My sister takes great pictures: this one is of the motorbikes and peticabs we saw when Kuya D took us to buy bbq.
Ok, I’m back, and I got a chance to sleep. Due to the obscenely early flight and a sweet nap that I took this afternoon, I may be the first person to ever experience jet lag when traveling within the same time zone.
I cranked the heat up to 30 degrees so that it would heat my freezing apartment faster (I know it doesn’t work, but I did it anyway, sue me!). And then, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I honestly thought I was still in the Philippines…. nope, fell asleep with the heater on 30. Whoops.
Woke up at met A for dinner. We went to Element Fresh to exchange pasalubong and debrief the whole Chinese New Year experience. My nose got stuffy from the freezing cold, so I couldn’t really taste the kebab sandwich/wrap I ordered… it just tasted salty. Sigh, I miss Manila…
We stopped for expensive groceries on the way home, and then I took the subway back. I’m using a new key wallet, I bought in Manila; it holds my keys and my subway card. I love it, because the turn-styles can read my card through the wallet, so no more digging out the card. Also, the keys fold into the wallet, so no more pocket pokes.
Anyway, when I got back up top, a Chinese man was trying to get my attention… who knows why I turned to listen, I usually ignore people on the street, particularly at that corner. He didn’t seem dressed for the cold; I assumed it was because he, like the rest of the Chinese population, enjoy 辛苦，suffering.
He asked me if the Bailemen Hotel was this way, to the right, or to the left. It took me a moment to understand what he was saying… Bailemen rang a bell, but I couldn’t place it, so I told him I don’t know, I’m a foreigner. He started walking away, when I realized Bailemen… that’s the hotel me and E stayed at this summer. Aw, I miss E.
So I shouted to him, Bailemen, that’s by Jing An Temple on West Nanjing Road. Isn’t this West Nanjing, he asked? No, I said, it’s Central Huaihai. He asked how to get there, and I said, take the subway. Then he asked where to go out at night, to Xintiandi? I said, you could, it’s expensive…, there are also places by Jing An Temple. But then I realized I was telling a Chinese dude who wasn’t dressed for the cold about the shi-shi expensive places that foreigners go to…
So then he says, “I’m from Taiwan.” Ah ha, so he is rich. Alright then. He asked where I was from, and this time I said I was American “beautiful country person.” He asked what I was doing in Shanghai, and before I could say 语言学家 he guessed 老师。 So I said yah, and he asked “English?” and so I said, no Spanish. And he wasn’t shocked, so I believe he really was Taiwanese, since mainland Chinese folks usually look concerned and alarmed when I tell them I teach such an aesoteric language.
He complimented my Chinese, telling me it was 那么厉害， which is like ‘devastating,’ a compliment which both out of politeness and respect for the truth I am obliged to deny. And then he shook my hand. Very odd. I thought, ok, this dude is lost. Also, because he wasn’t wearing warm clothes, he kept pulling his sweater up over his mouth. I kept wondering if he was signaling his friends to come mug me, but then I realized, no, he’s from Taiwan, he has no interest in 辛苦。 He’s genuinely cold.
So yah. Foreigners are stopping me on the street and asking for directions. That’s right.
Tomorrow it’s back to work at SpanishPod. I’m looking forward to it. I hope there’s heat.