shanghai this time around was a bit more eventful for me.. as i didnt really fall victim to jetlag and lose a full day to sleep. we stayed at the same hotel, right on nanjing road, a huge walking, shopping street. great place for people watching.
our first day there we headed to the shanghai museum, great place. went to the nike store, browsed some shoes. im definitely going to have to get some custom nikes made when i get back to the states, ive been inspired ;) ate beijing (peking) duck for dinner, yum. then we headed to the bund for the beautiful view of pudong at night. the air was thick with a bit of rain, the tops of the sky scrapers were out of sight, but it was still a picture worthy occasion! we then stopped in at the peace hotel. wowza, ritzy!! peaked our heads into the jazz bar, and peaced-out (ha peaced out of the peace hotel). on the walk back it was a pretty mutual agreement that it was time to throw a few back.. so we stopped at the beer garden andres and i went to last time.. and i had a few tigers and laughs while starting to get to know this great group of people.
the next day was a free day-- started by doing the most touristy thing possible... the double decker tour bus... really we only did this because it was 30 rmb per person, and you could hop on and off all day. so it was a nice breezy taxi ride with the whole group in the same vehicle. it turned out to be a great place to get pictures of people taking pictures of us. thats a fun game. lol. we decided to hop off when we drove past the lamborghini show room and the gucci store. the area was pretty and was screaming for photo opps. our group divided a bit at this point.
i had too many pomegranate lemonades and needed to find a restroom. so i ran into this cafe... and was in heaven.. if any place could fit me better.... bright colors... black geometric line patterns everywhere... i knew we had to go back.. and we did after roaming the streets a bit. we went to the 3rd floor bar and had some cocktails.. i had the cucumber martini for 68 rmb.. roughly about 11 or 12 dollars.. nate had the ginger pear martini... both were mind blowingly good. it was a nice swanky place to rest our feet.
hopped on the subway and headed to an irish pub to watch some rugby. for me it was the place to grab my last western -style meal... holy amazing. ha. allie and i sat at the bar (they didnt have a table big enough for our whole group) we had a feast.. tacos as an app. we both had soup.. then she had a burger and fries and i had a quesadilla that was served with fries as well. we met this guy eli from washington. chatted him up for a bit and then again the group split. some stayed for the next rugby game and more beer.. i went with the group to take on some more of shanghai.. in search for the pottery workshop.. we were meeting the first split and bob there to head for dinner. for directions, we had a map and a piece of paper with cross roads and maybe a street address?... found what could be the only possible translation to cross roads on the map.. and figured we'd walk.. it was only a few blocks away..
the blocks were extremely long.. we got kicked out of a music shop on the way and by the time we got to the intersection the pottery workshop was nowhere in sight. with about 30 mins till our meeting time.. we walked on.. found a gallery (where i stumbled upon a Do Ho Suh piece and was pretty please with that) but we figured since we were in the right area the gallery would be the place to point us in the direction of the pottery workshop.. i mean they should know where a studio is on the same block right? nope. but they did find it online for us... marked it on the map.. another 3 blocks back the way we came. at this point we had like 10 mins. so i decided to grab a friend and RUN there.. just incase we could catch the others before they figured we just did our own dinner.. so nate and i ran.. seriously ran. and we got to the pottery workshop.. the gallery not the studio! no bob or the others in sight. nate and myself, neither of us runners, were both dying. a few mins later the rest of our group we ditched when we ran, arrived. it was a quarter past 6 at this point.. when the lady behind the desk gave us directions to the studio. why not go, just to say we found it.. we did... well we found the group.. couldnt blv they were still there half hour after meeting time.. the actual studio was down a small alley.. no wonder why we couldnt find it.. at this point i was too tired to even think about going to dinner with everyone, so myself josh kirk and nate (3 of the 4 osu guys) headed back to the hotel.. making a pit stop at pizza hut. what a day--
10am next morning heading to the train station for a 16 hr train ride... yuck. but this meant i was that much closer to jingdezhen and the studio.
ive been looking forward to my return to china since the second i landed in the states back in july. preparing this time around was alot different. ive been so busy i havent even really had a chance to feel anything... excitement, anxiety... nothing. maybe i guess its because i know what to expect this time around. but even just days before my departure i felt everyone around me was freaking out for me more than i was. its like this.. cool, calm, and collected feeling. i know what to expect. and im super happy inside. packing was the worst. i just didnt want to do it. if it were up to me.. i would have just taken me, myself, my camera, and my mudtools ribs.. okay and some pin-striping tape. but thats not how things work, and im not rich enough to just buy as i go. so needless to say i wasnt completely packed until an hour before i had to leave for the airport.
made it to detroit metro around 6 yesterday morning, ms allie rumler (another CMU student) met me there. its going to be great having someone from my home studio here with me. we met the majority of the rest of the group in chicago. with a little over an hour till take off we conveniently found a place for me to charge up my phone.. at an airport bar. i bought allie her first legal beer (it being her 21st birthday yesterday) and we chatted with some randoms. looked down at my phone and said... "time to go.. they start boarding in 2 mins... you know they start boarding 25 mins before take off" the man next to us says, "um international they board 45 mins in advance!" OH SH!T... we took off running sure enough everyone was on the plane and they were calling our names over the intercom. leave it to us.
after almost missing our flight from chicago to china, allie and i made it from detroit to shanghai. this time around the group is much larger. 14 students, emily reason (visiting artist), and bob. im still learning everyone's names.
shanghai. everything is familiar and it feels so good. my excitement has finally come to surface, and the smile has not left my face. and i am now extremely giddy and excited to get back to jingdezhen and into the studio... ahhh.. and some faces.. li chao, nick, xio min, laufong, de mamma...
allie and i missed dinner last night, she was sleeping and my phone was an hour off. so we grabbed some noodles for dinner then hit the sheets HARD! and of course woke up really early, which i dont mind.. its a perfect time to get a quick blog post in and some emails out!
meeting for breakfast at 730, then im sure we will be heading to the shanghai mueseum today!
'til next time,
peace and love from china.