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Day 3 Shanghai

June 1, 2011
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May 29, 2011

Third day in Shanghai

Return of the chuanshuozhong de [legendary] Yang!! Hopped off the train at People’s Square about noon and met Yang, who met Joy, who met Yang. In Shanghai! Who knew we’d meet again so soon, in smoggy Shanghai where Yang, returning triumphantly from Japan, was assumed to speak Japanese as an interviewee? Or that (by a no-English interviewer) interviewed-in-Chinese Yang would get the job?

Not lawyering on Sundays Yang and we came up into the sun at Chenghuangmiao and surfed a human sea through tawdry jewelry shops in faux old China buildings (external elevators kinda give it away). Just short of the tourist trap teahouse on the water (where people snake by on stone bridges) we entered a packed place for the real xiaolongbao [little bamboo steam pot meat soup pastries?]. Got our tokens and stood by a table till its occupants left and claimed our seats by a window watching tourists stream below. The waitress set the xiaolong [little bamboo steam pots] on our table, and Yang taught us that crab is a cold food, and ginger hot, so we mix ginger strips in vinegar and dip the xiaolongbao. Take a tiny bite, suck out the soup, eat it up. How do they get that soup in there?! (Not injections!) Straw-sipped the soup out of xihuangtangbao [crab egg? soup pastries]
in bamboo cups. Yang grabbed us some wuxiangdou [five-flavor beans] and we munched on over to a second shop for jianjiao [yakigyôza] (full of meat and still crunchy celery), shengjian (again), mochi strips and pork rib. Snaked across the stone bridges and wandered back to the subway, wound up in Pudong.

Walked over traffic on a footbridge circling beneath the towers of Pudong and escalatored up to eat froyo at the top floor of the mall. Some nasty water spilled out by the movie theater (probably tears of the crowd that watched Thor). From the polished black basement of the Shanghai World Financial Center (?), entered a space-age elevator that shot up to the 97th floor. Saw Shanghai from the (hazy) air and walked on glass in the 100th floor mirror hallway. Sunset. Wrote postcards to home from the world’s highest observatory. Wrote some Chinese. The guy behind the counter started, “他写中文!” and read out loud, “我… 喜…” (不合逻辑). After an ear-popping descent, we trekked back to the subway.

Yang, from 柳州 Liuzhou, lives in Shanghai off Liuzhou Road. On Yang’s stomping grounds we ate Cantonese in a place Yang tried three times in one week. Beef curry with bread and sautéed garlic greens with seafood rice porridge, and frog. A waitress with an electric swatter zapped some flies. We tore up the crabs and shrimp, beef, frogs and toasted Suntory beers to my 21st birthday.

“I wonder where you guys will meet next?”

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