China Diary:
Dance Fever


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]


Nov. 9: Rockin – As I head to the shack for lunch, there’s a truckload of wooden chairs outside my place. I inquire about the rocker, and he asks around $35 for it. After haggling a bit, I tell him I’m going to lunch and when I return he can give me his best price. The shack is a little place run by a grandfather, two daughters, son-in-law. There is also a five-year-old girl, and I bring her a coloring book of kids from around the world. As I leave, the truckload of chairs is outside and we quibble some more finally settling on about $18. He seems happy, and I bring my chair home and tighten the screws before putting it on the balcony. Outside, I write some letters of recommendation for Fenwick and do some other odds and ends including booking my return flight in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve. But you know the routine by now: by 4:00 I put on my shorts, t-shirt, sweat socks, and high-tops. For dinner I go downtown but instead of eating I try the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe. As people pile out I run into my friend Shigeo, the general manager for the Matsushita joint venture in Shanghai, and several of his Japanese co-workers visiting from Yokohama. We cross the street for drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe (I actually get late dinner). By 10:30 to house band plays, we start to dance, and (well, you know the routine by now) the band calls me on stage to sing back up for "I Feel Good."

Nov. 10-12: I Feel Bad – I am flat on my back with a sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. I still cover my classes, but otherwise try to sleep, drink hot tea and cold juice, smear on some VapoRub, soak in the tub, and go through boxes of tissues. Fenwick comes by to take me to get some antihistamines and a jar of "Pei Pa Koa," an over-the-counter folk remedy containing natural herbs, loquat, and honey extracts that has been around for centuries. Herbal medicines (zhong yao) are holistic and known for having few side effects. Later Wednesday evening Jackie and Amy stop by. By Thursday afternoon I get caught up on my laundry and ironing and go to the shack for some hot and sour soup. I return to rockin’ on the balcony.

Nov. 13: Clip Joint – Although it’s Friday the Thirteenth, I decide it’s time to get my hair cut. China has some interesting barbers who serve dual purposes as indicated by the red and white poles outside their shops. They typically offer a massage, and at night often propose a bit more. But it’s just after lunch and besides I have my dictionary so I take a chance. Down the street is a shop with four women waiting for customers, and I am the only one to enter. Coming off my cold, I still sweat profusely and my barber giggles; she must think I’m nervous about the haircut, which turns out to be quick, efficient, and cheap with some sign language spoken. Anyway, I skip the massage this time.

Nov. 14: Marine Corps Ball – Tonight is the big social event for Shanghai, the 223rd birthday bash. U.S. embassies and consulates around the world sponsor this black tie in honor of their military guards. Very ceremonial. I have my new suit, and I meet many expatriates both working for the foreign service and for joint ventures. It rocks ’round the clock.

Nov. 15: "Gung-Ho" – Sunday is Movie Nite for my International Business class, and I show them this culture-clash comedy which highlights the dilemmas of a go-between for American auto workers and their Japanese factory owners. I hope to use it to discuss human resource management later in the week. I also invite a couple of friends to view the film. Afterward, we head for Mr. Pizza for some brew and pies where there is no cross-cultural clash.


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]

Rainbow

Copyright 1998 Paul Miesing. All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission unless in the People’s Republic of China which does not enforce intellectual property rights. Revised on January 17, 2001.