So on Friday after work D'Arcy and I got some coffee and then cabbed it over to the XinJiang restaurant to meet the others. Dinner was really good. I love lamb meat on a stick. Yum. We also got XinJiang (SingKiang) black beer which was surprisingly delicious. Usually when I go out in China I'll have beer cuz it's easy and cheap and it's what other people are having, but this was the first beer I can remember drinking and thinking "Tasty!"
We were there for all of five minutes before the waiters forced us up towards the front of the room to dance with the belly dancing girl. Like...the waiter had one arm and D'Arcy had the other arm and they were playing tug of war with me. Ouch. I went up and danced for almost a whole song but quickly slunk back to my seat when I had the chance to get away. It was strange at the restaurant because two of the waiters reminded both me and D'Arcy of Drew people. The guy who took our order looked like Drew Chen (the RD for my complex) and the waiter who tried to drag me on stage looked like Matt Miller (the guy who played the lead in Revels 2006). I couldn't decide if the second waiter was creepy or funny. He kept winking and encouraging us to cheers. I decided to be silly back and blew him a kiss. He hammed it up and pretended to fall over.
After that we went to Adobo. Their happy hour is great. We got margaritas and mojitos and pina coladas. We also got 3RMB chips and salsa. Win! We stayed there for a bit laughing and chatting and talking. Lucy also showed Erica a bit of salsa dancing. After Adobo we headed off to Windows Underground where we played Truth or Dare with fun/hilarious results. We had a long drunken cab ride back to my apartment and then fell into bed at some horribly late hour.
Saturday we all slept in. After a slow start in the morning we had New York Style pizza for lunch. (Remember that they live in rural Japan so getting good pizza is a treat for them...) After that we went to Liujiazui and took pictures of the buildings that define the Shanghai skyline; the Pearl Tower, the Jin Mao tower, the Financial building (aka the bottle opener). Then we looked at the Bund from across the river. We also took the bund sightseeing tunnel across. It was my first time taking it...it was weird. It was like as if Shanghai had given a group of 14 year olds about $500 and told them to make a ride. It was mostly composed of blinking lights and TV screens and a voice over saying stuff like "Now entering paradise", "Fossil variation". "Meteror shower", and "Liquid magma".
We then went to the Yu garden. We walked and shopped a bit. We stopped at June's favorite restaurant and got soup dumplings and xiaolongbao. We took pictures. After that we walked over to Nanjing road. D'Arcy felt like heading back to the apartment so I headed back with her after telling Erica how to get to the other places she felt like going to. D'Arcy and I knitted and watched "How I Met Your Mother" and chatted. It was really nice to have some down time with her just hanging out like we were back in college.
Sunday we had to get up early to go to SUZHOU! Whoo! We arrived and walked around for a bit until we made our way to the Master of the Nets Garden, which was more beautiful then the last time I was there since now things were in bloom. Outside of the garden I got another name stamp made with my other Chinese name. I already had one for MiFengGuan, and now I have one that says the Chinese version of Sproffee. We also went to another XinJiang restaurant and got more XinJiang beer. Ha! We went to another garden whose name I forget that was even better. I took tons of pictures which I will organize later.
After that we took some pedicabs to a market street only to find out that they were having a food fair. The place was PACKED and smelled like 12,000 different kinds of food. I had some lamb kabobs, shared a meat pancake with Isa, stole some bao from D'Arcy and bought some melon flavored ice cream. I remembered standing there and thinking how much Dave would have liked to be at this food fair...if there was about 1/15 the amount of people there. D'Arcy seemed a bit freaked out by the crowds. If I hadn't been living in Shanghai since August I probably would have too, but now I guess I've grown used to swimming through people. I still HATE it, but it doesn't scare me or surprise me anymore.
We headed to a KFC for some coffee and then waited a bit for our train. I fell asleep on the train on the way back. I bought some new sneakers when I visited home in January. They felt fine when I got them but it turns out they rub on my pinkie toe on my right foot. With all the walking I've been doing with D'Arcy and Erica my poor toe looks really abused. I've got like...blisters on my blisters. Last night when I tore my shoes off my toe looked swollen and almost purpleish. Eeesh. I think I might go to Decathalon and pick up another pair of shoes. With all the walking I do around the city I can't have my only pair of sneakers as death traps for my toesies.
Last night even though we were exhausted, D'Arcy and I stayed up for while talking and sharing and bonding. It was really nice. We had lunch again today with Erica and then said our goodbyes since I had to go to work and she had to get to the train station. I had such a good time with D'Arcy here. I really want to go see her in Japan. I want her to come back to Shanghai and she hasn't even really left yet (I think her plane leaves in an hour).
Anyway...it was therapeutic to have someone from back home with me. It was also EXHAUSTING. I feel rather broken after 5-6 days of GO GO GO. I am super excited to just go back to my apartment tonight and go to bed. Although I can't really do that since I still have that pile of tests to correct. Ugh.
So, much love to you D'Arcy! You are welcome back anytime.
Pictures from Hangzhou and Suzhou should be up soooon.