I have always wanted to cycle around Century Park and HOT DAMN-Saturday was the day! With abnormally blue skies and puffy white clouds (am I really in Shanghai??), we set out with Patti & Larry to make my dream come true. The bicycle built for four with a little canopy was all the rage in and around the park. For only 100 RMB an hour (300 RMB deposit) we climbed aboard with Thom at the wheel. Now, with his driving behavior (he drove a NYC cab for God’s sake), this wasn’t the best decision as within yards of staring out, I was screaming out in fear. DON’T RUN OVER THAT CHILD! While we could all pedal, we found out quickly that only the driver really had control over the steering and the brake-note to self, learn these type of things before you decide who will be the driver.
Quickly, Thom found out he was all powerful and I had no control. WRONG! The locals were letting their small children drive the carts instead of taking control so it was Thom vs. toddlers fighting for space on the broad lanes around the park and lake and Thom soon found out that the toddlers wanted to own the road. Cool and sunny, the weather was so perfect to enjoy the water and greenery everywhere if we weren’t so frightened that someone was going to get run over by Thom. The folks had already pitched their tents by mid-day and were ready to have a full day of fun in the relatively clean air. We stopped by the bonsai park where really big ass bonsai’s were laid out to walk through. We killed two bonsai’s at our house so I have healthy respect for these massive ones being able to live outside in the normally murky air.
Just a short cab ride away, after jumping aside while the pesticide truck went by spraying chemicals on plants and pedestrians alike, we had a very western lunch at the Blue Marlin. Ensconced in an outdoor mall with the usual H & M and Starbucks, we enjoyed the lovely weather eating outside and wrapping our hands around big honking hamburgers. Not me, of course, since I get sick easily and had already experienced turbulence early in the day so I just had a liquid lunch and a granola bar. For some reason, screwdrivers don’t make me sick. Lucky me!
Then, adequately fueled up, we were off to shop the AP market. We were regulars now and have several shop favorites where the ladies are cheerful and give us local pricing vs. the tourist markups. I was able to bargain like a mule for Patti to obtain the necessary souvenirs for loved ones back home. Larry had the misfortune to trust Thom to bargain for him for an item. When told how much he paid, I laughed and thus was given the challenge to go buy the same thing for less to see if I could. Don’t taunt a mule-it turns ugly quick. I was able to get the same item for half the price Thom got. MULE WINS EVERY TIME. Larry will never forgive Thom or forget he overpaid. Thom told him to cost average and let it go. Lesson learned, Larry!
Tired with bags full of cool stuff for Christmas presents for our loved ones, we eagerly went home to put our feet up. If only every day could be foot massage day! Oh, wait, we live in China (at least for another month) and we have a VIP Dragonfly Massage Card with a big balance of RMB to use up before we move home so every day IS massage day. Hallelujah and bring on the masseuses.