Mornings in Shanghai start slow. I’ll never forget that first time I showed up all perky at 6:30 a.m. at the local Starbucks by the Four Seasons where we were staying on our first trip over to Shanghai. Not open yet? WHAT THE HELL? How is a Starbucks not open by that hour? After a few days of wandering around trying to find an early caffeine fix, I discovered that most coffee places (and there is a café on every corner) open by 8 a.m. but not before. This falls right in line with the start of the typical office work day which is never before 9 a.m. and more likely to be 10 a.m. by the time everyone wanders into work. Not me, of course, but everyone else in China.
I am an anomaly in Shanghai (and really everywhere in every way if I’m being honest) as I usually wake up at 5ish and am ready to walk to work by 8 a.m. at the latest. As I do my new commute to the SWFC offices, I get to see the locals just getting started for their day. This usually consists of a stop at the food cart where you can get scallion pancakes or steamed buns plus the daily fruit buy, which right now is very melon focused. The ayi’s actually deliver fruit to our office desks every afternoon-very refreshing. Melons, grapes, apples, etc. just appear like magic–all juicy and delightful. Love this China tradition–YUM!
The shoemakers and vendors selling their wares are not up yet when I am on my way in–they work late into the evenings. Most of the locals do not have a/c so everyone tends to stay outside in the streets dancing and socializing well into the evening probably to let their apartments cool down after dark. The heat this summer in Shanghai isn’t as brutal as last year. I remember melting in the 100+ degree heat many days after coming over last August, especially in contrast to the coolness I was used to in Seattle.
Speaking of Seattle, we were so excited to discover a Friday night Seattle vs. San Diego preseason football game would be played in real time at our local pub but at Saturday morning 10 a.m. our time. Entering the dark pub that early in the morning, we woke up the staff and got them to boot up the TV’s so we could, all by ourselves, watch the game. Screwdriver please! They served me a salad with my scrambled eggs. Sorry-not too early for the screwdriver but way too early for a salad. I still have a Western stomach. Of course, I’ll probably die of food poisoning. I’ve been warned never to eat at an empty establishment because the grill will be cold so the food served will not achieve enough heat to cook the food thoroughly. Time will tell….
Guess there are either no Seahawks fans in Pudong or it’s just too bloody early for most of the blokes around here-yes, most of the expats are Brits that we have met. American Football–what’s that? If it was a big rugby match, the bar would be packed! Plus side to be the only ones here–no smoke. Everyone smokes here and you go home from any bar smelling like a pack of Marlboros. The muzak is heavy into 70’s with Barry Manilow (Thom was once mistaken for him in the 70’s on a NYC subway–worse compliment ever) and Johnny B Good. Ahhh, mornings in Shanghai….eggs/salad/cocktails, bad 70’s muzak and Seahawks Football–no better way to start the weekend!