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Day 113 – Shanghai in The Rain

June 24, 2010

Datline: Shanghai, China – Thursday, June 24, 2010

It’s raining in Shanghai. I walked off the train and out into a light shower. I called three hostels. All full. The fourth had a bed in a four-person dorm room and I snapped it up. No sense in spending my night outside, which is what I’d rather do than spend $100 on a Western-style hotel.

I got in to the hostel, secured my bag and my locker, and proceeded to sleep. And write. And e-mail. And wait out the rain, which never stopped.

In the end, I walked in an evening drizzle around People’s Square, snapping a couple of pictures in the rain until my lens started getting wet. Dinner was a food court in a nearby high end mall. Shanghai may be one of the more expensive cities in Asia, but mall food courts are still the best place for quick, good quality, cheap eats.

Afterwards, I met Beatrice and Lindsey for drinks. The rain had put a damper on the day’s activities and the walk to the restaurant was no exception. I was in the French Concession neighborhood, a part of town known for its unique architecture because of the French community that used to populate the area. I couldn’t see much though because it was dark and I was trying to keep water out of my eyes.

They hadn’t finished their meal so I ended up crashing their little party. There I met Andrea (a med student finishing a rotation in Shanghai) and Bri (an ex-pat doctor and hospital executive).

We moved on from the French tapas restaurant (I didn’t know they did tapas either) to an Italian place to meet a few more people. Our two waiters were Filipino. One was over six feet, but surprisingly soft spoken for someone of his stature. They were working on a contract and would be heading back home in a year or so. I got to practice my Tagalog. We talked about what any good Filipino guy can talk about: NBA basketball (Lakers!) and Manny Pacquiao (Mayweather is scared!).

From there, a place called Zapatas that seemed to be filled mostly with South Americans dancing to reggaeton and cumbia style music. A few hip hop tunes were thrown in to keep us commoners happy. The party didn’t really kick off until around 2 a.m., but Beatrice decided to hit another place. Turned out to be closed, so we ended up calling it a night.

Party starting at 2 a.m.? I’m telling you, this is the part of China they don’t tell you about. Late nights even midweek. No afterhours places because any place can be an afterhours place so long as there’s money to be made.

I’ve only got a week left in China, but if this pace keeps up it might break me. Good times.

GALLERY: Click through to see a couple of bonus pics of buildings in the rain and a close up of a cat on a computer.

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