations to my father's grand 75th birthday gala in Buffalo next month.

Now, on that fatal Wednesday night/Thursday morning, the Uyghers had implored us to come back to the bar/club/cafe Anar on Friday night, as there'd be DJ's and lotsa fun. Given that we'd swore that we were all BFF and brothers 'till the end and all that sorta talk after your tenth gin-n-tonic (or ninth glass of vino)....we didn't have a choice.....we'd promised them.

Sis and I firmly agreed that, on Friday evening, no, there would NOT be 5AM drunken debauchery or anything of that sort. Naw.....few drinks....back at hotel at Midnight......MAYBE ONE A.M. if we really wanted to push it!! But thass IT!!!!!! Firm and Final!!


Goddamm Wheeee-Gers!!! They make thee best laid plans go astray.......


For starters, the DJ's they had (three of 'em, an American ex-pat who called himself “Ozone”, a local who called himself “Fish” and some guy named Ben Huang who, supposedly, is HUGE in the club scene throughout China) were really cool, played good shit (Eugenius?? Had not heard them in years!! Beat Happening?? Them neither!! Not since I was a DJ at KTEQ in Rapid City - off the air since 2000 since the FCC now requires that all public airwaves be reserved for large, commercial corporate conglomerate broadcasters [fuck you, Clear Channel]) and were really cool to hang out with.

Fish had some stuff that he made and called it “Happy Pills” and sold it at thirty Yuan per jar. At first, I had serious reservations after seeing a sign at the bar advertising "Happy Pills" at 30 Yuan. Turned out it is just pure sugar candy, but he tossed us a jar on the cuff.

I was gonna bring it back.......but HOW the fuck am I gonna explain THIS at PDX Customs??











So, we DID get outta there, and it wasn't another 5AM morning at The Anar..........

.........just 4:15 this time.

Uyghers are interesting folk. A marginalised minority, much like the Mongols and the Tibetans, they don't care much for the Han majority (who compose about 85+ percent of the populace of China) but are very warm to Westerners. Whilst generally being Islamic, they're (DUH!!!) not huge on the Saudi/Middle East hard-line Muslims that tend to follow the more.....uhhhh....fundamentalist style of the faith.

bin-Laden would NOT open a nightclub in Shanghai.......


Saturday morning, my sister wakes me up screaming at me on a searing hangover about several things I may or may not have done over the past thirty-nine years to piss her off and the fact that she has GOT to catch her flight in three hours. Needless to say, after less than 4 hours of sleep after a night of wigging out with the Wheee-Gers, this was NOT what I needed right now! After an unpleasant scene, we parted ways. Please forgive me, Sis!! Sorry, with about MAYBE four or five exceptions, I generally don't travel well with others......


Fled the severely over-priced dump known as The Seagull on the Bund Hotel and went to a Motel 168 in the Pudong District across the Huangpu River.

This was NOT the Motel 168 in Guangzhou (which was an absolute palatial estate compared to this dump – at half the price). Naw, this place gave me a “split-level room with King-sized bed” for 320 Yuan (fiddy buxx). Cool.....

THEN, I saw the room.

I never knew that a room that is 23 feet long and 12 feet wide could be configured into a split level that somehow fit a King-size bed. But they did it. No fridge.....not terribly nice. But lotsa good, cheap restaurants nearby, so I spent Saturday and Sunday Nights there and, on Monday, went to the Motel 168 located inside the terminal at Shanghai International Pudong Airport.....cause the closer I got to gittin' the fuck outta this city, the more at ease I felt.

So, on my final afternoon in Asia (Monday the 28th), I decide to go to the bar in Motel 168 Pudong Airport for a few ice cold Tigers. Now, nobody seems able to tell me WHEN they built this hotel, and it's very difficult to tell – but I think it was in the last five years, 'cause this airport was built fairly recently.

Now, as seen below in the hallway outside my room, the decor is......uhhhh.....1970's 2001: A Space Odyssey.









OK.....but as I went up to the eighth floor to the bar (hey....number 8 floor – good place to have a bar – lucky number=lucky bar) and walked down the hallway towards the bar.....what I saw blew me away.


