Having again woken up very early in the morning, I spent a little bit of time staring at the ceiling disappointed that I was not making any amount of headway with regards to my jet lag. When I finally did get out of bed, I was pleased to discover that visibility was more than 20 feet. In fact, as far as Shanghai is concerned it was actually pretty good; I could see all the way to the Huangpu. Well, the important buildings that line it on the Puxi side, at least.
Seeing as how it was early, Evan and I decided to take a walk around the French concession, a method of seeing the sites, getting one’s bearings (good luck) and possibly finding food. The last goal was, as is common in China, the easiest to accomplish. It turns out there’s a guy less than a block away who makes shengjianbao; at 3 kuai for four, I felt a little ripped off but I didn’t really want to argue enough to get the chinese people price. I then felt a little more ripped off because, by my standards, I didn’t think they were all that great. The ones I used to get in Hongqiao seemed better in my memory, which made me bitter. That and the scalding hot interior exploding onto the street (not my shirt, this time!) and melting my tongue.
The walk took us down to Huai hai lu, right around the BA BA BA area, where we turned around and walked back. After taking a detour by the consulate, we stopped into the library to watch the robots retrieve and return books. Really. The tour ended up with us getting a little lost south of fuxing lu, but, the French Concession being fairly easy to navigate despite some of its off-axis streets, finding our way home was not difficult. It was barely 10 AM.
At 2, we headed off to the AMCHAM fourth of july ceremony, which was situated in a nice park on the bank of the Suzhou creek. There was lots of green space and plenty of shade, which turned out to be very important because it was very hot. Luckily, there were free budweisers and scads of different food offerings, so it was easy to keep entertained while people gave speeches and my parents lost in a three-legged race. Evan got a massage, and the poor chinese guy had to pull out a stool to get the leverage necessary to dig into his lower back.
After having sweated out and eaten our fill, we headed back home and watched the news about the 90th anniversary of the communist party. The national news consisted of reports that various ranking members of the CCP agreed with Hu Jintao’s speech and recommended that chinese citizens study said speech carefully. At the very end, about 15 seconds of airtime were devoted to discussing a very long bridge in Shandong.
Evan and I , in the interests of defeating jetlag by not crashing at 7:30, hopped on bikes and rode down to the Bund. The visibility was much better this time around, and as an added bonus, in honor of the 90th anniversary, all the lights on all the buildings were on. This gave the impression of some kind of tropical chinese christmas, and all the people clogging up the Bund walkway buttressed that impression. I, naturally, jumped into several people’s pictures. I jumped into one with a baby and ended up being snared into taking several more, as more and more children flooded into the tableau for the opportunity to get into a picture with the smaller white dude and the giant white dude. We barely escaped with our lives.