So I had 4 kuai beef pulled noodles at the shop around the block from my house. That’s 54 cents to you and me. It was good!
But probably too many carbs, so I started walking east. I got as far as Yuyuan, the Jade Garden Shopping Atrocity. The walk from my place to Yuyuan is probably shorter than the walk from Columbia City to the International District.
So what kind of a jerk leaves his camera at the office when it’s sunny and bright in Shanghai? If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m going to need a hundred pictures to tell you all that I saw on my walk today. I’ll bring the camera next weekend.
So I walked out of Luwan and into the Old City, which feels like old-world-meets-third-world-meets-anything-goes-market economy. The Old City is dense, narrow, and car-less; buildings are two stories max, mostly just one story, and there are more sidewalk kitchens, fruit stands, and snack vendors than you can shake a stick at.
The closer you get to Yuyuan, the more you start seeing buildings in rubble. It looks like an earthquake or a tank attack, but it doesn’t take long to realize that these buildings are getting demolished for development. By the time you get up to Yuyuan, whole city blocks are demolished, the debris out of sight behind the cinder-block ramparts they build to isolate demolition zones. The walls themselves are papered with some propaganda, complete with charming White couples and Chinese families enjoying the benifits of a modern, manicured city, complete with parks and fountains. The caption reads something like “Modern City, Better Life!” It won’t be long until the dense, organic-feeling old neighborhoods are replaced by yuppies and apartment buildings.
I turned around to walk back, and I found myself home before I was expecting to be. I stopped into the store to buy some canadian bacon and some 3:30 peanuts, and then bought eggs from the rice lady around the block.
So, to save myself the expense of buying pirated DVDs ($1 – $2 max.) I’ve started downloading movies through bittorrent. The thing about completely free entertainment is that I don’t feel much commitment to watching it. I skipped through most of Man vs. Wild. I’ve paused Superbad now at least 10 times, I’m only halfway through the movie. I just keep getting bored. I’m not invested.
I’ve also got I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Good Luck Chuck; I feel like I’m only going to get through half of each before deleting the data. I’m also currently downloading Hairspray, Bourne Ultimatum/Shooter (double feature), and The December Boys, not because I’m even slightly interested in any of them, but simply because they are recent and free.