Sunday, March 7, 2010

First Weekend

Friday night I went out to dinner with this guy I met on Craig's List (I know, I know, keep reading). I emailed him about a unit he was renting out and In the course of our correspondence it came up that he lived in Fairbanks for three years, and also spent time as resident artist in some tiny school out in the Aleutians. How often do you get to meet a fellow Alaskan in Shanghai? 

He took me to dinner at this artsy Shanghai-cuisine place in the French Concession. The restaurant isn't marked from the street. We walked upstairs and there's a wall with nine illuminated circles, aligned like a telephone key pad. When you make a reservation at this place they give you a number. For us, the number was "57" and you touch the yellow circles (in spaces 5 and 7) and then this big metal door slides away, revealing the restaurant. Like it's a secret or something. How annoying. But the food was good.

After dinner I taxied over to a Haiti benefit concert with my temporary roomies. The audience was probably 80% foreign. There were six bands playing. One was a local reggae band fronted by a British guy and their last song had the chorus: "women dou shi laowai," Chinese for 'we're all foreigners.' How's that for multiculturalism.

Saturday was more home-hunting. And then the guy who took me to dinner Friday night invited me to his home for a dinner party. I was a bit nervous about going, but it turned out pretty interesting. This guy lives in this beautiful refurbished home in the French Concession. All the furniture is art deco. The guests included a wine salesman, a movie producer, an actress, a professor, a lady with an LED company and an architect. But not like a my- mom-style architect. This guy had circular tinted glasses, a metal pendant and a sweater with a skull pattern knit into it. A cool architect. Sorry, mom. 

We ate salmon steaks and drank bourbon. First week in China, I've never felt so bourgeois. 

Then I taxied over to a soft-open party for a new bar (the girl I'm staying with was tending bar). I had a Carlsberg and the most delicious bar peanuts ever. And I talked to this French guy who said funny things like, "I fell een love wizz zee Shanghaiese girl. But shee only wanted sex, so my heart iz broke." Okay, not very funny. But the accent...

Busy weekend. Busy week ahead.

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