Me and Chairman Mao
  Word of the day.
The word for today is a very topical one--and no, that doesn't mean you have to rub it all over yourself, but thanks for asking--because it's shanghaied. That is, "to put aboard a ship by force, often with the help of liquor or a drug, such as opium." (Etymology: Shanghai, China; from the former use of this method to secure sailors for voyages to eastern Asia.)

What is the point of all this, you ask? (Or I pretend you ask.) Just because I want to assure you that the lack of updates from Shanghai is not because I have, in fact, been shanghaied. (Again, this is based on the assumption that you are all looking at my blog every day at least one time, because why wouldn’t you? I'm not wrong, am I?) Anyway, as fun as being shanghaied sounds--I'm fairly sure that being press-ganged would not be good for my delicate constitution--I'm happy to report that I am safe and relatively sound. That is, as sound as possible living in a city that turns your snot black. In case you were wondering …

Anyway, the lack of updates is actually because Blogger, for some reason, refuses to work for me. I'm not sure why: possibly because now that everyone at Google is retirement-rich they have decided to stop doing any actual work; or, more probably, the Chinese government--threatened by my keen, penetrating insights into Chinese life and culture--has decided to shut me down. I'm pretty sure it's the latter, but I could be wrong--it has happened once before, back in the late mid-nineties when I should have had the chicken instead of the beef. But that's the only time. In any case, I can apparently post to my blog via email, so that's how I'm going this. (I'm just assuming the formatting is messed up. Is it?)(Don't tell me--it's a rhetorical question. I'll look for myself.)(But thanks for your concern.)(Seriously, it's touching--I'm all weepy.)

But moving on--finally--I had my very first Chinese foot massage last night, which involves having your feet massaged (no kidding!) for the better part of an hour, as well as your hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and head. I was a bit confused at first on account of the name and everything, but I guess "feet, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and head massage" is a bit unwieldy, although the people who rent billboard space would be thrilled. And the majority of the time is spent on the feet, so it's not a total misnomer. (Plus, I'm told that we--without knowing it--had a very fancy foot massage, so apparently they don't all include the extra body parts.)

Overall, however, the massage was very, very nice, as most hour-long massages are, in my experience. The only downside was that, during the massage, one of the people with us explained that the people giving the massages are essentially indentured servants who are brought in from another province and paid next to nothing for their work. As you may imagine, that made me feel sort of guilty. But then the foot massage made me feel much, much better, so no worries. (Yes, I'm that shallow. But only on the surface …)

Naturally, I have much more to tell. Since we last spoke, I have been locked in a room on the third story of a run-down apartment while hunting for Coach, Tod's, and Prada bags; eaten my first--and best--barbecued eel; slurped down some rather tasty coagulated blood; and had my heart broken because no one could find the awesome Dolce & Gabbana coat that I had my heart set on in my size. However, I will have to tell you all about it later because I am off to CJW--Cigar, Jazz, Wine--on the fiftieth floor of the Bund Center for drinks and a late dinner. I'm thinking the view will be not so bad.

My life is very, very hard. Seriously. I mean, I didn't get that jacket ...
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