Me and Chairman Mao
  Of people and purses.
Holly and I have been traveling again. Guess where we are now? I'll give you one hint. Here it is:

Think Really Hard

Yes, we're back in Shanghai. (I really hope you figured that out for yourself …) Holly had to come here to work, and I had to come with her … well, I didn't, really. But it beats hanging around in Beijing by on my own. Plus, I have a series of adventures planned for myself, starting today, which I'm sure you will all find fascinating. Once I tell you about them, anyway. Hopefully they go well--I'm a bit worried about today's (about finding the place), but we shall see.

Anyway, one thing I noticed this time around that I didn't notice last time was how many freaking people there are here. It's the biggest city in China--14 million registered residents and 3 million registered migrants (whatever that means, but I'm sure there's more) in a city that, area-wise, is smaller than Beijing--but when we were here in December it just didn't seem that crowded. As you may have guessed, this time, it does. We took the subway all over yesterday, and it was, well, very full. Actually, it was like I expected the Tokyo subway to be. That is, it was so crowded that you didn't really "enter" the subway car, as such: you just wormed your way into the mass of people in front of the subway door and let yourself get pushed inside by the crowd. Or, if you didn't get pushed in quite far enough, by the many helpful subway agents who will help jam you in so the doors don't close on you. At one stop, an old lady wouldn't quite fit, but rather than make her wait for the next train, four--yes, one, two, three, four--subway police worked in unison to shove her into the car. Makes perfect sense to me.

Luckily, the people riding the subway in Shanghai seem to be a bit, um, more "Western" than their Beijing brethren, so the subway doesn't have that unique Beijing odor. (Did you think I could ever be so diplomatic?) Although on the very last subway trip last night--on the way home from dinner--I was uncomfortably close to some day laborers, and it was not so pleasant from an olfactory standpoint. I know, I know: my poor patrician proboscis. What do to! But still, that was the exception rather than the rule, thank God or whatever other old dead guy--or girl, I guess--you prefer to thank.

Anyway, it wasn't just the subway that was crowded: everywhere was. Maybe it was just because it was a Sunday afternoon, but it seemed like no matter we went, we were battling our way through a mass of people, whether it was Renmin Park, the Shanghai equivalent of Tiananmen Square; the Xiangyang clothing market, where there is much, much better fake stuff than in Beijing, although--sadly--still not the Dolce & Gabbana jacket I want (more on Xiangyang later); or Nanjing Road, the so-called "Golden Mile," that used to be the most famous shopping street in China. Now, it's mostly just crowded, although there's a Hagen Daaz on it that serves chocolate fondue, which I might have to try at some point.

The Crowd at Nanjing Lu

Surprisingly enough, there was one familiar face among the masses at Nanjing Lu--none other than the Fan Man, who was still just skating aimlessly up and down the pedestrian section of the street posing for pictures. Like this one …

Fan Man 2

Amazingly enough, this is actually the third time I've taken his picture. Besides the two on Nanjing Lu, I saw him on the Bund early one morning riding around on a unicycle between empty pop cans and doing push-ups for a group of Japanese tourists. Very strange, but whatever floats his boat, fills his fans, or whatever.

But back to Xiangyang (she-ong-yong) clothing market. While I could find nothing for myself--tragedy, I know--Holly didn't have the same problem. In addition to a sharp Gucci laptop bag, she also picked up a Gucci purse that I pointed out to her, since I knew she was in the market for (yet another) small, fake purse. She bought it, but later on she said that, while of course she loved it, it was great, etc, that it was "not something I would have picked out for myself."

You know what that means, ladies. (For you men, that's code for "I don't like it.") Yes, I have no doubt that the purse will be up for grabs next time we're stateside. So if you want it, I suggest you start pestering Holly immediately. I'm sure she'll appreciate hearing from you. For those of you who are interested--and for those of you who say I never put up any pictures of Holly--here you go:

Holly and Purse on Nanjing Lu

(There's thin red stripes above and below the thick white stripes, which is why it looks funny around the edges.)(Well, that and the picture qualities crap so it will load fast …)

Start the bidding now!

Breaking News
Since the time that I wrote but didn't actually get around to posting this latest entry (Blogger's not working for me), I have successfully completed Adventure Number 1. I'm still not telling you what I did, but I will give you a very good clue, in picture form. A really good clue ...

Guess Where I Went!

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