Monday, January 10, 2005


Last night I stayed up till early morning at the net cafe across the street working on installing a "Shanghai Wiki" at The project is almost done, I'm having some issues getting the virtual host set up correctly. The point is that I slept in very late today.

So I though it would be a mostly wasted Sunday. I cleaned the house a bit, put away dry dishes, washed a fresh load of dirty dishes, admired the view from my balcony as the sun went down and I thought about things, cleaned the filters on my air conditioner... finally I got myself bundled up and outside, down the elevator and up the street to the shopping center where I got my hair cut last time. As I settled into the chair for the pre-cut shampoo and head-thumping session ("massage"), my ears alerted my head that the shop sound system was playing a Eurodance mix.

For most Americans, Eurodance is something foreign and funny; for me, it was my childhood, spent tuning in to 40 Principales on the little red plastic "stereo" that my parents gave me one Christmas. During the course of my haircut, I heard two songs that took me back—Aaron would probably recognize them—one being something along the lines of "Vamos a la playa, oo-oo-ó!", and the other being Culture Beat's Mr Vain:

Call me Raider, call me Wrong,
Call me insane, call me Mr Vain,
Call me what ya like,
As long as you call me, time and again

Yeeeeah. Like I was telling Asa at dinner tonight, there are just so many different things about China that remind me of Spain.

Someday I'm going to write a post about Shanghai barbershops, like John's post today about real estate offices.

As the guy finished up my new 'do, I got a message from Asa inviting me to hang out with him tonight. He got an invite from the Cold Fairyland folks to hang out at the Ark and check out a band visiting from Taiwan. So we met up a little early and had dinner, Korean, at a food court off Huaihai Road, then met up with Lin Di and the cohort at the Ark. The Herb opened, and they're always worth sticking around for. But we left halfway through the Taiwanese band. Asa pointed out their groupies—read "girlfriends"—sitting over by the stage: very fashionably dressed Taiwanese.

Anyhow, we headed over to this little restaurant a block or so away from Xintiandi and ate, discussed MIDI equipment, and played drinking games for a couple of hours. The sound guy from the Ark even showed up after the show ended, rounding out the group at eight and leading into some new games. It was a great night, Lin Di is very cool, it was the first time in Shanghai that somebody has insisted that we order a Sprite when I told them I don't like to drink beer, even taking the cup of beer away that had already been poured for me. Maybe it seems silly, but it meant a lot to me. (pic 1, pic 2)

I'd like to write down the games that I've played in Shanghai, at parties and drinking, just for future reference. They've all been pretty fun.

  • Who, Where, What:

    Three bowls, lots of slips of paper. Everybody writes their name, a place nearby, and a thing to do. Each slip goes into a bowl. Then each person draws three papers, and the person on the first slip has to do the thing on the second slip at the place on the third slip. It's a good ice-breaker for parties where people don't really know each other, as well as among friends.

  • Eat Poop You Cat:

    John introduced us to this one. It is described on its own website.

  • Mafia:

    Rather complicated, it involved choosing a policeman, one/two/three killers, everybody closing their eyes, somebody being killed, and then accusations and defenses, and voting for people to die.

  • Card pyramid:

    Played at John's Christmas party. A pyramid of face-down cards is built four levels tall, cards are dealt to players, and then challenges are made regarding who has what cards based on what cards show up ont he pyramid. Drinks are based on challenges, and location in the pyramid.

  • 3, 6, 9, x3:

    Going around the table, count up to one hundred but hit the table instead of saying the number on each number containing 3, 6, or 9, or that is a multiple of 3. Mistakes take one drink, and start again within the decade where the mistake was made. We also played a '7, x7' version where somebody pounded a quick beat and players had to keep up the pace. Most of us actually used chopsticks to hit the table.

  • Follow the Beat:

    The Cold Fairyland drummer lead this one. One player is the leader, and pounds out a rhythm with his chopsticks on a bowl/the table, and each successive player has to pound out the same beat, keeping up the rhythm. Too slow or mess up and you take a drink, and are eliminated. Last two players are the winners (since the leader can't really be eliminated).

Also, at the Ark I picked up a copy of this magazine I've been wanting for a while now, called "生活在上HIGH", or "Living in ShangHIGH". It's an all-Chinese free magazine, a la That's Shanghai, with restaurant and event listings but with more articles. Mian Mian actually mentions it in her book Panda Sex, and Vivien had several copies at her house when I went over for Christmas. It's free for the taking.

Tomorrow I teach at Hailida in the morning, Shili in the afternoon, then I go straight to dance class for the first session of the new month (samba!) with Zoe, a co-worker who is interested in dance classes. Then there's the chance I'll go out dancing that night with Lisa and Jodi. Could be a long day!


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