Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fernanda Eberstadt

You can find my interview with Fernanda Eberstadt (The Furies, now Little Money Street) over at Identity Theory.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Moment of Profound Dislocation

I was sitting in the VIP room of a Chinese nightclub on Friday night, listening to Mary J. Blige and drinking a bottomless glass of Chivas and suddenly thought to myself, where am I? How did I get here?

Bill's comment when I shared this story with him: "I love how our lives are just the same situation in a different location."


Friday, May 19, 2006

A Hint of Panic

Unlike certain expats I've met from time to time, I'm not infuriated by the lack of English in Shanghai public life. After all, it's China, and no one is under any obligation to accomodate English-speakers any more than they choose.

That being said, I do like the mind games being played by our building manager, who posted a notice this morning in the lobby that read, in English, "IMPORTANT MESSAGE! MUST READ!" and then had the entire rest of the message written exclusively in Chinese.

On that note, I also present some of my favorite grocery store items:
paper towels = chiefly used in rag
ice tray = composite ice trellis
a block of cheddar cheese = cow brick


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Medical Care

I was at a business lunch yesterday when, after the formalities were exchanged, my host began to regale me with medical horror stories from her many years in Shanghai. This isn't the first such conversation I've had, but still I listened in fascination to more tales of woe, including that of a woman who had to fly to Hong Kong with a broken arm to get it properly set and mended.

Shanghai is hardly a backwards city. But in a major international destination where one can readily find all manner of sophisticated pleasures, people that are well familiar with selvage and saltimbocca still look blank at sterile.

The "international" hospitals differ from the local only in that they speak English, allowing them to explain to you clearly that there is nothing wrong with you, and why don't you just go home? Dev's experience with dirty instruments, incompetence, and general neglect left him in such a rage he pounded the reception wall with his fist - a risky move, lest we be on the next plane to Hong Kong ourselves.

Now I'm suffering from a similar throat-ear ailment, but I dread going back to deal with the doctors again. Luckily, I have alternate means at my disposal - the seamy underside of the city reveals an illicit trade in harmless prescription drugs. Whoever thought I'd be sipping champagne at a party while someone slips me a folded piece of paper with the words, "Here's the number of my amoxicillin guy."


Friday, May 12, 2006

Jenny Lewis

For everyone who just can't get enough of my opinion, I have a short music review in local magazine SH.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Color of the Sea

I have an article in this week's San Francisco Chronicle, a review of John Hamamura's Color of the Sea.