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Content in China

travel china \ 2010-07-08

There are few things that can relax a man who's away from home. Common ones in China include blind massages, massages by people with working eyes, massages with sad endings, massages with normal, non-sexual endings. You get the drift. I, however, not knowing the word for massage am worried as to the results when I try finding a massage parlor. I do, luckily, sort of kind of know how to use a map. And maps include directions to....wait for it....

WORLD'S TALLEST STATUE OF CHOPIN

What could make a man more content with his lot than the ability to stand in a subway for 45 minutes walk around in 200% humidity (China surpasses us in everything - including its ability to OVERCOME NUMBERS.) to see Chopin?

Nothing!

Like seriously, nothing. It was actually pretty cool. I mean why is there a statue - heck it's not even a statue, it's just his face 20 something feet off the ground - of Chopin in China? It was donated by the Polish half of Chopin, in case anyone was wondering (of even knew he was Polish?).

Quickly jumping away from my daily drudgery, I should probably explain how I look for things in China. If it's a simple noun like a vinyl or subway, I just repeat the vocabulary word enough times until someone understands. Sometimes people for some reason think I am directly inquiring if they, themselves possess a subway. These general looks of confusion are alleviated by me breaking out some of my "learning" and saying things like "How do you get to the subway?" Being clear in one's meanings is for the weak of heart and the those lacking in fortitude!

Now let us return to my original bit about massages. Can you imagine me going up to a nice grandma sitting in the park and asking "Massage?" What if she said yes? Can you imagine me asking a pretty lady in the park? What if she didn't slap me and said yes? Or a dude? AHH.

Ok, ok, I hyperbole just a little. If just to justify my previous stumblings through the language, I do, in fact try to use my Chinese even if the person insists on speaking English to me. Such as when ordering food:

Cashierlady: Hello!

Me: 你好 (Hello)

C: What would you like?

Me: 一般的奶茶 (The normal milk tea)

C: This one? points to picture as if I just threw together random syllables and hoped it approximated a real world

Me: thinking Isn't that what I just said? Like...seriously, she just pointed to it, she understood what I meant.

This is not to say that my Chinese accent is any good - Annie still doesn't understand anything I say in Chinese. Ever. This could also be that she isn't paying attention to what I say. But, c'mon, seriously, what are the chances of that?

Returning to my regularly scheduled rambling, Annie and I also got in a pretty damn intense game of Ultimate. There's a bunch of ex-pats and what not who are on the Shanghai Ultimate team who have open games every Monday. Damn...I haven't run that much in awhile...I did score 2 goals though! Yay for cherry picking! :D

To balance my muscular jock, athletic side I decided to be a good student and check out the brand-new library that opened up 3 subway stops away. Oh. My. God. Beautiful From the outside - at least during the day - it looks vaguely Soviet-era bloc (Olin anyone.....) but inside...holy cow. SOARING. I never imagined I would ever describe a library as soaring, but this place was amazing. A soft blue light radiates down criss-crossing through hollow center of the building. SOOO many books. AND CHAIRS. CHAIRS. I can sit and do some work! It's hard to do my Chinese studying without a desk and chair... Ahhhh. In loveeeeeeeeee I wish I had discovered this earlier rather than with a week remaining in my trip.

Today I also went to the Shanghai Jewish Refugee museum. Interesting and surprisingly small for such an interesting part of Shanghai's history. I also visited 下海庙 (Xiahai Temple) which was pretty nifty.

As a closing remark gotta throw out a Hup Holland (荷兰加油!) to the couple talking about my Nederlands jersey on the subway and to the random white guy who pointed to my jersey and yelled "GOOD!"