So, unlike my co-workers, I didn't actually come to Shanghai to have fun at the Racks opening. It actually turns out I wouldn't have been able to get in anyway so I guess it's a good thing I didn't come up on Friday afterall.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up and give you the (extremely long drawn out and obsessively detailed) whole story.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Originally I thought that the opening party was going to be on the 1st (Saturday), so I had sort of planned in my head that I would come up on Friday evening or Saturday morning. A month ago when I set the appointment for my internet to get hooked up I picked the 29th of February. It was a Friday, I could stay home, do some laundry while I worked remotely, and then go catch a flight up to Shanghai and go to the big event before I spent the rest of the weekend moving a few last items from my friend's apartment to my home in Hong Kong.
Naturally, nothing ever happens the way we plan. I found out shortly thereafter that Racks had put the opening celebration on Friday instead. There was pretty much no way that I would be able to have my internet installed around noon and make it up to Shanghai via Shenzhen in time for the party and it was too late to try and reschedule for an earlier apointment.
I'm not really that much into parties to begin with so I figured it wasn't a huge loss in any case. I can watch those sorts of things in HK if I really want to.
So, instead I spent Friday working through most of the day. I have that second phase of the 6th Floor Rear Flat website that is in crunch phase so I spent most of the day dealing with that -- mostly answering email questions and finalizing designs. By the time I finished working it was around 4:00 a.m.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Saturday I woke up around 9:00 a.m. I still wasn't 100% sure I would be able to make it to Shanghai on that night or not. I had emailed Tam that I might not make it. But then things worked out and I could go. I emailed him back and told him I would be there and crashing at his place, and then started packing. After a shower and shave it was out the door and on my way to run some errands before going to Shenzhen and then to Shanghai.
Cute little girl playing peek-a-boo on the bus
I took the MTR to the Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan, where I got my plane tickets, my turbojet ticket and changed a bunch of money to RMB. I also paid a few bills at the 7-11 and ATM machines. After an uneventful (because I was sleeping) ride on the turbojet I arrived in Shenzhen and took the free shuttle over to the airport.
Would you let your kids play on that beach? Me neither.
I got online again at the airport and emailed Tam my flight information so he would know when I was coming in to town.
I should also mention that,
as I wrote in a previous blog, I had lost my phone a little while back and didn't have a new one yet. One of the things I was going to do in Shanghai was pick up my old phone that Tam had been using and use that one, thereby saving me some dinero.
I caught my flight up to Shanghai, arriving at Hongqiao airport (the old one) around 7:30 p.m. I caught a cab for Jing An Temple, since that was originally the place that Tam and I had planned to meet up before my plans changed. I went to the Coffee Bean & Tea place and used their free wi-fi to check my email. No word back from Tam but I sent him an email and told him where I was and that I would email him again a little later.
My plane to Shanghai
In the meantime I went to run a couple errands and around 10:00 p.m. I found myself in the lobby of the JC Mandarin Hotel on Nanjing Lu. The main problem was that I didn't have Tam's cellphone number, so even if I could borrow a phone (which I did) I couldn't reach him. I had a number for Mark Wu, but he had since changed his number. I had one for Zhu Wen Jun too, but she wasn't answering. So I was pretty much out of luck.
In the lobby of the JC Mandarin
From the JC Mandarin I used their wi-fi and did another email update for Tam, telling him I would head over to Tong Ren Lu and find a place to eat and then e-mail him again when I knew where I was. I found myself at the City Diner just off of Nanjing Lu and Tong Ren Lu and got something to eat there. It's nice because it's 24 Hours, they have decent food and they have free wi-fi. An excellent combination. They also have bottomless cups of coffee or iced tea. Extra bonus!
I got online again and sent Tam another email, letting him know that I was at the City Diner and would just wait there until I heard from him or he showed up. It had been about 10 hours since the last time he emailed me back and I wasn't sure where he was. I wasn't too worried about where I would sleep (I could always crash at some cheap motel or something) but I was starting to wonder if my emails were having problems.
Fortunately Lisa, my friend whom I met through Chris Lay (Shenzhen Photographer) was online and lived a few blocks away. She came over to keep me company and to help me call Tam on her phone. Eventually we got ahold of him (it took us a few tries).
