Well, I always knew it was going to happen but here I am: stuck in the dark depths of the Shanghai blues. I have just began to lift my weary head out of the gloom but when I first arrived back in Wanzhou, after a week of banter, cuddles, Forever 21 and four Subway sandwiches in three days, I was feeling thoroughly miserable. I arrived back and I was experiencing a little of what I am assuming is culture shock. I thought I had avoided it but my lovely, comforting week in Shanghai has ruined all of that. I am grumpy, I am constantly annoyed with Chinese teenagers who tell me I am beautiful and follow me around supermarkets, I am overwhelmed with an urge to starve to death instead of eating one more bloody rice dish with bits of meat that are more fat than animal.
Anyway, I thought I’d spend the next 30 minutes reminiscing about my wondrous week in Shanghai. Which will probably only leave me feeling a little depressed, but at least I still have the last mouthful of a packet of salt and vinegar crisps on the kitchen counter to remind me that life really isn’t that bad.
So, after leaving our homes 11 hours early for a flight – our waiban is so cautious of us missing our flight, that he puts us on a bus that leaves at 6:45am. Our flight doesn’t leave until 17:10pm. The bus journey takes 3 hours. I think Rob’s exclamation of ‘MY FLIGHT FROM LONDON TO BEIJING ONLY TOOK 10 HOURS’ sums our horror at this over cautiousness quite well – and another 2 hours on a flight from Chongqing to Shanghai, I had finally arrived at my destination. YAAAAAAAAAAAY! James met a very dishevelled and slightly smelly me at the airport and we travelled via the fastest train in the world, i.e we paid 50 yuan and it was literally over in two minutes, to our hotel.
OH MY GOD.
The hotel was literally the most amazing thing I have ever seen in life. I imagine that if I ever have children, I will gaze at my baby with less emotion than I did at the sight of our hotel room. After I practically had an asthma attack due to excitement over the sight of a bed that wasn’t designed in the medieval ages, we then proceeded to rush to an Indian restaurant for a curry. We practically ran there and all I could think was ‘boy, James is really eager for this korma.’ I soon discovered his eagerness was due to all of the Beijing crew sitting waiting for us. The little rascals! Unbeknownst to me, they had organised to visit Shanghai instead of Hong Kong and thought it would be a good idea to surprise me, seeing as I was so gutted I wouldn’t be meeting up with them until January for the New Year. I was so shocked to see them all sitting there, i could barely enjoy my chicken tikka masala. BUT HAPPY DAYS, THE CREW WAS BRIEFLY REUNITED!
Over the next few days, we spent our time getting a) mortal, b) travelling between Shanghai/Suzhou/Chongming on excessively long bus/train journeys and c) being extremely unhealthy. I swore that I would not touch any Chinese dishes whilst I was in Shanghai and I stuck to my word. Not one solitary noodle passed my lips. I actually had a burger king, a subway and then a KFC in less than 24 hours. Of course, I haven’t gained weight since I hit puberty but all that salt went straight to my skin and truth be told, I am still feeling a bit greasy and unhealthy due to my week long binge. BUT WHO GIVES A SHIT. I’d rather look like an acne scar for a few days if it meant I could taste the sweet, sweet mayonnaise within a six inch tuna Sub.
We got to visit some really cool places on our travels, including the Bund, Yu Garden and the Art District. The Art District was one of my personal highlights, but that was probably because Niall told us a rather entertaining story about scoring a goal in a football game with his gooch. (Don’t ask.)
Old Town was another highlight but not because of the architecture but because I managed to nab a very authentic looking pair of fake Ray Ban wayfayers for 70 yuan (about £7.) SCORE.
I can’t describe how lovely it was to get wrecked with the whole crew from Beijing once again. It was like nothing had changed and we were back in some scummy hotel in the city with bottles of beer that cost us 30p, guessing who would pull who and who would be throwing up before midnight. Amazing.
So on our last night in Shanghai (where one of the major events was when we somehow got invited to go to Japan with Justin Bieber’s roadies but we had to say no, because you know, we’re responsible adults now), I got absolutely mortal drunk and woke up in the morning an hour and a half before my flight was due to leave. So, classic Codling, I dashed to the airport still pissed and with last night’s short dress on. Leaving poor James with the extortionate bill for the cab, I boarded the flight and immediately passed out. Only to be abruptly awoken thirty minutes later by a Chinese girl sitting in front of me who was having an epileptic fit. The oxygen masks were out, people were screaming and because my language skills are pretty pathetic, I didn’t have a clue what the bloody hell was going on. So I just put my headphones in and passed out again.
Why is nothing in my life ever normal?
Oh and before I forget. Here is my T.I.C moment of the week:
We were all in a random Suzhou nightclub when I see ten attractive women line up in front of a row of Chinese men. Not realising what the hell was going on and expecting some sort of dance routine, I moved forward to have a closer look. No, they were not going to dive straight into a twerking routine, but waiting to be picked by these men. These men were judging them entirely on their looks and their prize was to sit and be seen with them. Apparently this is very common in China (and probably some other places, I expect) but the day I ever line up to win a chance to sit next to some boring, ugly twat for an hour is the day I pack my bags and leave the country. (Although, obviously, the ugly Chinese man would have chosen me in a line up, seeing as I am blonde and white and awesome.)
I love you Shanghai!
Lots of love and kisses and culture shock misery,