Monday, January 23, 2006

Shanghai: Day 4

Today we headed to the French Concession. If I were to write Zhou Enlai a letter, I would write the following:

Dear Zhou Enlai,

You are a bourgeois hypocrite. I went to your Shanghai residence today. You and your comrades should have never claimed to be uplifting the proletariat. Your beds were nicer than the one in my dorm. They were softer. I poked it to check. And that porch of yours? Oh man. When the KMT was spying on your activities from across the street, I bet they were calling you a hypocrite, too.

With a red star on my heart and lots of love,

Ding Mei

We went to the Shanghai residence of Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan) today, too. These guys had really nice places. It was all western architecture, and they had very nice gardens. It was fun for me to go see the places where some political figures I've read alot about lived. That made them a little more real and less like characters in an oddly written novel.

Before the French Concession, we went to Suzhou Creek, an art district. I wish the works I saw would have had accompanying statements. Sure, it's nice to look at a piece completely on your own, but it's also nice to know what the artist's intent is/was with the piece. I wondered if some of them had intent. A statement would have been nice.

We walked into one studio today called Deconstructionist Art, and that place was pretty entertaining. The artist was there, because he works and sleeps there. He had long, shaggy hair, and wore pants with an elastic waist slightly above his navel. He looked like he wanted to talk to us, but he didn't at first because he was busy with these three students from another city in China who were asking him questions. Eventually, I was the only one from our five person group in the room with him, and he said hello in Chinese. I replied in Chinese, and that broke the ice a bit. He invited me to sit, and we talked for a few minutes. That was cool. I like being able to speak Chinese. I still speak really badly, but now people understand me and I understand them. I'll take any progress I can get.

So jumping back ahead, on our way to find a cab from the French Concession, we passed a little park where there were alot of children and two dogs. One dog was normal Chinese dog sized (about the length of your foot to your knee, and three-fourths of that for the height), but the other was the size of my hand. I couldn't tell what it was from far away. Gene's dad walked over there, so I followed him because I wanted to pet the dogs.

I crouched down, and the little dog came bounding over. It looked like a really small baby lamb, but it didn't hop, so I knew it was a dog. I put my hand out, and it crawled into it. I couldn't believe how small it was. The little kids who had been playing with it came over and started talking about it. Haha, this story doesn't have a point. I was just overwhelmed by the cuteness of the situation. I'll post a picture and possibly a video of the dog.

For dinner tonight, we went to a restaurant called Gong De Lin (or Godly, in English), located at 445 Nanjing Xi Lu, which is a vegetarian restaurant that has been in place since the 1920s. Everything there is vegetarian. I was amazed. They call the dishes by the names of the meat dishes they're mimicking, so I was a little wary at first, but everyone assured me that there was no meat at all. The food was delicious. If you're in Shanghai, I suggest going. It has a very nice interior, and a lovely shrine to Buddha. The incense burning inside has a very pleasant scent, too.

While alot of Shanghai doesn't feel like China to me, I still really like it as a city. It's quite lovely.

Welcome to the revolution of blogging. Here is the video of the tiny puppy.


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