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Archive for October, 2010

Life is but a dream

Well, let me tell you, nothing says “Welcome back to Shanghai!” like a nice little dose of food poisoning!

Woke up Sunday morning feeling a bit ropey. In retrospect, I did recall that my belly had been a bit, well, noisier than usual in its digestive duties the previous evening, but hadn’t given it much thought at the time. However now I was definitely feeling rather dicey, and there were unspeakably evil things coming o… well, no one needs too many details, I’m sure. But I had plans – I was meeting some friends to go out to the big textile market near Hongqiao Airport, as I have been wanting to get new drapes for the bedroom since we moved in. (Because the ones we have are so awful. And don’t block out any light. So I wake up with the sun every morning. And the first thing I see is awful drapes. That’s just not right.) So I knocked back some Immodium and headed out.

Oh, the public restrooms I befouled in my wake! But I digress.

Normal course of action for this expedition would have been to look around a bit, check out a few different vendors, see a few different things I like, get a few different quotes, go back and forth, haggle a bit, haggle a bit more, then choose which one I really want, haggle a bit more, and pretend to walk away, and then come back and haggle a bit more. But oh god, I couldn’t bear it. I was feeling worse and worse, and getting tired of seeking out new public restrooms to befoul. So, what happened was this: I found something I liked the first place I went, got a price, and walked away, intending to go have a look around. Which I sort of did, except really it was more like, I lurched around in a zombie-like daze, randomly fondling bits of fabric in between semi-crippling gut spasms. I managed to find my way back to the first place and pulled out the estimate the saleswoman had written for me, and said, in some really grotesque combination of English and Chinese, something along the lines of “Look, I really like these drapes, I really want to buy them, but I’m not prepared to pay that price for them, and I am feeling completely rubbish and I want to go home and go to bed and am perhaps about to die, but before I die I’d like to buy these drapes, but I can’t bear to go back and forth and back and forth about it, so the deal is I would like to pay this much for them, so if that’s OK with you then let’s just get it sorted so I can go and continue befouling in the privacy of my home, thanks very much.”

Which worked, no muss, no fuss. (It’s entirely possible she was just terrified of this giant, rambling, groaning, belly clenching foreigner, and would have agreed to just about any price to get me the hell out of there.) So I have to go pick up my new drapes on Friday. Gosh I do hope they’re nice; I was kind of delirious when I picked them out, as I may have mentioned.

Fortunately, around the time I was finished my friend D was ready to go as well, so we flagged a cab back across town. G had taken M to the aquarium for the afternoon, so the flat was nice and quiet (YAY!) I changed back into my jammies and crawled straight into bed. Woke up a little later – not sure how long exactly, but I’m guessing only about an hour or so, G and M still were not home – in a bad, bad way: shaking, teeth chattering, sweating, every muscle and joint aching, etc. I somehow managed to stagger to the medicine cabinet and find a bottle of Tylenol, then go to the kitchen and get a glass of water, find and put on a sweatshirt, then rolled back into bed in a fetal position and passed out again. When I next woke up it was dark out, and G and M were out in the lounge eating a takeaway. Fortunately I was no longer shaky or achy or chattery or sweaty, so I’d passed the worst bit.

Woke up yesterday feeling much better but still pretty fragile, and still arbitrarily plagued by the odd semi-crippling gut spasm. As such I spent pretty much the entire day laying (lying? lying? laying? whatever) on the couch wrapped up in a warm blanket reading books whilst our ever-so-awesome ayi Xiao brought me cups of ginger tea. Which was so lovely, I might just have to pretend I have food poisoning again next week so that I can spend an entire day doing nowt but lay (lie?) on the couch wrapped up in a warm blanket reading books whilst Xiao brings me cups of ginger tea.

Today I’m nearly myself again – tummy still a bit delicate, but generally functioning normally – so I decided to go meet some people for lunch. As in, meet them for the first time. There’s an pretty comprehensive expat website here in Shanghai, aptly named Shanghai Expat, and on their forum boards someone had posted a general invite to meet up for lunch in the Lujiazui area, so I decided, why not. You gotta meet new people, right? Keeps life interesting. The fellow who organised it had chosen Hooters as our cafe du jour. Yes, Hooters; we have a Hooters here in Shanghai. Wouldn’t have been my choice but what the heck, you gotta go somewhere. So I went to Hooters, and met some new people. Nice group – there were 5 of us, 3 already knew each other, myself and another guy were the ‘strangers’ but everyone was cool and it was good company. (No 3 Mile wings for me today though – I had a safe, boring bowl of soup.) So there we are, we’re all eating, chatting, getting to know eachother, and all of the sudden all of the waitresses were around our table clapping. We were like, huh? One of the girls then says “Here we have the five people from the Expat website, they don’t know each other, they come meet eat lunch together, we sing for you now!” And then they sang us two verses of Row Row Row Your Boat.

I’m not quite sure what more I can say about that.

… aaand, we’re back!

Been a while, hey?

Returned to Shanghai just about a week ago, after spending a solid 4 months in the US. Which was about 1.5 months longer than I’d originally expected to be there, but hey ho, life happens. Won’t go into all the details (as it’s, like, not all that interesting a story except to those involved, who already know them, so there’s no point really) so I’ll just say we got in a good bit of this

as well as a couple of days of this

and even managed to squeeze in an afternoon of this

so, that’s all good stuff.

And now, we are here in lovely Shanghai, where I can buy tissues that are named after girls that are named after poop. Great to be back, folks!