Published: March 6th 2010March 3rd 2010
First off, no I did not see, "The Goal." In fact I still have not seen it due to the excruciating slowness of ctvolympics.ca in China. I spent the duration of the game in Pudong International Airport and on a bus into downtown Shanghai. I arrived to Sean's apartment to find three somewhat drunk and very excited Canadians, at 9 A.M. They explained what happened and it excited me so much that I spent the rest of the day beating jet lag harder than we beat the Americans.
After three days in Shanghai my impression is of a city of contradictions. A city where ultra modern skyscrapers sit beside construction sites with bamboo scaffolding. A city that would be unrecognizable to anyone who lived there in the early 1990's. There are literally so many tall buildings here that it makes a city like Toronto seem like a rural backwater. To look at Shanghai from one of its numerous observation decks is to see what it must look like when someone beats Sim City 3000
Shanghai is also a city that doesn't have nearly as many tourists as I thought it would. Sometimes we can go hours walking in Central
Curtis attempts to break the rules.
Shanghai without seeing another white person. In fact at one local noodle restaurant some Chinese guys asked to take their picture with me. I explained to them that despite appearances I was not Brad Pitt, and yet they still seemed interested. I was expecting this in rural or Western China but for it to happen in an international city like Shanghai was shocking to me. On a side note many locals that we meet think Paul is Chinese and is our tour guide. They will speak to us in English and then address Paul in Mandarin. They will then tell Paul he looks, "Very Chinese." Paul is in fact Japanese Italian; I have included a glamour shot so that you can draw your own conclusions.
Before wrapping up I want to speak about our gracious host, Sean Collett. Many people back home have asked for me to give details on how Sean survives here and just to paint a general picture of what his life is like. Rather than going into detail I have decided to list five facts about Sean's life in Shanghai.
* Sean is the only white person living in his 19 floor apartment
building. As far as I know he might be the only white guy in the neighbourhood.
Chinese people love pictures.
* A couple of days ago Sean lit his hair on fire. I was not in the room so I cannot explain how this happened.
* Sean epitomizes the Jekyll and Hyde lifestyle. During the week he lives what he calls the boring lifestyle of an English language teacher in Shanghai. On the weekends he makes Hunter S. Thompson look like a teetotaler.
* In Sean's fridge there are some sauces and a package of ground beef. The night before I arrived he ordered McDonald's for dinner (delivery).
* Sean does indeed have a Chinese girlfriend. In fact she is watching South Park with us right now. Her name is Lea and she seems very nice.
Tomorrow we fly to Kuala Lumpur, home of the Petronas Twin Towers. You might know this city from the 1999 Sean Connery hit Entrapment
. I will try to update the blog at some point during the week we are spending in Malaysia and Singapore.
*Photos will be added later. It feels like 35 degrees in this internet cafe so I am not sticking around
Tim, this is for you.
to upload them. Sorry.
There are more photos below