An Un-Lost Day in Shanghai

The final batch of photos that were lost when one of my harddrives failed that i recovered for $1000.  Harddrive failure is real and will happen to you today or 10 years from now so be prepared!!!!

fast trains, but not bullet trains.  I rode on this one from Wuhan to Shanghai.  At Shanghai north station i called a few hotels.  Many of them were full and to my surprise a few of them said sorry no foreigners.  I finally found one, Jinjian Inn on 1331 Lujiabang road.  I called Kyou kaeri san and hyouyou san formerly from my japanese class in tokyo (don't know their chinese names) and we went to Tian Zi Fang to look around.   at Shanghai north station i called a few hotels.  many of them were full and to my surprise a few of them said sorry no foreigners.  i finally found one jinjian inn on 1331 Lujiabang road .  I called kyou kaeri san and hyouyou san formerly from my japanese class in tokyo (don't know their real chinese names) and we went to Tian Zi Fang to look around.  we wandered around some more somewhere and at sichuan food.  Then wondered where to go for drinks and ended up going back to my hotel for snacks and drinks.  Missing photos include a bunch of nice photos of them including one of them kissing (they are nice looking shanghai girls), and photos around Tian Zi Fang.  Now on to some photos!

if you're into wispy chinese fairies that look like they are 20 yr old 5th graders

who dat is?  Mao?

I lost my lens hood for my 24mm 1.4L  somewhere around here around this time.  Very poor design canon!!!! i knew this would happen some day.  it just twists right off and has no locking mechanism or anything.

Oh look its Kyou kaeri san and hyouyou san formerly from my japanese class in tokyo (don't know their chinese names) and we went to Tian Zi Fang to look around.

Tian Zi Fang is this area that reminds me of a compact Nan Luo Gu Xiang in Beijing.

Chinese Don Knots security

across the street from Tian Zhi Fang.

these two are like 21 now and have lots of their parents money so all their products are real, and real expensive.  

asked the taxi driver what this thing on the meter was and he told me and i didn't understand him at all.

Lots of Shanghai cleans up pretty nice.  Dinner time, they asked me what i wanted to eat and i said Shanghai food of course.  They said there wasn't really any.  I've already had tons of soup dumplings from Shanghai so in the end we ended up eating Sichuan food.  oh well.

Hyouyou san was this new girl in our japanese class one day and she always shy in class but smiled and laughed at me a lot.  Me and Marco asked her and others in our class to hang out and drink some beers every day including fridays but the answer was always no from everyone.  Me and Marco hated our class after about a month of this.  Finally one day she hung out with us and had a great time but ended up moving back to Shanghai shortly after that so that's her story.  And she was like 19 at the time.  I really don't get the Chinese kids in our class (80% are Chinese).  Kyou Kaeri san even eventually hung out with us too but that was after Marco short circuited and went back to Spain.

Yes!  too bad Marco didn't get any of this in Tokyo!

somewhere in Shanghai.  They asked me where i wanted to go.  I said i want to hang out somewhere where foreigners don't go.  they said there are foreigners everywhere and they you just get used to it.  Maybe i should be more accepting of foreigners not only because i am one but because that part of the identity of these cities.  But that doesn't mean i'm gonna like hanging out in Sanlitun, Roppongi, or Las Ramblas.  You can see the rest of this Shanghai trip and the rest of the asia trip in previous posts on this blog.  It was nice to be in Shanghai with friends this time around, which ultimately led to me liking shanghai instead of disliking it like i used to.  Well this is just the middle of the asia trip so i'm not going to write any conclusions, you'll have to check the last post of the asia trip for that overall conclusion, or the last shanghai post for a shanghai conclusion.  so now everything after this will be back in Paris.  Back up your data ya'll!!!!

forgot to post these stamps i got in hong kong.  the look pretty sweet.

I said i would start collecting stamps from the places I lived after seeing the cool ones in Hong Kong and then i get to singapore and this literally was the best looking stamp i could choose out of all of them.  My enthusiasm for stamps instantly dropped.  The Serangoon Reservoir?  Come on Singapore this is pretty weak!  When i went to the post office in paris they said they don't have any beautiful stamps.  I will have to try again because i can't believe france doesn't have any.

