I am pleased that now i am starting to really try to maximise my weekends as much as possible, and generally get up around 9 to help fit more in. One difference between living here and living in London is that i know i will not be in Shanghai again once i return, so i need to do as many things as possible whilst i have the chance. The longer i am here i expect the more ambitious my trips will be. Currently i have stuck to investigating Central Shanghai. For the next few months i plan to have regular trips to other Chinese cities and also out to the vast areas of countryside, which bring an interesting variety of culture. Ultimately, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia & Mongolia are on my list too.
The domestic trips begin from this weekend as Ruby and I are off to Wenzhou, her home town, to visit her Grandfather who will be celebrating his 80th birthday. This will be a great experience i hope. My only concern is getting to her first via train by myself, which may be tricky. I shall make sure i take some photos and also videos of the party, as the videos have proved quite popular and are better at getting across the atmosphere of a moment. It sounds likely that much local chinese booze will be on offer here, so i’ll be careful not to embarass myself. As no-one will be able understand a word i say, i surely can’t do anything that bad…?
For the rest of this week before the trip i shall continue on with my 24 Boxset, i am nearly through Series 2. I am now starting to think that perhaps Jack Bauer deserves a pay rise, at the very least. I’m sure that future seasons will be rubbish and go the same way as Lost, but hopefully i’ll be proved wrong. Other than this i’m still sorting out my Chinese mobile phone, plus attempting to get tickets for entertainment in the following months.
With regards upcoming entertainment, there is good news and bad news.Olympics in Qindao looks unlikely now due to cost, demand, and no guarantee of actually seeing any good Sailing up close. But i hope to organise some tickets to see some Olympic football instead, as some of the games are in Shanghai Stadium. Instead for my birthday weekend we will now visit an island (Putuoshan) which i shall tell more about nearer the time. On another exciting note, it seems i am going with a work colleague to the upcoming Chinese F1 Grand Prix, which am also very pleased about. I am not a huge F1 fan, but this opportunity is too good to miss. I shall keep an eye out for further events, as i seem to have a greater motivation for such things now that i have moved onto to a new city. Furthermore, there is an International Athletics meeting in October which i’m considering too. It is only about £10 per ticket, so if its as boring as Athletics might well be, i can just leave. For atmosphere alone it may be ok though, as Chinese people seem to be able to get excited at any sporting event.
The weather here today is rather British, which i’m quite enjoying. There are some miserable clouds lurking over the Shanghai skyline, and after weeks of extreme heat, its a welcome change. To cycle in to work today with a cool breeze behind me was very nice. The weather was previously around low to mid 30s and i expect it to be back to that very soon.
My new bicycle, the “Carrefour Cruiser” as i have nicknamed it has proven a great way of popping around the city. With my secure D-lock i’ve still not had it stolen after 2 weeks, which is apparently good going. Only problem so far was a flat tyre, caused by an unfortunately placed nail lying on the road. Some local bike dude fixed it no problem for about 15 yuan / £1. His bike shop was just across the road from where i hit the nail. In some ways that was fortunate, but i was also quite suspicious of this, and wouldn’t be surprised if he had laid a few nails down there himself!
What continues to both amuse and annoy me is the extraordinary tactics that people use on Chinese roads. I regularly swear at people who just cut you up or travel down the wrong side of the road without even looking where they are going. Indeed it was easy changing from UK left hand to the Chinese right hand lane way, as most people just go where the hell they like. On the plus side i can swear freely without fear of getting smacked by someone bigger than me. Quite simply, most Chinese people do not understand my swearing, and are normally smaller than me anyway! haha. But it helps to release my anger. I have also seen several road rage incidents already where someone inevitably gets a good slap around the chops. Quite funny from a far distance.