Dog Day Afternoon

This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, April 28, 2010 was originally posted on April 29, 2010.

DAY 8:  “I think the dog peed over there,” I told Juju in the morning, pointing out a spot between my guest room and the bathroom. “Because I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and I think I stepped in it.”  My sock got a little wet in a pee puddle, so I put it in the pile for the cleaning lady to wash with my laundry.  Qiu-qiu the three month old pup shaked her tail and pleaded innocent, although we knew she was the likely offender.  But you could never really get mad at her; I mean, look at that little punim!

JUJU, WHO WORKED WITH DECORATORS and event planners, was currently between jobs, which thankfully for me, gave her time to show me around the city in the day while Scott was at work.  The day started out much like any day for an unemployed New York slacker: leisurely wake up, check the e-mail, then get up and walk to the Starbucks across the street to have a coffee while reading the local (and government-controlled) paper.  Stirring things up a bit from this routine was the dog, for we brought Qiu-qiu along to walk her, down the stairs and through the playground.  Not surprisingly at Starbucks, she caught the attention of passers-by with her cute little puppy size.  Aww…

Ah, a Shanghai morning.  Despite its modernization, there’s still a touch of the old China present, from the tricycle hauling a big pile of cargo, to the Chinese food stall that sold us breakfast.  “Oh, it’s shumai and siopao,” I told Juju, using the Chinese-Filipino words for a rice-filled dumpling and a pork bun.  (She was hoping to challenge me with new foods.)  From there we went to a nearby local vegetable market, where Qiu-qiu watched from an arm’s view vantage point, all the things going on there.  Juju bought some pumpkin while I checked out the chicken heads

Although Qiu-qiu ran her little puppy body back on the grounds of the apartment complex, she saved her urination for back upstairs, much to our chagrin.  (I recalled my own days of being a “puppy daddy” while helping train Steph’s pup Zoey, who went through a similar phase.)  Juju got the mop, while Qiu-qiu went and played innocent — and again you couldn’t really get mad at that little puppy face.  Eventually she took a nap on a pile of clothes in the closet.

Aww…

“Let’s take the bikes,” Juju suggested; the sun had come out despite the goverment-controlled newspaper’s prediction of rain.  Her suggestion was to take me away from the skyscrapers of Pudong and across the Huangpu River to show me some Chinese things, and sample more of the local food.  We were almost out the door when the sleepy Qiu-qiu perked up and ran to us.

“Should we bring her?” Juju asked. 

“Yeah, let’s bring her!” I exclaimed.  We put Qiu-qiu in the basket, and rode down the streets with the other people out during a sunny weekday.  Not surprisingly, she caught the attention of everyone who couldn’t help but smirk, smile, or comment on her cute little self. 

THE SHANGHAI FERRY took us across the way, along with all the bikes and motorscooters who were waiting in the holding pen with us, and soon we were doing two people (and a dog) using the old, foot-powered Chinese mode of transportation.  With that said, we went to an old street in Shanghai, preserved from gentrification, a place where Scott and Juju would go every weekend for some authentic Shanghaiese food.

“This is very famous Shanghai food,” she told me, pointing at the pork-filled potstickers, which were made fresh on the premises.  “Be careful of the little soup inside.  It’s very hot.”  Along with that came a bowl of pork soup, wontons, and noodles (oh my!).  While that may have excited my inner foodie, others were a little more enamored by a certain little something else

“[She’s so cute!]”

Back in the basket, Qiu-qiu rode with us through the old Shanghai street, which eventually led to a big shopping area.  Juju went to the bathroom at the Golden Arches while I let the dog stretch her legs — although she was more interested in chewing on her leash.  Again, she caused most people to double-take and smile at her.

“I always ride my bicycle here, but I never go inside,” Juju told me, pointing to what looked to be a massive ancient Chinese temple.  It wasn’t though; just a facade of such a thing, housing a big touristy outdoor shopping mall, adjacent (and most like inspired by) the 15th-century, Ming Dynasty-built City God Temple of Shanghai, which let us bring the dog in.  Monks observed as people prayed in the courtyard and within the temple itself.  And just like the fact that it was adjacent to a shopping mall, one shrine actually shared a room with a gift shop.

THE RETAIL AREA WAS BRIMMING with people, including tour groups, some American and European families, and old twins.  A guard denied us access to the special Yuyuan Garden because of the dog, but it didn’t matter because there was a similar and free one just around the way.  Carp frenzied for food coming from above, while people took picture after picture, including yours truly.  As touristy a place as it was, there was one thing there that caught my attention, something I hadn’t eaten before:  a crabmeat-filled soup dumpling that you suck out with a straw.

“That’s so expensive,” Juju commented on its hefty 13 RMB tag for a single dumpling.  Alas, we were in touristville.

However, just across the street was a slice of a real Shanghaiese shopping experience, with prices a bit more reasonable.  (Everything’s “Made in China” after all.)  Three floors of market stalls sold every knick-knack imaginable; electronics, clothespins, decorations, picture frames, ceramics, you name it.  Juju did some supply shopping for housewares while I tended to Qiu-qiu.  She was getting sleepy after a long day — not that didn’t keep her from being the center of attention from people walking by.