Yichang, Wuhan, and Everything Inbetween

More un-lost memories from my harddrive that died that i recovered for $1000.  After the 3 gorges dam we rode a bus to Yichang, the biggest city close to the dam.  from there there was supposed to be a dude to pick me up and take me to Wuhan (the biggest city in the region) by bus.  When i got off the bus it took a few minutes of me asking the tour guides what i was supposed to do and finally we figured it out.  a dude did escort me to the bus and this is where the awesomeness ensues.

how was i able to get this awesome picture of the bus driver while he was driving?

because i had to sit here in this seat that is not even supposed to be a seat!  I got on the bus, it was totally full except for 1 seat in the back.  i walked back there and the guys were laughing and saying that some old dude was sitting there.  I was like WTF wondering where the said old dude is and wanting to punch these gigglers out.  I get off the bus and see this old F!ck walking to the bus, the same old F!ck that asked questions on the tour all the time and was really slow and held us up all the time.  It was his g-damn seat.  that old F!ck was able to get me one last time.  I told the bus driver there were no more seats and he was shocked and went on the bus and came back and said, well, there is a seat, and then flipped down this thing.  I was amazed and also very angry and embarrassed at the same time because i was at the front of the bus for all to see how i had gotten the shortest end of all sticks.  sitting in this would most definitly be illegal in the US.  there isn't even a seat belt.  you are front and center right in front of the windshield to see the horrifying chinese driving up close and super personal.  you also get the awesome blast from the bus horn that the driver uses anytime anything comes within 30 feet of the bus.  that means when he passes cars, when cars pass him, or any other time he thinks vehicles need to know where he his (like an average of every 10 seconds).  If you've ever ridden a bus or any vehicle in china for that matter you know that they seriously honk all the time at everything.  a cloud in the sky? honk.  the sun?  honk.  honk? honk.  I had to put my super heavy bag up on the thing above my head.  if we crashed i would die from a combination of things.  that super heavy bag above my head might be one.  As you can see there is no where for my feet to go.  i had one foot on the top step while the other hung down into the stairwell cavity.  or i would use muscles in my foot and toes that i've never used to rest my foot on various tiny awkward surfaces for a few minutes.  It was a 5 hour bus ride to Wuhan.  Even if i could fall asleep and overcome the megaton bus horn that's mechanism is right in front of my face, or 120 degree super wide screen windshield view of all that dangerous driving in super HD 3D.  I still couldn't fall asleep because there was no seatbelt and i could just tumble right out the door at 80mph.  Now that i look at this pic i didn't even know where was a filthy CANCER covered mop and broom there.

just me up front chillin' with my man.  there was this dude that would come up to the front of the bus to smoke cigarettes and chat with the driver.  do you know where he sat whist doing this?  on the edge of my f!!!UUUKING seat!!!!!.  I wanted to knock him out for smoking on the bus and then taking what little precious space i had.  unbelieveable.

you can see how spacious this seat is.  my knees were pretty much jammed in there.  Also notice how the door is right there for me to fall out of at 80 miles an hr.

and to top it all off, to make it THE most awesome bus ride ever, they played "Flashpoint" a movie starring Donnie Yen that features realistic fighting and is supposed to be awesome.  I've wanted to see this movie for years and you can see that at the angle i was at i could see nothing.  All i could do was sit there and listen to the movie on blast but see nothing.  Is it really fair for the gods to throw this much of the black part of the yin yang at me in one go?  I know there needs to be a balance but i thought i still had some yin left from getting hit by a taxi and the London thing.

i'm pretty sure these inspection stickers in the window mean nothing

Protecting the environment, no littering

Do not drive tiredly

Sieet weather driving prudently.  The further we went the more incorrect the signs became.  This was a bad omen.  

Of course the day can get worse.  along the way once we got closer to Wuhan the bus driver kept letting people off.  it was like he was just taking requests from everyone.  This means by the time we got to Wuhan there were no more trains going to Shanghai so i had to find a hotel for the night.  Around every train station in china there are tons of guys trying to sell you stuff, get you a hotel room, etc... I plowed through these guys and tried to find a place to buy a phone recharge card.  i found one next to the station and the guy behind the counter asked me if i had a place to stay, I said no and this woman standing next to him showed me her hotel price list.  I thought, well at least this guy wasn't harrassing me on the street so maybe it will be ok.  I got her down to 100 rmb for the night ($15) too easily and we walked over to the hotel which was 5 min from the station (anything around train stations is usually pretty seedy i knew).  it looked like the shadiest street i've ever seen in china, or in my life for that matter.  whore houses, shady guys milling about, and it was a deadend street to boot.  the hotel was of course at the end of the dead end.   I had to argue again with them about the price.  then i told them i don't want to pay a deposit.  they agreed to it after i said i was just gonna leave.   I said i wanted to see the room first and she took me up there and it looked fine, except for the key was like a piece of plastic that you just stick in the door that didn't look like it could be a key at all.  it wasn't like a magnetic key card or something, more like a fischer price plastic block or something.  i was soooooo tired so after all that i said ok fine i'll take it.  She closed the door and asked me if i need a "xiao jie".  my brain processed what she was saying until i realized that she was asking me if i need a girl.  I was a little shocked and i said, who, you?  she laughed and said no not me, some other girls.  I said ohhhhhh, i don't know, but if i do i'll come find you.  I didn't want to say no because i didn't want them to get mad and come and mess me up if i flat out refused one of their hos.  I got really paranoid so i slid the mattress over in front of the door.  the bedframe couldn't move without making a ton of noise and my room was right about their office so i didn't want to draw any attention to my room so i just slid the mattress over.  that wasn't enough so i then stacked the TV and water boiling thing in there too so the door couldn't open in the middle of the night when they came to beat me up and take my stuff.  Was this enough to keep the door from opening?  how many guys would come for me?  Was I ready to kill someone?  On top of being paranoid and thinking i heard stuff there were mosquitoes so i didn't end up getting that much sleep in the 5 hrs before my train left.  I also miscalculated and the mattress def did not fit in the space between the bedframe and the wall as you can see.  why did i even remain here?  well because i was destroyed from the busride and the whole day and sooo tired that i said i would just take my chances.

