Men kissing girls

There are many things I love about this city. One thing I have come to appreciate quite a bit are the video advertisements in the back of the taxis. One reason I love it is because it distracts me from the chaos going on around me, another is because sometimes they are really funny. The new Budweiser commercial about the accidental designated driver dance hit for example, is hilarious. The WOW commercials are pretty entertaining too, with the guys in their tights and pink shorts, yet I still have no clue what the ad is about. Last night I sunk into the overused cover of the taxi’s backseat, and awaited my entertainment.

First commercial, Budweiser, yes! Second commercial, a new one. A bunch of people kissing. One guy holding a guitar kisses a woman, who kisses a man, who kisses…a four year old blond girl?!? It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a little peck on the cheek, but this is a full-on, eyes closed kiss that lasts too long for comfort. The ad is for lip balm, which explains the kissing, but how does one explain the prolonged smooch between the twenty-something Chinese dude and the little Dutch girl?

I guess they may be taking their cues from the U.S., where shows like Toddlers and Tiaras rule the airwaves and magazines. In fact, the merchants here have been very quick to pick up on this, manufacturing Playboy wear for young girls (I mean like 3 or 4), stripper shoes and all. They even make shirts in size 4T that say, “SEXY!” These clothes are not meant for little Chinese girls, who seem to dress age appropriately (thankfully), these clothes are sold in the markets geared toward foreigners.

I hope I don’t see the trend of waxing young girls’ legs in the name of pageantry and or other exploitations explode here, to see China begin to publicly objectify their young girls. It’s just nice to be surrounded by a culture that has retained some sense of modesty.

The youth of China is pushing the envelope however, listening to (banned) Lady Gaga and expressing themselves through art and fashion. Please hear my plea, new and powerful generation of China, let your little girls be little girls.


Shanghai bikinis, crazy taxis and Mons, oh my!

A little over one year ago, I moved to Shanghai with my then-boyfriend (he is now my fiancĂ©). We decided to give up the island lifestyle we were living in Hawai’i, and trade it for the oceans of automobiles and humans in Shanghai. We sold nearly everything we owned, packed up our clothes, important papers, and chihuahua and began the journey.

Leaving the Big Island was hard. I loved my friends, the culture, and the weather, but I felt like something was missing. I wasn’t ready to live the slow life quite yet. Luckily, my boyfriend (B) wasn’t either. We attended a Search Associates job fair in San Francisco, and signed a contract to go to China. I never though in my life I would be going to China, but life is funny that way.

We came here, in part, because of B’s family history here. During World War II Shanghai was one of the only places in the world accepting Jewish refugees. Thankfully, B’s grandmother made it out of Germany and into Hongkou. There she met B’s grandfather, an American soldier. They married, and later they and his grandmother’s family made it to America. So, to commemorate his family, we will get married here as well, in April!

So, let me quickly explain me experience of moving here in a nutshell, and I will do this by using the title of this post.

I had heard that the Chinese were very conservative, so it surprised me a bit to see women wearing see-through blouses and short skirts in the doorways of massage parlors and men walking around shown off their belly buttons, or what I affectionately call the Shanghai bikini. See the photo below for an example of this phenomenon. I still am not quite sure what it is all about, but I have heard a couple of theories. 1. It cools them off. 2. It is to allow the man’s chi to flow more freely. Now, I don’t know much about chi, but I do know Shangahi is bloody hot, so I am more inclined to believe number 1. Now about the massage parlors. Yes, it is true that in China you can get almost any type of massage imaginable, including female happy endings (unfortunately, I found this out during my first week here). There are the good, the inside Pearl City Mall is my favorite, and there are the bad. It is usually easy to tell the legit from the seedy. For instance, if the lights are pink and everything else is dark, it is probably seedy. If that isn’t enough to give it away, the menu with a lot of items containing “sex” will probably give it away. My advice, find one you like and stick to it.


Now, on to the driving. When I first moved here I didn’t think I would live to see the next month. The driving here is different, the main reason being because no one follows the traffic rules. Drivers will go the wrong way on a one way, swerve severely, slam on the breaks, almost hit a pedestrian/bicycle/scooter, etc., and of course lay on the horn for no apperant reason. However, I can assure you that even though it looks completely chaotic to a newcomer, there is in fact a method to what’s going on. I seldom see accidents, and that is pretty good considering the fact that there are 25 million people in the city who are always trying to get somewhere. So, don’t worry, you won’t die, you will just feel like you are going to die.

And finally, on to beer in Shanghai. It isn’t easy to find a good brew in this city. I am used to the microbrews of America, much different than the watery pijo (beer) served in the bars and Family Marts of Shanghai. One of my personal unfaves is Snow. They say don’t eat yellow snow and I say don’t drink it either. I thought there were two terrible beers served frequently here, Snow and Mons. One night, while out to dinner with my friends, I was informed that Snow and Mons are actually the same beer (Snow) if unlike me, you read the label correctly. So, after that embarrassment I spontaneously competed in a pretzel eating contest where I won second place. I love this city. It can be confusing, embarrassing, entertaining, and sickening all at the same time (Note to self: do not eat a giant pretzel quickly after going to an all you can eat and drink Indian buffet).

So, that’s what brings me here, to my first day of blogging about my life. It feels weird, but we’ll see what happens. More adventures in teaching, volunteering, traveling, planning a wedding, and livin’ life to come.

P.S. If you have any questions about moving to, or living in, Shanghai, let me know!

Finally it has happened to me…

I have been on the verge of blogging for years now, asking myself, ‘Do I or don’t I?’ The truth is I have started a few times before, but always ended up balking at my own insipid comments about life. However, I have decided that I will post anyway, because after all, I don’t think anyone will really read this. It is more like a non-diary, diary, and a way for me to keep track of this wonderfully crazy life I am leading. So here is goes…