Apparently he had received my 9:00 a.m. email about possibly not making it until Sunday and had, assuming I wouldn't be showing up until the next day, didn't receive my email half an hour later and took off for the day.
This is why people need to check their email more often.
Shortly after we contacted him none other than Kim Chan and company walked in the room! It was nice to see a familiar face. It turned out he had lost his phone too. It must be catching. He kept asking me if I knew what the other alivenotdead people were up to. Of course, I had no idea since I had no phone and they were off doing their own thing. (By looking at blogs later, it turned out they were at Racks.)
Speaking of Racks, I had asked Tam how the Opening Celebration was the night before. I had asked Pat to put Tam and his girlfriend on the guestlist. Since Pat wasn't sure when it started I told Tam to just show up around 8:00 and call Pat if there were any problems getting in. But at 8:00 they showed up and they were only letting press inside and told Tam to come back around 10:00 or 10:30.
But I guess that at 10:00 they weren't letting ANYone in .. even if they were on the guestlist. Tam tried calling Pat's number several times but he either wasn't picking up (probably was loud) or didn't have it on so they weren't able to attend.
That's why I said earlier that even if I had gone up on Friday I wouldn't have been able to make it to the party anyway. I would have been using Tam's phone to try and call Pat the same as he did, and if he couldn't get in when he was on the guest list, then neither would I. So, it's just as well that I didn't go up on Friday since it would have been something of a waste of time to fly early to go to a party that I couldn't even attend.
Tam in the foreground. Kim Chan in the red shirt.
Tam took me to his apartment, but first we dropped by a lamb stick stand for a few pieces of meat. Good stuff. Then he dropped me off at his never-used home. His roommate was there, but was hanging out in his own room sleeping. By this time it was around 1:00 a.m.
Waiting for our lamb sticks.
Originally I was going to have a conference call with my parents about their website (
http://www.visittetonvalley.com) which was due for some revisions, but instead of having them try to call me in the morning on a phone I did not yet own, I used Tam's home phone to call them and have them call me right back. We talked for quite a while and then I got ready for bed.
By the time my head hit the pillow it was close to 4:00 a.m.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
I decided that after two days of not getting enough sleep, I would just stay asleep until I woke up naturally. (Isn't that what Sundays are for?) That ended up being around 2:30 p.m. After washing up and changing my clothes I took off and walked half a block to Carrefore to get a phone. (It turned out that the one I had thought I could get back from Tam was broken. A pity since it was one of the two main reasons I was coming back. It was a 3,000 RMB phone when I bought it, which seemed worthwhile to fly to Shanghai for as it was cheaper to fly up than to buy a new 3,000 RMB phone...
And as my research had not yet weilded a possible new phone I just got the cheapest phone I could find. My thinking was that, if I ever lost my phone again, I could use this as a backup. Also, it would allow me more time to look around for just the right phone and make sure I had enough oppotunity to look through all my options before deciding on what I would get.
I ended up picking up a 298 RMB Motorola C118. It was about as simple a phone as you could ask for.
My new cheapo phone
I quickly made a few calls and arranged to meet up with Lisa after I got a hairwash at my old hair place on Wei Hai Lu. By the time I was done, Lisa had shown up and it was around 4:15. Time to go to Gubei to meet up with Tam and Fei for dinner at Tam's favorite Korean BBQ place.
We were going to meet Mark Wu and Zhu Wen Jun there too, but they were running really (REALLY) late and we had long since finished eating by the time they showed up. But we hung out for a while and all caught up.
Lisa at Korean BBQ
Some sort of plant-type thing
Each table had a neat individualized smelly smoke vent
Mark and Company
Zhu Wen Jun
After eating Tam drove Lisa and I close to Jing An Temple where Lisa went home and I went for a walk. I actually ended up back at City Diner and spent most of the rest of the night working on my laptop. I finally got to sleep around 5:00 a.m.
I think this was the night of the big Josie Ho concert too. From initial blog reports it sounds like people enjoyed it.
