Monday, November 17, 2008

Shanghai Trip Day 21 - close encounters at Nanjing Road

I was supposed to meet some consumers for a research purpose at around 9:30 am in people's square. I know the place as it is the same one where the Shanghai Museum and the planning center are situated. I had thought that I will take the Metro like last time, but then I did not want to walk to the nearest Metro Station. I decided to take a taxi instead. I had not realized that it would be so close. And being overcautious, I had arrived 1 hour and 15 minutes before time. So I had nothing to do but to click. Shanghai looks more beautiful in morning (so does any other place, by the way). So here are a few of the ones clicked.

Apart from flowers and trees, I also clicked a few skirts :)
In the meantime, my batteries ran out. I had forgotten to charge them. I thought of getting back to my apartment and bringing the charger. But then a wiser thought struck me. How had I completely forgotten that a camera can also work with normal non-chargeable batteries.

So I walked in the search of batteries. Got it at a closeby convenience store. Clicked a few more.
The tall radisson hotel (behind the Samsung board)
some metal balls
and a baby being pampered....
Then the consumers arrived. Chatted with the first one for about a couple of hours at the Starbucks. She was more cordial than I had thought. We had a good chat. We saw her off and then the second one arrived. We went inside the Raffles City mall. I was a little amused to see Lacoste having a live promo with two guys playing tennis and two girls sitting with the statues...
Then we proceeded for lunch to some South Asian restaurant named "Banana leaf". There were some indian dishes in the menu and i happily ordered a curry chicken with rice. There was some other food also, of which i was amused at the pigeon. It had arrived with the head.
The ladies accompanying me were quite amused to see me clicking this. They were more amused to see me eat curry. They told me how they knew that Indians love curry and I told them how Indians eat on a banana leaf in some places. They were more amused. We had our fill. Did not eat the pigeon's head, though. Post lunch, it was the only thing left on the table.
Pigeon is the latest addition to the list of meat I have tasted. Now the list has Chicken, Pork, Fish, Prawn, Frog, Duck and Pigeon. Quite a sizeable one..i guess..

Well, we meet interview our second consumer post lunch whereafter we go out shopping on Nanjing Road. I bought myself a scarf for 30 rmb. Isn't a branded one, but I was happy to see how the shopkeeper was selling everyone Cashmere (abridged form of the word Kashmir) and Pashmina shawls, both original and fake. So I purchase one piece of cloth in China and that too comes from India. Destiny.

Post shopping we meet our third conusmer at another coffee joint. By now I had some 4 cups of coffee/tea in the entire day and I am not so used to it. It made me feel a little dizzy. Post the interview, we started the search for an authentic Shanghainese restaurant. Till then I clicked a few pics of the Nanjing road.
There were people all around me.
It felt as if the entire China was out on streets and they had all chosen only Nanjing road to be out. As we had not done reservations at any of the restaurants, we did not get any seats. So we compromised for a KFC. Ate a lot of chicken with my favorite potato chips. Chinese do not appreciate the potato so much. For them, it is just another vegetable. I told the ladies how it is like the king of vegetables in India and how samosa's are so pouplar in India. I had already got them to have samosa's at the "Banana Leaf", though they hardly close to what we eat in India.

Post KFC, the ladies went on another shopping mission. I wished them goodbye and wanted to come back. But then decided to click a few. The night was really beautiful.
But I was interrupted. With my looks and the big camera in my hands, I looked completely like a tourist, and I had no idea that it's not a good thing. At regular intervals of 2 minutes, I was approached by someone or the other who wanted me to buy some watches, Rolex, Tag Heuer and those sort of watches - big brands sold in fake form. It wasn't new for me. India is used to it, but China masters the art of copying. I kept resisting and politely denied the offers. After about doing that for a couple of dozen times, I started getting annoyed. Felt like hanging a board around my neck that said, " I do not want any watches please....." (in chinese of course).

Soon, the offers kept going further. From watches, it came to massages. I was astonished, amused and non-affirmative. Then someone came with a few pics of girls dressed in a bikini and wanted me to have anyone. My amusement was turning into annoyance now. I have seen much of all this in Bangkok and not inetersted in this anymore. This is good enough for a first time by a curious youngster, but second time is only for perverts and sick people. I had been curious before but I have definitely remained sane. I avoided the men and moved on to click some more pics.

Then, I was approached by a couple of ladies. Decent ladies. Looked educated and spoke quite nice english. It wasn't new for me. I had faced this habit of stopping by tourists by Chinese earlier also while doing the Museum and the Planning Center. They asked me my nationality and I told. Then, they asked my purpose of visit. I told. Then they asked me how many days had I been here. I told. Then they asked how many days will I be here. I told that too. And then they asked If I needed company for the night. HELLO ??? Did I company. The good man and the bad man in me spoke at the same time, one saying a yes and the other saying a NO. I was confused and said a NO and moved on. They tried to follow a bit were not indecent enough to pounce on me. I was a little surprised, and a bit amazed too. Post a couple of massage dealers approaching me, I was back to photography.

I was feeling tired now. My legs were paining and felt a little headache too. I had done a lot of talking today. Am not used to it anymore. I love being quite nowadays. I started contemplating a massage and quickly gave up the thought. Just then another girl said me a "hello". She might have wanted to ask for something else, but by then I was too annoyed to see any girl as anything except a call girl. I freaked out. Rushed out from there as if running away from wild animals. Kept frantically walking.

Was so scared that forgot to even catch a taxi. When I had walked about half a kilometer, I realized that I should take a taxi. Took the cab and ran back home. Couldn't sleep the entire night. Didn't know how to react. What appeared fun to me when I went to Bangkok, seemed like a scary thought to me. I knew there were decent massage centers too and I actually had thought of going to one on Sunday. But now, I was too scared. Something was frightening me. I don't know what. I have never felt that way. Started surfing the net to divert my attention. Through some friends profile on orkut, got to you tube where I found some old Hindi movies uploaded in parts. Caught hold of one called Mandi and started watching....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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