Archive for the ‘Shanghai-ed!’ Category

When I returned to Shanghai I had always been planning to spend my first small while living with my friend Du Jiachen in the small upstairs space of his apartment in the French Concession. It’s gorgeous, one of the few parts of town not either completely run down or covered in tawdry lights as if some leviathan, neon god from Joel Schumacher’s nightmares had bent down and sneezed all over the place. (Although I must admit I do find these lights appealing, even if gaudy. What can I say? I’m a sucker for pretty colors.)

I never originally intended to take him up on his offer to make that place my home, however. Even tempted by the idea of a cheap and ready apartment in the heart of my favorite neighborhood, I thought for certain I would find the lack of a (functional) kitchen and the need to leave the apartment in order to make my way to the public restroom too inconvenient to put up with. When I showed up at his front door a couple of nights after my arrival and he handed me the keys and left on a business trip into the North, however, the place began to grow on me immediately. Anybody thinking of joining me here in Shanghai should let me know ahead of time so I can get a guest-friendly place set up, but until such time I believe I’ve found my digs in the Pearl of the Orient. For a quick tour, follow the thumbnails from left to right. You can also just click the first one and follow along in a sort of slideshow format.

Well, there you have it, my lovely home for the time being. And the best part? I only have to pay 800CNY, (125USD), per month for the place. Now, for as small as it is and for the lack of kitchen/restroom I could actually find MUCH cheaper in Shanghai, but certainly not in this part of town. And quite frankly, if you’re not living in the French Concession then you might as well just die.

Well, okay, perhaps you could find justification to go on living. But there’s a good reason so many foreigners choose to live here. It is by far and away the most beautiful part of town. It’s also immediately adjacent to the primary clubbing district and several enormous commercial districts. Oh, and I live a few blocks away from JZClub, possibly the greatest jazz bar for the money in the entire world. How’s that for snoot factor?

Uh... I guess I've also been boning about in the park.

First allow me to apologize to my readers for taking a little bit longer than usual between posts. As I mentioned in the last entry I have recently moved shop back to Shanghai, and it’s taken me just a bit of time to get my act together enough to pay much attention to GMYS. Aside from the busy-work, errand-running, and mad, last-minute fundraising inherent in moving to the other side of the planet without having planned anything ahead of time, I should like to point out that China’s reputation as a strangler of the internet is not one that was simply given to the glorious nation. Nay, it is one earned with sweat and tears. Now, some of you may be saying to yourselves, “What’s this crook going on about? WordPress isn’t banned in China!” Well, you know what? When I’m Chancellor you’ll be the first to disappear. For now, I concede the point. However, my dependence on Google and Facebook are weaknesses here which have made my online escapades slow and frustrating ones. My internet time thus far has mostly been spent researching and selecting a VPN service, and waiting for gmail to load. SO, having taken care of these things as well as many of my various offline tasks, I return to service with a renewed vigor for blogging, an increased zest for life, a few stories up my sleeve, seven less pounds of bodyweight (FML), and my sincerest regrets at having failed to meet my goal of publishing a minimum one (1) post per week. I know I’m only two days over, but failure is failure, and failure is disappointing. And Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg does not like to be disappointed.

Second, my announcement for all subscribers. Oh yes, I have exciting news for you glorious handful, you chosen few, you. My friend Ezekiel and I are combining forces to create an outlet with more diverse content, greater swag, less respect for the Powers that Be, better formatting, and, dare I say it, a more charming layout than ever before: The Gristlehedge Underground Press! We’re keeping this rather close to the chest while the situation develops, but rest assured that I will inform all of you when the process is complete, and provide a link so that you can head on over and subscribe. I will also provide links, from that blog, to all of my entries here at GIVE ME YOUR SHOES so that you can easily access all of it’s fascinating content without having to keep tabs on what will soon be a dead blog. (Alas, it went before its time and will be remembered fondly, and its debts passed on to its estranged children).

I’m back in the saddle again

Posted: September 19, 2011 in Shanghai-ed!

