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Ex-pat 4 Lyfe

travel china \ 2010-06-21

Instead of sitting on a mountain top braving wind and snow and cougers (animal and women) and yetis and taxes, Buddhist monks should be forced to wait on standby for a flight to a destination that does not like being flown to. Patience is not just the name of the game, it is also the name of every action a player in the game can do. Hell, it's the name of the player too.

"I'm sorry, but there's no space on this flight to Tokyo and then on to Shanghai. It's reserved for the huge 100 some person Chinese tour group."

"Oh, ok, when's the next flight that will get me to a hub across the Pacific"

"Hm...12 hours from now. And you'll have to stand in a lot of lines. Upside down. On fire."

"Deal."

If I had to frickin' walk across the Pacific to get to Shanghai I would have. If by walk you mean sit grudgingly on the floor in LAX.

However, in what must have used up the rest of my luck for the rest of the summer, I got on the 12:10am flight, direct to Seoul! It has some of the same letters as Shanghai! Awesome!

Then, after watching the highlights of that day's World Cup games 7 times I finally caught a 9am flight from Seoul to Shanghai. Shanghai was really out in force to welcome me, which means that it was 95 and humid as all get out and I was sweating out of pores I didn't know I had. But I was in Shanghai and Shanghai was in me. Or rather, it was after some delicious food. Such delicacies included frog leg and shrimp pizza and passion fruit ice cream. nom nom nom nom.

The last few days have consisted of a fair amount of wandering around Shanghai (田子方,新天地,南京路) and buying of things (phone, pants, cucumbers, non-perishable milk - you know, essentials). Tomorrow will be my first day without Annie to guide me, but I think I understand the subways well enough by now (Don't jump in front of a moving one: people will get pissed at you for delaying the train). I think I may return to 田子方 (tianzi fang), which is a really artsy place, and take pictures.

Hopefully I won't look as ex-pat tomorrow as I did today. After meeting up with Huang Gege (Annie's sharing-a-wall-bor) and buying some books in the giant 7 storey book store, we decided to show Huang Gege a taste of America. And what better way to show a 20-something man from Shandong what America is like than a hamburger! Not just any hamburger, but an ex-pat hamburger. Close your eyes and imagine with me: you're walking down a Chinese street and all of a sudden you see more white skin than you've seen since taking a shower (unless you tan on a nude beach?...or aren't white?). Bam. Malone's. You enter. Smoke fills your nostrils cough cough A woman gives you a sultry look. You realize it's actually to the man standing behind you. You return her look anyways. You go upstairs. No seats. You go downstairs. No seats. You start coughing as a stange European man wearing too much make-up and capris blows smoke rings in your face. You go upstairs. Score, seats, however there are only two chairs. You ask a drunk looking man for the chair next to him. He peevedly rebuffs you. The asian girl in your party asks him. He generously offers her the seat. Jerk. At last: ex-pat heaven.

The burger you've been longing for since - well, you actually haven't been craving a burger. You actually kind of wanted to go out for like...Yunnan food or...eggplant. You've been craving eggplant for awhile, actually. - arrives. 12.50USD of delicious kraft cheese and flavorless beef. You are an American in Shanghai. Life is good.

But yeah, seriously. Kraft cheese on a 12 dollar burger? I could learn to raise cows, slaughter them, make cheese, buy a grill, and make a burger for cheaper than 12.50. It was an experiance, that's for sure. But if I ever suggest to "try out the ex-pat life," shoot me in my 百威 (bai wei - Budweiser).

Tomorrow also involves going out to eat...FROGS