Labor day weekend in China fell in the last week of April and into the first week of May. I took a long weekend and headed up to Shanghai where Emile would be for a week working for the Asian X games. I was definitely excited to get back to Shanghai for a new perspective and also see an old friend on the other side of the world.
I showed up mid day and almost immediately met up with Emile and some of his friends. We caught up over beers and then headed downtown to an art party. Free beer and skate art, I could have been on lower Haight and would not have even noticed the difference. I met a lot of great people from different parts of the world as we mingled and drank beer until the kegs ran dry.
The rest of the night ran rather mellow and smooth minus the free shots that kept being pushed in our hands as we played dice for 1 quay RMB and ate various western finger foods at a bar called windows.
The next day as Emile went off to work I headed out to old town. I had missed so much last time around because of my decision to attend the world expo so I decided to at least knock a few sights off my list.
A garden of the Ming style design this garden is a beautiful oasis in the heart of china’s second largest city. Filled with pavilions and delicate walkways I spent my time looking for a quiet place to pass the time in the cool shade.
One can also rent traditional Ming style dress and have their picture taken within the garden walls. There is a collection of exotic trees and flowers which fill the garden and fill the air with a constant perfumed aroma.
Just outside the garden lies Old Town which is built of traditional chinese architecture filled with an array of Bazaar’s filled with souvenirs and nic-nac’s.
Although the shops are not filled with treasure by nay means the buildings themselves are worth the sight and time. Within this maze of buildings there is also a plethora of tea houses and the very famous dumpling house where the line wraps around the block for some street dumplings.
Our second evening brought us to the Muslim noodle restaurant where the staff was delighted that this crew came every year to feast upon their dishes. I got to meet more of the staff and co-workers of Emile’s and some of the competitors. It’s always such a pleasure to meet such pleasant people from around the world. Sometimes it makes me wonder why Americans are such assholes. The event brought people from as far as South America and there was a variety of visitors from all over Asia.
Still a little slow from the previous night we slowly headed out to begin our night on the town. First stop was the converse warehouse where a ramp and BBQ and free beer awaited us. We drank from small sippy cups that dentists serve fluoride in in the states and watched the young and old politely take turns on the ramp.
Next stop i-bar, or as it had been better named by Matt, “Hot Tub Time Machine” bar. The three boys and I headed in totally under dressed and way too early for any sort of party to have started. The drinks were pricey the crowd was grumpy but I enjoyed staring down the adorable bar tender who was probably 17.
My last day I spent at the games for the finals of the mini-mega ramp competition. This was all new to me, I am not really in the loop of extreme sports but it may have been one of the most exciting events I had ever seen.
Although much smaller than the ramp in the US, it definitely was no less easier to accomplish. Consisting of three parts, the ramp begins with a 25 ft. roll in which is used to give speed for the rest of the obstacles. Next comes the gap jump where the athletes attempt a trick over the gap and hope to land on the landing section which then leads into a quarter pipe.
After the event and another fill up of noodles we headed out shopping to the very large market of shit. Anything from knock offs of clothing, shoes, software and other devices it was not my ideal shopping palace but it was still fun to wander around watch the magic of bargaining. We all stocked up on goodies of sorts from knock off wallets to computer software to other random items.
The summary of the weekend was catching up with old friends, meeting new friends, drinking unknown amounts of beer and Muslim noodles, sport spectating and planning my new business “Stinky’s”. (I would go into but I don’t want you to steal my brilliant ideas)