Monday, March 4, 2008
The next morning I woke up at noon (7 hours of sleep), and made my way to the nearest Starbucks where Tam had told me I could find free wi-fi. Well, Starbucks don't got no free wi-fi, so don't let the mermaid logo and happy go lucky barristas fool you.
I did sit there for a couple hours working though, and managed to get a fair bit of work done, even without the internet.
After that I made my way down to my old stomping grounds on Bai Se Lu. I had arranged with Yang Yu Hong to come to their practice at 3:00 p.m. and hang out for dinner afterwards. It was nice to see everyone again. All the boys have gotten bigger. I guess kids do that, huh? And everyone's wushu was much better too. Amazingly, even super crazy good wushu people can improve.
I took some photos of them doing their thing. I will have videos up after a few more days (and several more hours of sleep). Enjoy!
You can see one of the kids wearing the Google T-shirt Tiffany gave them last year.
He used to be skinny and weak!
Yang Laoshi Coaching
Practicing Horse Stance Landings
Gao Wei Hao practicing staff
Liang Chao, aka "Red Shorts" ... or "Red Pants" in the winter
Yang Yu Hong's Wushu Shoes
Halfway through practice Mark Wu showed up, and then we, along with Yang Yu Hong and Xie Fu Yan, met up with another guy (hurdler turned swimming coach) for some dinner grub. After that it was off to Sherry's where I grabbed a bunch of my stuff from her place and figured out what I would need to have shipped.
Xie Fu Yan at dinner
Yang Yu Hong at dinner
You see, as I mentioned, the main reason I had come up to Shanghai was actually to move the rest of my things down to Hong Kong. I had a bicycle, a computer, a small suitcase, a box full of random odds and ends (mostly Jet-related), my wushu weapons and a couple of other random things. I took my weapons bag and small suitcase with me and left the big box, bike and computer with Sherry. I was going to try (with Lisa's help) to arrange a delivery service to pick up my stuff and ship it down to Shenzhen or HK.
We said goodbye to Flirty .. err .. I mean "Sherry" ... and then caught a cab to the new Party World in Xu Jia Hui next to the Sports Center. We were met there by Wan Wan, Zhu Wen Jun and Lisa and sang songs for a few hours. Yang Yu Hong had to take off around 10:00 p.m. (he's under a 10:30 curfue right now) and the rest of us stayed until around 11:00 or so.
I caught a cab with Lisa to Tam's place where I dropped off the weapons bag and small suitcase. Then I went with her to City Diner where I spent the rest of the night working. She was working as well, but left the Diner to go home around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.
I kept working on the 6th Floor Rear Flat website for most of the night. I would intersperse it with a few other things like uploading my photos, going through email or blog feeds, but for the most part I was trying to chunk this website out as much as I could.
As I was sitting there, my bottomless iced-tea (which later became a bottomless coffee) keeping me company and the sounds of Maroon 5 Blaring on the Diner's stereo, I came to realize two things:
If I just got a big suitcase and stuck a bunch of stuff in it, I could take almost everything back with me on this trip, with the exception of the computer and bicycle. However, since Sherry didn't come home from work until 7:00 p.m., I wouldn't be able to pick up the other box until at least Tuesday night. I had originally planned on going back to Hong Kong on Tuesday. But ... did that make the most sense? Stay one more day to bring almost everything back? Hmmmm ..
I had a lot fo work to do for the Sixth Floor Rear Flat website. Would it be a better use of my time to work all day long in Shanghai and forego the 6 - 8 hours of travel to Hong Kong for one more day so that I would have enough time to finish everything up by the Tuesday night deadline I had given myself? All that travel time might be better used for work, while I had the deadline, and afterwards I wouldn't feel so stressed about going back to Hong Kong ...
So, that's where I stand right now. Trying to figure out the best course of action. It's 8:30 am on Tuesday .., the sun is up, the morning staff has come in to the City Diner and the city of Shanghai is now awake and on it's way to it's second day of the week.
What will the rest of my trip hold? I guess you'll have to come back in a day or two and find out ...
(Yeah .. I hate cliffhangers too ... )
Morning dawns on Shanghai
The only other people in the restaurant at 5 a.m.
My bottomless Iced Tea kept me company with it's overly-sugary sweetness
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