Shanghai Short Stories

Hey! Again, sorry for slacking on the blog front. I’ve been working hard, mostly, and re-adjusting to life in Shanghai (didn’t take me long, believe me!) Also, Helene and I finally found a new apartment, and we will be moving in at the end of October. The new place is in a cool place downtown, and is much bigger than our current apartment. I’m ecstatic.

Here’s some short and interesting events that Helene and I witnessed lately, in no particular order:

Street Chaos

There’s simply no way to predict the streets of Shanghai, sometimes. Earlier this week, as Helene was in the taxi trying to catch her bus to the school, a bunch of street sellers on Zhenning Lu seemingly spotted a cop, and decided to make a run for it. (Street selling happens everywhere, but is technically illegal and the sight of street merchants running for their lives is not uncommon.)

One of the street merchants running away scraped the side of Helene’s taxi with her cart. The driver did the only sensible thing, and stepped out to yell at the street seller, who was pleading to be let go because the cops were coming. Helene simply stepped out of the cab and walked until she found another one. Naturally, she missed her bus.

The Chick Bus

You’d think I wouldn’t be surprised at what people carry on the backs of their bicycle, but once in a while, I still am. Two days ago, as I was waiting for the bus, a man came by carrying small boxes on the back of his bike. When he got nearer, it dawned on me that these boxes were tiny cages, each containing a single chick. He had over a hundred of these. I shudder to think what would happen if he ran into a bus and the cages broke…

Karaoke Redux

Karaoke, how I missed thee! To celebrate my return to Shanghai, I organized an impromptu teppanyaki and karaoke session last Friday night. A great time was had by all (certainly by me.) As always, we ended up with sore vocal chords and a neat hangover the next day, which is the reason we only do these karaoke outings approximately once every three months.

The Western approach to karaoke is definitely different than the Chinese. Whereas Chinese tend to take karaoke very seriously, sing in turn, and expect good singing quality, us crazy 老外 (“lao wai”, the catch-all term for foreigner) order way too much booze, get drunk, then sing all together at the top of our lungs. Last time we did this, we scared the waiters shitless, and they wouldn’t come when we called them anymore. This time, we were wiser: we ordered all the booze up front. The waiter couldn’t believe his ears when he heard me call for “one bottle of tequila, one bottle of vodka, one bottle of whiskey, 3 bottles of orange juice, 6 cans of Coke and 6 bottles of green tea.”

Yeah, I know. Us crazy lao wai and our drunken antics…

About Daniel Roy

Daniel is a writer, backpack foodie, slow traveler, and endurance runner. He is the author of the upcoming book, "The Way of Slow Travel: A Hands-On Guide to the Best Travel of Your Life."

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