What time is it? What day is it? I’m finally back in Shanghai and, having sorted out these sorts of things, I can figure out where I’m going to live and what I’m going to do for work. For those who need some catching up, I studied for a year at East China Normal University in Shanghai and I’ve just returned after a year spent concluding undergraduate studies in my hometown. A couple days ago I left home, early in the morning, and sat in a tube chasing the sun for 20 hours before arriving… home. Odd, but that was the feeling as I stepped out of the subway and into the Long Zhi Meng shopping center: one of returning at long last to a place that had been my home and the site of countless goings-on.

One of the first people I spoke to was a sales representative in large electronics store who told me that China Mobile no longer had any presence in Long Zhi Meng, (I needed to get my phone up and running first thing). Upon leaving the store, I looked to the right and found the China Mobile stand. I smiled, sighed, and got ripped off by a rather unscrupulous and apathetic SIM card pusher with claws. Home again, home again, jiggity-jig!

In the days since, I’ve bounced from one friend’s home to the next. I’ve found 3 students, one of whom I met on the plane over here. I’m looking to join my Scot friend, Nik, in his work as a Kindergarten teacher. It will ensure that I’m not allowed to use the Chinese for which I’ve worked so hard, and is also probably one of the more comical jobs I could land over here. Since I’ve already landed 3 students my goal is but part-time work. I just need someone to handle my visa for me. I feel like if I show up after three months and tell them I’ve had so much fun vacationing in China that I want to take another three months they may suspect foul play…

More updates in a bit, and for those of you waiting for emails… It seems that in my absence the relationship between China and Google has only continued to deteriorate. It’s pretty much useless over here. I’m going to set up a Hotmail account in a bit and see if that works any better. In the meanwhile remain on the edge of your seats, where I’m sure you’ve been all this while.

It’s the Final Countdown

Posted: August 10, 2011 in Shanghai-ed!

Well, it’s done. The transaction is complete. Money has crossed hands and there are no refunds. I’m returning to Shanghai, making my exodus through O’Hare on the 14th of September. It’s suddenly become more imperative that I find a job.

I’m finally moved out of the Monastery, once again to entrench myself in my parents’ basement for a spell before I ship out. The upstairs television boasts Netflix streaming, but the viewing experience is much more harrowing at night for the proximity to my sleeping predecessors. I watched Theremin: an Electronic Odyssey late last evening on that same set, and each time the documentary switched to footage of live performances the volume shot up such that it would suddenly sound as if there in the very living room were Dr. Theremin himself playing the infernal contraption for all the neighborhood to hear. I had to be fast with the remote to deal with this issue, and each time the scene changed my jaw dropped as I fumbled ineffectively with the controls in the dark… The film included some fascinating interviews, and the story of Dr. Theremin is like something from a movie anyway. This guy was kidnapped by the KGB in New York City and forced to work on technology for the Soviets, (he was Russian originally), none of his friends in the US knew what happened to him until he returned in the 90’s, an old man. Crazy stuff!

Anyway, the time to set off is nearly upon me. I’m planning to stay with my friend Paul (都佳辰) when I first get to Shanghai. He keeps a quirky little apartment in the French Concession, my favorite district. It has a second level reached via ladder, where I will sleep, and a porch on that same level with a decent view. I won’t have a kitchen, and the bathroom is in a different part of the building which must be accessed from the outside, so I expect I’ll be looking for a new place before long, but I have another friend in the same neighborhood who can help me with that. In fact, I have friends all over Shanghai, and thank goodness for that. This should be a much smoother transition than the last time.

For those who don’t know, I studied in Shanghai during the 2009-2010 academic year. It was a life-changing experience and all that stuff, but in all seriousness I met some movers and some shakers over there. I came back home and graduated and found myself delivering sandwiches again, so I’ve decided to return to meet up with said movers and shakers and see if I can’t make things happen. That’s… about as specific as the goal is right now. I’ll have a drummer and another guitarist lined up for a band, in Nik and Paul respectively, and hopefully I’ll have set up my computer to record by then. In any case, I’ll have fun and my Chinese will in all likelihood improve dramatically. If I can find a good job and decent hours I could even build up some cash!

Oh hey, this is pretty much my first actual post. Although that test post went really well.

One Two Three Four

This is how it is done.

Okay, did it work?