rediculousness.  in the morning i went downstairs and the proprietor was sleeping on a cot in the lobby. i said hey dude hello hello i'm leaving now.  he picked up his head long enough to point to the counter suggesting that i leave the "key" that i was jingling in the air on it.  and that was it.  no room check or anything.  was i paranoid for nothing and these guys actually just don't give a sh!t?

the long distance train station in Wuhan.  Wuhan has 10 million people and is sometimes referred to as the Chicago of China.  It's another huge chinese city bigger than NYC.  I don't think there's anything here that you would want to be here for.  So i'm getting out of here ASAP

forgot why i took a pic of this chicken english muffin thing from mcdonalds besides that fact that it tasted horrible.  there must have been something really significant going on here cuz i usually don't put pics of sh!tty food on the blog.

leaving Wuhan station bound for shanghai.  turns out i didn't take the bullet train, but the train the next level down which only gets up to 230km/h instead of 270-300km/h like the bullet train.  that's still pretty fast.

along the way it suddenly became all white.  there was a while when it was way worse than in this photo and visibility was zero.  i don't think the elevation was that high that we were going through a cloud or that it was that early that it was super morning fog.  it was like a bootleg harry potter movie happening.  or a big asbestos cloud.  it was like this for like 20 minutes.  I am always weary of Chinese safety standards (and rightfully so).  So riding through a cloud with zero visibility at 230km/h for 20 minutes is a little disturbing.

the bullet train from wuhan to shanghai had a fatal accident in its first year of operation due to human error they say.  they tried to lie about it and the gov't tried to cover it up but peeps on the train were chinese twittering about it and it got out and then people lost confidence in the new super expensive chinese bullet train system.  way to go china.  so i wasn't too sad i didnt get to ride the bullet train from wuhan to shanghai and die.  i did ride it from shanghai back to beijing and didn't die.  you can see that experience and the hotter stewardesses in a previous post from when i posted it way back then.

passing through Nanjing.  Nanjing university is here.  but what probably most non chinese know it for is "the rape of nanjing (or nanking)"  where japanese people raped and murdered everything here in 1937 during the sin-japanese war.  This is one big reason why Chinese-Japanese relations are so bad even to this day.  Ok way to end this post on a nice note right?  So in this post you saw the worst bus ride and worst hotel experience ever in my life, and hopefully it stays that way.  did i deserve all that bad stuff and dark yang?  Maybe, i did have an awesome 2 months all over asia.  Well you can look forward to a fun filled post from Shanghai next.  I get my Ying back.  

Un-Lost Memories - The Magnificent 3 Gorges Dam

More pictures from the harddrive that I lost but was lucky enough to have recovered (at the price of $1000).  Excerpts from Wikipedia about the 3 Gorges Dam:

The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River located in YichangHubei province, China. The Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW) but is second to Itaipu Dam with regard to the generation of electricity annually.[3]  It was completed and fully functional as of July 4, 2012, the dam body was completed in 2006. As well as producing electricity, the dam is intended to increase the Yangtze River's shipping capacity and reduce the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space. The Chinese government regards the project as a historic engineering, social and economic success,[9] with the design of state-of-the-art large turbines,[10] and a move toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions.[11] However, the dam flooded archaeological and cultural sites and displaced some 1.3 million people, and is causing significant ecological changes, including an increased risk of landslides.[12] The dam has been a controversial topic both domestically and abroad.[13]

on that bus from the last photo in the last post.  chinese construction.

the good earth.

we had to go through this security check to get onto the facility.  On the bus they told us no knives and other stuff that i didn't understand and people started pulling out all this stuff from their person to leave on the bus.

it's pretty immense.  Oh and did i add pretty ugly?

we would later cross that bridge back there on yet another bus ride and see an import sports car that was crashed around the bend.  Those silly Chinese and their new money.

