A Good Weekend

Untitled
April 12, 2007
Some Thoughts
April 26, 2007

A Good Weekend

Friday…

After a long day of teaching, I DJ’d at I Love Shanghai Lounge. Before going in, I was informed that I had a small following of about 30 people who made bookings. The night went very well as usual. And even made a contact with an entertainment company in town looking for DJ’s and was also requested to play for a birthday party in a couple weeks.

Bkgd info… I learned how to DJ in January from, the grand master himself, DJ Keyzer Soze ( Baltimore , MD ). He taught me the trade right before he left me stranded in Shanghai all by myself… lol. Since he has been gone, I have played an average of once a week ? If you know me, you know I love music, and this is a lot of fun… And my first DJ’ing experience being at I Love Shanghai Lounge… It couldn’t be any better.

Saturday…

I had minimal sleep on Friday night. I had to be at school at 7:15am Saturday morning. (About a 20 minute cab instead of the 40 minute ride three months ago, since they just finished another section of the vast highway in and around Shanghai.) Upon arrival, one of the students introduced me to a new breakfast food. It caught my eye because the outside of it was purple rice. The name of it is “si fan”. It includes rice, egg, some salty or pickled vegetables, and some crunchy fried bread. Those ingredients are wrapped inside the purple rice. (What makes the rice purple? I have no clue.) It was okay, not great, but fulfilled my food requirement at 7:15am, and for 2 RMB, I will not complain.

Riding on the elevated highways throughout Shanghai is always cool. It’s like you are flying through the city. It also gives you a chance to really sense how big and tall this city really is. If you have ever been to NYC, I’d say multiply that by 5 and you will get Shanghai. Once we were outside of Shanghai, I again noticed nothing but farmland, factories, rivers and mountains. This is what Chinese people call the countryside.

The trip to Anji by bus took about four hours. Again we were in a mountainous area. (Other than knowing I was going to see waterfalls and bamboo, I had no clue what to expect from this trip.) Our first destination was a mountain that housed many waterfalls and on which grew bamboo. Arriving to the area, we drove up a windy mountain road for about 15-20 minutes, on the way seeing live bamboo for the first time in my life. Being among the mountains in China always amazes me (whether it’s on them, or seeing them from a bus, plane, or train). This whole area is filled with bamboo, hence the name, Anji – “Bamboo Town” ( 竹 zhu = bamboo).

The bus drove us 20 minutes up this mountain. We ate lunch; then began our ascent, on foot, up this mountain.

The waterfalls and the bamboo were cool to see. But also very memorable were the men whose job was to carry people either up or down the mountain. They used a bamboo chair that was attached to two bamboo rods, which rested on their shoulders (one guy in front of the chair and one in back). I was sweaty and a little tired from the steep climb after about 15 minutes. And these dudes, where taking folks up and down on their backs. Their calf muscles were huge! Lol… After about 2 hours, we reached the top. A few pictures and a short rest, and it was time for the hour trip back down the mountain, which again (first time being the Great Wall) I found out that climbing down a mountain is no easier than going up.

Our bus took us to a hotel, in the city section of Anji. Accommodations were “adequate”. We even had a balcony, which gave us a great view of the back parking lot…lol. After a shower, we walked in the rain (around this city which none of us knew) looking for a good place to eat. We found a Sichuan (a province in China ) restaurant. This region is known for spicy foods, which I love. The dinner included:

  • Spicy shrimp
  • Spicy chicken
  • A fried frog dish with peppers and onions
  • A spicy potato dish
  • Soup (no Chinese meal is complete without soup)
  • Plain rice (another staple)
  • A few plates of different kinds of vegetables
  • Chinese green tea
  • A couple bottles of beer
  • There were about 10 people at our table, everybody was full and the bill came up to 150 RMB ($21 USD)

After dinner, I got a lesson on the Chinese stock market from a few students who are doing well with their investments. Then watched a little of a soccer game between 2 German teams with some of the guys.

Sunday…

The next day began with breakfast at around 7:30am. Our next destination was another section of this mountainous city where only bamboo grew. This place is where many movies have been filmed, including “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. On our way in, we “met” a 4-legged movie star. This was an ox that “works there” pulling a cart that takes people around the area. We were only here for about an hour, the highlights being taking a picture of the mountains covered with bamboo from atop a tower, and doing a zip line back and forth between two mountains.

On the way back we stopped in Hangzhou. This is one of China’s most famous tourist cities. There isn’t one Chinese person that will not tell you, “ Hangzhou is a beautiful city!” In Hangzhou , there is a very big lake, West Lake. This lake even has an island, on which is a temple. This is the highlight of the city. This lake is a pretty big lake in the middle of the city with 3 sections. Supposedly if you are there at night when the moon is above the lake, you can see three reflections of the moon on the water. (We left in the daytime…)

Getting there, I noticed this city has a lot of trees and flowers, way more than any other city I have been to in China. Including Sanya, on the tropical island. One of the students told me some people call Hangzhou “The Garden City”. I think this is why people say this city is beautiful, because of the trees, flowers and the lake. To me, arriving to Hangzhou, reminded me of neighborhoods in Philly near Fairmount Park where there are a lot of trees, flowers, and the river is close by. But one difference, there were way too many people there. (People in America don’t travel on the weekends like people in China do. See bund tourist video.)

Getting off the bus we had lunch, in a restaurant where many tourists groups reserved have lunch. The place was packed, and I got to see our tour guide argue with one of the restaurant’s staff. We only waited about 5 minutes, so maybe it worked… I was the only foreigner in the place, and was approached by two Chinese men who wanted to take a picture with me. Although this is very common for foreigners who live here, this was the first time I was stopped by a Chinese person and asked to take a picture. (I have noticed people taking pictures with their cell phones of me without asking though. The students are guilty of this the most.)

After lunch, I rented a bike for 10 RMB and rode around the lake with a group of students. Because of this I didn’t get to take a lot of pictures or stop and really see some of the sites, but it was a good trade off, because in the amount of time we had there, I still wouldn’t have had the chance to do it all anyway. Maybe next time I’ll take one of the boats on the lake.

Two hour bus ride back to campus… cab ride home…

Monday…

work @ 8am

Monday night…The Roots Concert!!!

I have seen the roots a few times in concert, but now I have finally seen my favorite group in concert in a foreign country. I always knew The Roots were more popular overseas than in the US , but on Monday night April 16th, I saw it.

The place was packed with about 90% foreigners (all under 35)

Everyone was standing about 90% of the time.

The show was really good, if you’ve never seen the roots live; please put it on your list of things to do. No matter what type of music you like. They do everything from jazz, to hip hop, to rock, to heavy metal. Good show, it was like a big party. And we had great seats… Balcony, Front row center. After the show I went down and got Tariq and Kamal’s signatures. Cool peeps.

Another interesting thing about the show (and simply just being in Shanghai), you are always surrounded by people from all around the world. At any given time you can hear any language, other than Chinese or English, being spoken around you. And an overwhelming amount of these foreigners who live here are all under 35. There’s definitely no place like this in the US .

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