My pre-Line 10 Life

I spent most of the day chilling at the house-sit-house. At lunch time I met Vera at a Japanese restaurant; she was just awesome. She has just gotten back to Shanghai after a three year stint as a Mandarin teacher at a rural high school in Indiana, plus what sounds like a whirlwind tour of big US cities. I asked in Chinese if we were going to speak English, but she wasn’t having it. We also spent a fair amount of time arguing over who was treating whom to lunch. She said that when she goes to Seattle to visit, then I have to treat her. These 请-ing arguments require underhanded tactics in the mainland.

The place we went was at this fancy new shopping complex on Jinqiao Road called the 金桥国际商业广场 Jinqiao International Business Plaza. It’s not far from Old School Jinqiao, where my friends live, and it’s got all kinds of crazy awesome places: the sushi restaurant, for one, but also Burger King, Haagen-Dazs, Wagas, Chamate, BiFenTang, Ajisen Ramen, and oh yes, the golden arches. Plus… a line 6 subway station! I’m going to go there tomorrow morning to hang out at the coffee bean before going to meet Davidico for lunch.

After lunch went back to the apartment for more chilling out, but then later I took the subway to my conversation class at Lavazza. My teacher beat me there so there was no time for an early dinner. The class was, again, awesome, my teacher is hella cool.

After class there was a table of westerners sitting on the patio. I didn’t understand what they were saying, all I could hear were some crazy nonsense tones. Later I realized they were speaking Spanish.

I walked out onto the street and I thought about going all the way back to Jinqiao, but decided on going to Changle Road to try to find my favorite Japanese restaurant, Bankura Soba Kitchen… which I ended up finding with the help of a great woman cab driver. The women cab drivers are just more pleasant to get along with sometimes.

I had karaake, dashimaki tamago, some cold soba, and an Asahi. I was slightly shocked when the bill came out to 101块RMB, but then I remembered… that’s not even $16 bones USD, which is pretty good for some 挑剔 über-fussy Japanese food and a beer.

After that, I thought I’d go visit the old neighborhood. I had the cabbie, another woman, who was delighted to speak with me, she dropped me off at 新天地 Xintiandi. The other laowais were going into the shopping complex, I walked past it, down to where I used to live and work. I walked down South Huangpi, across Fuxing to Hefei Road. I passed where Zentral used to be, the old BSR ("bad service restaurant"), the street kitchen we called "Toxic Smell." I was most hoping to see my old barbershop, the Shandong dumpling place, the small wonton place, and the super cheap xiaolong bao place, but I didn’t see them. Stinky, gross old Hefei Road isn’t as noisy or crowded anymore, although I did hear some people yelling at a truck driver unloading sandbags that he was raising way too much dust.

I walked all the way to the end, to the old Line 8 Laoximen subway station, and saw the Graceland Hotel where I stayed when I came to Shanghai in 2007 to interview with Praxis. Anyway, when I got down into the station, I saw that it was a transfer station; they’ve opened Line 10. I took a look at Line 10 and was kind of amazed…. when I was here, I was living a Line 10 kind of life… before Line 10 even existed. Here are the awesome stops on Line 10:

  • Longxi Road Station: 10 minute walk to Hongqiao Pearl City (Fake market)
  • Shanghai Library Station: 7 minute walk to the JZ Club
  • South Shaanxi Road Station: City Market
  • Xintiandi Station: My house; the old factory office
  • Laoximen Station: The old city, the Dongtai Road Antique market
  • Yuyuan Garden Station: tourist shopping, Dintaifeng
  • East Nanjing Road Station: Duh, East Nanjing Road, transfer to Line 2 for Sunday night dinner in Pudong

Amazing. I wish that had been there when I lived there.

挑剔 tiāoti: picky; fastidious (me, in terms of coffee; Japanese people, in terms of Japanese food, thank goodness)

故意 gùyì: deliberately; intentional; on purpose

其中 qízhōng: among; in; included among these

xiàngmù: item; project

政治 zhèngzhì: politics

y luàn: disorder; confusion; arbitrarily

qióng: poor; exhausted

吵架 chǎo jià: to quarrel; to squabble; bicker

One thought on “My pre-Line 10 Life

  1. Isn’t line 10 the best? We were excited when it opened, too. Also near Shanghai Library is a great *little coffee* house called Casbah Cafe that I love for, among other things, its expat bulletin board…and the Boxing Cat Brewery…and the best button shop in Shanghai. And just north of XinTianDi station on MaDang Lu is Urban Soup Kitchen. And near ShaanXi Nan Lu is my favorite Element Fresh, the one with all the windows letting in Sunday morning light, just perfect for brunch.
    Too funny that you stayed in Graceland Hotel on your first visit…I always thought that if there were ever a place that ought to have a few Velvet Elvises in the lobby, that’d be it!
    I’m so enjoying reading about your return to Shanghai. Can’t wait ’til it’s our turn to go back!

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