Yeah, true, my batteries were dead as a door nail, but I simply HAD to run all the way to the store in the airport terminal, get some new ones, and film this: video



And here I leave you from Shanghai with a few final observations -


Shanghai is the only place where....

.....in a corner store, I saw Hello Kitty brand........uhhhhh.......feminine hygiene products.



  • Shanghai is basically HYPER-speed Capitalism......yet for all of the things (like, literally eighty-five percent of things) priced at WESTERN-WORLD price levels, the average Shanghaian makes about 150 Yuan a day (20 buxx USD, maybe).....man, and people say that the gap between rich and poor is getting outta hand in America?

I mean, I'd walked down a street that had nothing but real estate offices on it (Caldwell Banker, Century 21, et. al.) and they listed apartments that are, like, 900 sq. ft. that rent for anywhere from 2000 a month up to four thousand a month......THEE cheapest condo to BUY is at around 100,000

......oh, yeah – forgot: Those rents that I just quoted?

Those are in US DOLLARS!!!!!

At 7 Yuan per buck....do the maff.....

Sooooo.....let's say that your average Shanghai worker works his ass off to the tune of 80 hours a week and pulls in 300 Yuan a day – at six days a week, thass $240 USD a week, Bud! Factor in food costs, transportation costs and......uhhhh.....no.

You have about as much chance as becoming a homeowner as I do.....meaning, none. (Not that I'd actually WANT to become a homeowner.....I drift around waaaaaaaay too much.....maybe when I'm eighty years old or some shit like that).

It's the worst combination for a society: Hyper-Capitalism economic system with an authoritarian government system. I mean, I feel the best would be market socialism and democratically elected leaders.......but that's jes' my view on things....

It's no wonder that EVERYBODY is out forra scam here. It was weird. I was having lunch with this 30-year-old Gord guy from West Van (Canadian from West Vancouver, British Columbia) at a Subway on East Nanjing Road pedestrian mall, and he goes to Shanghai fairly frequently for business. And he heard about my scam, nodded and laffed!!!!!!!! He told me thee exact same coffee shop that this girl led me to!!! THAT SAME EXACT SCAM was thee first one HE got caught on as well on his first trip to Shanghai.....except his tab was 4000 Yuan (made me feel a bit better).

Later on that same day after I had lunch wiff that Gordie guy, after dark, I go to Just a normal bar and fucking again....some chick comes up and sits down next to me and chats me up and wants me to buy her a beer....... so I shake my head strongly “no!!!”

Now?? After more than a week here? I see the next scam walk up to me and it's gotten to the point where right when they start to get into their beginning of their scam, I scream “FUCK OFF!!!!” in English, and storm away.

I know....I know.... it's not cool, because it shows a loss of face (which the Chinese are HUGE on), but shit here's really gotten to that point......


  • Went to GM's national China headquarters, about three blocks from my Motel 168 here in the Pudong district. WAS gonna go into the showroom and if a salesman came up to me, WAS gonna ask: “So, how many of these cars are built in the United States.,.....since, after all, GM is an American-owned company?”

My “do-NOT-be-a-dick” warning light came on and I thought better about that idea.....



  • The Chinese have NO concept of “simple wash-dry-fold” laundry. They only do dry cleaning.......and that's like where they dump shitloads of cleaning chemicals processing my four T-shirts and four pairs of shorts and pressing and putting on a hanger and wrapping plastic around my hemp shirt (to the point where whatever hippy who stitched it together much be rolling around on a bad trip after hearing this – “Maaaaan, dry cleaning is soooo establishment!!!”)

  • Avoiding MegaCities like the plague, I had always thought that they no longer manufactured twin-sized beds anymore! I mean, even children nowadays after, like, seven years old, sleep in double/full-size beds!

Then, I discovered that, in Asia, hotels offer their standard rooms with twin-size beds. My sister advised me that, in her many pilgrimages to New York City, that twin-size beds are the standard there! Jus' kinda weird to me......made me feel like I was back in the Army.


  • I really didn't wish to place a one-minute boring-ass video of my MagLev ride on this blog (especially since the Goddamm batteries in the camera went dead before it hit its max speed of 257 MPH) .....so, if you reeeeaaaallllly wish to see it, it be on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP8VECoqxOw



Final Asia report coming up shortly!

-E-

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