China’s not going to explore itself, so let’s check it out!
The first stop on today’s magical mystery tour through Shanghai was the Yu Garden, which is a sort of ancient temple place filled with trees and lakes and artifacts and half the population of Tokyo wandering around taking photos. I sauntered up there, but as I waited to cross the road outside, a snappily-dressed Chinaman came over and said G’day. Well, not G’day, but hello. This is Shanghai, not fucken Birdsville, remember.
He told me he was 56 and a teacher, and because he looked pretty fit and probably knows kung fu, I’ll call him Jackie Chan. Jackie told me a bit about the temple, then said he’d show me the entrance to the gardens. Only Jackie wanted to go for tea first. Now I don’t drink tea at the best of times, and certainly not with old Chinese men wearing white slacks pulled up to their nipples, but that’s not the reason I didn’t go – the tea house scam is as old as the Pope’s virginity. A well-presented dude or dudette walks up, starts a convo, and somehow gets you into a tea house for a drink. After a glass or two they say they’ve gotta go for a slash (or a srash) and bugger off, leaving you with the bill.
Ah, but tea’s cheap as shit, right? What’s a couple of bucks in return for a few minutes of staring into the eyes of a handsome Chinese cheapskate? The people from the tea house are in on the scam, and present you with a bill for couple of hundred bucks, saying you ordered special tea. Refuse to pay and a couple of happy-go-lucky Chinamen will come along with swords and threaten to seperate your doodle from your nutsack unless you cough up.
So, as nice as it would’ve been to have sipped green tea with Jackie Chan while listening to stories of his life in Shanghai and secretly wondering what he’d look like naked thrusting his penis into a microwave-warmed pineapple, I’m glad I didn’t go with him. It would’ve been the worst date I’ve had since I went out with that girl who turned out to be a midget, but who refused to root me and thus fulfill my fantasy of rooting a midget.
Yu Garden? Nice enough. Very gardeny. Was sick to shit of it by the end and very happy to escape and get something to eat in a mega-busy shopping area just outside the doors.
And what a meal it was! Spring rolls… uh, something that looked like potato gems on a stick… and some sort of deep fried animal that could’ve honestly been anything. Hippopotamus foetus, perhaps? I can’t be sure, so I’ll cross it off the bucket list just in case.
Back up to the river and the massage-spruikers had been replaced by an arseload of tourists. I grabbed a couple of beers from a convenience store, slugged two, then cracked the third and got on a ferry to the other side. There’s something so awesome about brazenly drinking beer in public. It’s probably just that it’s almost impossible to do back in Australia because wowsers are everywhere, but it’s grouse. Got off at the other side and followed the throngs towards the Oriental Pearl Tower, which looks like a gigantic deformed turnip.
A few more beers and I was on my way to the top. Well, more like the middle, where the observation deck is. Dunno how high it is and can’t be stuffed looking it up, so let’s just say it’s 207 Daryl Somers’ high. Can you imagine that, 207 Daryls all stacked up on each other? It would either be the greatest or the worst thing ever… and very, very sexy.
But I’m not here to talk about Daryl Somers – I’ll save that for my next holiday, where I will explore every centimetre of Daryl’s glorious body with my tongue. The Tower gave a good view over a city that stretched to the horizon in all directions. There were people and cars absolutely everywhere, and a thick cloud of smog strangled the whole place. Shanghai’s not a beautiful city by any stretch of the imagination – impressive, certainly, but not attractive. Apart from the beautiful European-style buildings that the French and English built a century ago, and a handful of truly jaw-dropping modern skyscrapers, the rest are ugly and functional. Cheap, nasty towers thrown up to house a bulging population attracted to the opportunities of the biggest city in the world.
Another 80 metres up is the Space Needle, which I call the Space Noodle, and which is actually called something else entirely. It was exactly the same as the floor below, only smaller and 80m high, so I was upset about coughing up the extra $10 to see it.
Back down to the main observation deck, and on the way out of it was another level where the floor was SEE-THROUGH AS FUCK. Like, I’m just standing there and looking straight down at a drop of 207 Daryls. It was kinda like being on the glass table at Don Lane’s place, only no-one pooped on me.
Needless to say, the Chinese and Japanese tourists went absolutely bananas, like they couldn’t grasp what was happening. They were clinging onto each other and screaming, so I got out of there before someone screamed so loud they shattered the plastic floor and send me plummeting to my doom.
Feeling hungry from eating sweet fuck all in the last two days, I strolled along until I found a place that sold the authentic Chinese meal of potatoes stuffed with meatballs. Hell. Fucking. Yes. And oh, it was glorious! Sure, I reckon it brought my first heart attack forward by about six months, but I’d only spend that half-year wanking and dancing in my bedroom to old Dannii Minogue songs anyway, so I figure it was worth it.
Full of spud (no, I don’t mean Mark Carroll) I headed back across the river on the ferry, snapped some more photos of The Bund, and then headed back to the hotel. The long way, of course, due to getting horrendously lost again (I blame the shithouse map I was using).
After almost getting mugged by an old lady in a dark alley, almost having my camera stolen by another scammer, and ended up settling for a packet of fish-flavoured chips and a bottle of lukewarm tea (Jackie would be proud!) for dinner.
It’s all high quality when Row Row goes a-go-go.
Originally written April 28, 2012. I think Gillard was running Australia back then, fuck that.