if you're into this kind of thing you can see the macro setup of it all.  Looks like the hydroelectric dam part up there and the cargo ship locks on the bottom.

actually i'm sad that our tour group didn't make us wear matching hats.  I would be rockin' it from time to time and rockin' hearts.

so happy.  i would be too if i was wearing such a beautiful hat and my sunday best whilst strolling with my parasol and touring the grounds of my nation's grandiose waterworks project and surrounding gardens

is this what happens when the chain of bootlegging by non english speakers gets too long and one little spelling error gets bootlegged ontop of a previous spelling error and you go from bootlegging "Louis Vuitton" to making bags that say "Louie Catton"?

that mystery tea i bought

the dam part that we had to take another bus to get to.

this dude successfully prevented me from getting a photo of their awesome photo service....for now

but i got it later anyway.  dude had good right to not want photos taken of their amazing novelty photo operation.  because i might want to steal their technology for making people look like they really are there in front of the dam with very realistic lighting and a classy looking column.  He also probs didn't want me to photograph the awesome archival quality of their authentic archival durabrite Epson inks that don't fade for up to 75 years (and that definitly wouldn't turn green).  this photo booth is like 10 feet from the actual location of the photo!!! why don't they just take a real photo instead of using their advanced technology to superimpose people onto the scene like they were there, when they really were there!  F U dude.  I even said that too him.  I know, I am a badass saying insulting things to people in english that don't speak english and probs don't know i'm insulting them.  

There goes ships full of your Dre Beats headphones, Blackberries, Nikes, and Disney products.  I hope you're happy

this girl/woman on the bus was p!ssed the whole day.  When we went to places, she stayed on the bus.  I'm guessing since it was balls hot outside it eventually got super gorilla balls hot on the bus so she probs spent most of the day looking p!ssed and smoking lots of cigarettes somewhere in the vicinity of the bus.  she sat across from me on the back of the bus.  who or what and why was she so peeved?

the biggest dump i've ever seen.  Interpret that how you want with everything that's happening in this photo.

yes!  i love when i capture these beauties.  this guy later would later walk up to me and say "how much"? in chinese.  I was like huh?  he was talking about my camera.  I told him and he turned around to his friend and was like see that's a good camera but I want the new one (the mark III).  That's how things work in China.  if i was chinese i would know right away when he walked up to me and said "how much" what he was talking about and wouldn't think it was rude or anything.  You know, it's kind of refreshing when i'm in china because you can dispense with all pleasantries and just get down to what you want to know, or want, or want to go.  and you can just sh!t right there if you wanted to.  Also in the background I can see this youngish woman and her mother who had the cabin across from me on the boat.  Later on they saw me and were calling me "shuai ge", which means hottie or handsome guy.  hahahaha.  i swear its the hair you guys, cuz if you've seen my face its def not that....

more beautes.  and for people that think i'm being racist or too mean in this post, i would do and say the same if i was on an organized tour in america, because i'm sure there would be tons of beautes on that tour too.

these lotus filled cake things were sweetballs.

more on the subject of Chinese people disposing of the pleasantries, if they find something curious, they will walk right up to it (closer than what americans would think was their bubble) and stare until they are uninterested.  Which was the case with this guy and every person on our tour bus and all the others.

F U dude, I wish a mother lover would.  

I had already eaten so many little things along the way that by the time i got to this delicious looking gauntlet of food i couldn't eat any more.  

I was up there by the locks taking a photo of this bridge remember?

I'm sorry that you have to see this but you don't believe me about the disgusting woman's foot styles that exist in China (i've just totally disregarded the men's shoes cuz that's just too lost of a cause to even mention).  say what you will about the shoes, but here are the ubiquitous semi flesh colored hosiery calf socks (flesh colored if you were 90 and about to die and or really dirty).  oh sh!t as i was writing this i inspected further and noticed that they are stirrups!!! (like 80's aerobics tights at the bottom where your heel and toes are sticking out for those that don't know stirrups).  semi flesh colored hosiery stirrup calf socks!  oh man they keep inventing the wheel of grossness!  amazeballs.  Ok so apart from my badmouthing this and that it was an ok second half of a day.  For those that do this, if you have the option to, you can skip the 3 gorges dam unless you are really into this kind of stuff.  It's a lot of concrete and tourist trap stuff and a waste of half a day in my opinion.  Chances are your tour will take you here, especially cuz they get a kickback or something, or some system that i can't even comprehend.  So overall the Yangtze river cruise was awesome.  I travelled solo and it was a rewarding experience.  I recommend this cruise if you are spending a more than normal amount of time in china and have done beijing, shanghai, hong kong, and all the bigger attractions.  Well now its time to take another bus to Yichang where i will then take the most awesome bus ride of my life to Wuhan.  See you on the bus in the next post!