So... I'm currently in Taupo, still a little dazed after my 15,000 ft. Skydive yesterday.
But that's another story for another time (pretty damn soon, I promise) because I'm gonna retrospectively write about my second day in Shanghai!
Day 2 in shnaghai started far too early after a failed attempt to watch the Netherlands vs. uruguay match in a cool Blues bar. We had just eaten at a Chinese restaurant that had been desperate to close, but after this initial blip they changed their tune and turned the cookers back on. Some sort of Miso sauce drizzled over sliced aubergine was just incredible and alongside that was a tasty beef dish. All this came with some rather skillfully nuked rice, and we (Ollie & I) left thanking our luck that the owners had eventually let us in at 1 am!
To be honest, all that I remember of the football was Van Bornckhorst's screamer, after 5 minutes of nursing a pint of Erdinger (my new beer obsession!) and having to resort to having a coke as well to perk me up. EPIC FAIL. My next memory was half time! So we called it quits and stumbled all of 10m to the hostel.
Shanghai IS as humid as everyone tells you. Melting weather. The heat saw me resort to wearing vest tops throughout my stay there, a funny sight indeed. Having always seen vests tops as rightfully only for guys with huge arms, this was a major concession. I was still laughing at myself everytime I caught my reflection! However it is the closest thing to not wearing a shirt, and even with these ridiculous tops on the heat was insane.
We headed to the Expo. After a tip-off from a chatty Aussie in a frankly ridiculous American Diner: Route 66, which provided us breakfast (of sorts) and live entertainment (an overly keen Elvis impersonator) we decided that against all British tradition that we would no longer queue.
Claims of foreign links to persuade the people manning VIP entry to the pavillions we lucked out pretty quickly. Admittedly our first few didn't really care a jot (Oztralia obliged with little hassle after I claimed that I would be travelling to Oz tomorrow - half true due to my stopover en route to NZ) which led us to more ridiculous claims. Estonia even let us skip the queue after we claimed to be Estonian and then failed to tell the VIP people how to say hello in our "native" tongue!
Being a Westerner in China obviously does have some advantages (apart from being rippedoff by a taxi driver - paying 400 Yuan when my return cab ride a couple of days later cost merely 170 Y). However, what I'd never realised was that, in terms of seeing the rest of the world, the Chinese are markedly similar to the Americans. This led to plenty of cameras being waved in front of our faces - which I assumed, at first, meant that they would like me to take a photo for them- (Wrong) - only to find that we were wanted in the photo! By Day 2 we were pretty used to this when we noticed that we were being (in)discretely snapped by a couple of girls in the queue for the India pavillion. Flattered by their persistence (people kepy moving in the way) - although I knew they couldn't have fancied me (Vest top) - I stayed still enough for a photo assuming that this would be the end of this little story. But despite the girls getting let in 10 minutes before us to the Pavillion, when we entered the girls tracked us down again. I originally thought this was quite sweet until I remembered that the 10 minutes extra that we waited meant that these cute Chinese gilrs had taken a massive step towards being much-less-cute Chinese stalkers.
We saw some really cool Pavillions - with U.K.'s a surprise package. Knowing that it was all about seeds I will hold my hands up and say that if I had needed to queue for even a minute it would have been one that got away. In reality it was pretty spectacular, looking a bit like a dandelion seed from the outside, with huge perspex rods creating the dandelion effect. On the inside, each of the rods had seeds of different sorts clearly visible at their ends. Add to this the light effect of the fibre optic rods and it was awesome. Elsewhere, the Pacific Islands group pavillion was brilliant, but their was a notable absence of any natives manning the expos in any islands of less than 15,000 total population. no surprise there, I guess.
We finsihed our second day at the Expo, throuroughly Expo-ed out after stopping by at Morocco and Oman, who both, naturally, had imported palaces! Hoping for a quick turnaround, since we wanted to check out one of the many rooftop bars on the Bund while the lights of city building were still on. We rushed back to the hostel, and I'll admit, I was pretty damn surprised to open my dorm room (which hostelworld had informed me was all malwe) to see 5 chinese girls perched on the beds, looking equally confused. Then the penny dropped and they hurried me over to a note telling me "COME RECEPTION NOW" and my chances of seeing the Bund lit up was extinguished.
Resigned to having missed out on the Bund's bars, we headed to a road that we had carefulyl researched beforehand - equpiied wuth two bars, and something we hadn't foreseen - loads and loads of Krauts! We wanted to grab tsome food and find somewhere with a good atmosphere to watch germany vs. Spain after the previous night's snoozefest. After chatting to Lukas Podolski's doppelganger (ironically sporting a Ballack shirt) we headed to o'Malley's bar with promises of a litre of beer for 100 Yuan (10 quid) entry.
It was brilliant - packed to the rafters two hours before kick off - and there was even a decent Spanish contingent in the crowd. It was insane when they finally scored and our hopes of a ridiculous night out with hundreds of Germans went out of the window along with Germany's hope of another World Cup final.
The next day meant my flight to Auckland, via Sydney and I was getting excited to meet up with the lads in NZ.
Dan / Burge