Back in the basket (picture above), we rode our goods back the way we came — just in time to catch some Korean soap operas dubbed into Chinese.  There was still time to kill before Scott came home from work, so we went back out — sans puppy — to get an hour-long massage from blind masseurs at a blind massage place down the block that my couple friends frequented.  At just under ten bucks for an amazing massage, it was totally worth it — “How do you not do this everyday?” I asked — even if they did make me wear old man pajamas for it.

“SHE PEED ON THE COUCH!” Juju exclaimed back at the apartment.  “Bad dog!”  Qiu-qiu was sent to time out outside, in hopes that she would remember how to be potty trained.  It’s hard to remember what to do at that puppy age; you’re teething and you just to pee everywhere and chew on things.  But you can’t get mad; just look at that little punim!

“Hey Ball,” Scott greeted when he got home, using the English translation of his dog’s name.  Juju and I filled him on our day and all the recent behaviors of Qiu-qiu.  She tried desperately to get Qiu-qiu make a poop outside on the balcony instead on in the apartment, but with no luck. 

“You can’t rush it,” I told her, reprising my “puppy daddy” role again, wondering if we should go back to piddle pads.  “She’ll learn.”

We left the balcony door open enough for the puppy to pass through, and left her while the rest of us went out.

JUJU COULD HAVE SHOWN ME the must-see things a tourist should see in Shanghai during our bike ride, but “it’s better at night when it’s lit up.”  With that said, we went out to check out Shanghai’s iconic modern monuments that evening, but not without having a fill of food — “foreigner food” this time, as Juju put it.

“This is a man’s place,” she said, taking our picture in front of the restaurant

Nothing says “foreigner food” like a trip to the local Hooters, which did in fact have its own twist on the international American delightfully tacky yet unrefined eatery. 

“My name is Lankey,” said our waitress.

“They all have stripper names,” Scott said to me before ordering.  “Two Big Daddy Tsingtaos…”

While the beer steins and Hooters girls were standard, our platter came with king crab legs and shrimp along with our chicken wings and ranch dressing.  And unlike any Hooters I’ve ever been to, the girls at the Shanghai one do a little group dance every so often

We were still in Pudong, on the western bank of the Huangpu, home of all the new skyscrapers like Shanghai’s iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower.  To see the classic skyline Shanghai is now famous for, we had to get to the other side, and we went in the most delightfully tacky yet unrefined way possible: the Bund Sightseeing Train, an ultra-kitschy underground tram that was apparently built decades ago and was “spruced up” for tourists by way of neon lights, sparkles, and wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men.  (My friend Ray V. described it to me as “so fantastically bad, it travels all the way back around the world to awesome.”)  And if the visuals weren’t enough for those who love kitsch, the spoken Chinglish to describe the scenes were icing on the cake.  “Hell and paradox,” a soft male voice said.

“I like ‘fossil variants,’” Scott told me.

THE BUND, THE SYMBOL OF CLASSIC SHANGHAI, lines the eastern bank of the Huangpu River, most unique for its old neoclassical 1930s architecture.  “Bund,” the “Anglo-Indian term for the embankment on a muddy waterfront,” is a must see according to Lonely Planet.  “Coming to Shanghai and missing the Bund is like visiting Beijing and bypassing the Forbidden City or The Great Wall.”  A throwback to a classier time of swanky clubs, gangs, and stylish bankers — where people went to parties all the time and rode in limousines — the Bund remains intact to remind the new city of the old.

“The buildings,” Juju said, as we noticed the clock tower of the customs house built in 1925.  “It’s like New York.”  (Funnily, across the way I noticed a big electronic display saying “I [HEART] SH”, another take on New York’s “I [HEART] NY” and I wondered if Shanghai loved them back.)

Camera shutters went on and off all along the promenade, most if not all pointing at the Shanghai Pudong skylineWe wandered amongst the people, both foreign and Chinese tourists alike, on a pleasant Wednesday evening.  Soon we noticed a cluster of people taking pictures of something, and it wasn’t a particular cute little puppy.

“Oh, it’s just a white woman,” Scott pointed out.  “She’s probably just a college student working on a project.”

Having seen a white woman before, we moved on.


“TALKING ABOUT POLITICS,” Scott said over a microbrewed Bundlander dark at the Bund Brewery, “is something that I miss.  [Nobody really talks about politics here.]”

I filled him in on the latest coming from America, how the hype of President Obama has finally fizzled down and now he’s “just like any president.”  Juju chimed in, “I like Obama.  He’s so good-looking.”

And speaking of good-looking, we finished up our beers and went to check on the puppy back at the apartment in Pudong.  There was a turd, conveniently sitting on the balcony.

“She pooped outside!” Juju raved, hugging and snuggling Qiu-qiu.  “Good dog!”

“Good ball,” Scott seconded.

At the end of the evening, it was a good dog, good ball, and a good day indeed.

 


FUN FACT:

“He’s thinks you’re crazy for doing that,” Scott said to me as I put my seatbelt on in the front passenger seat of a taxi cab.  No one does that in Shanghai.





Next entry: Strawberry Fields Forever, For The Day

Previous entry: A Shanghai Welcome




Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “Dog Day Afternoon”

  • I hope Family Guy fans appreciated that inside joke.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/29  at  04:03 AM


  • So glad Zoey could prepare you for stepping in pee in the middle of the night.  And those dumplings look AMAZING!  You may have to try to recreate them when you get home.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/29  at  04:40 AM


  • I just want to know who choreographed that awesome Hooters dance.

    Posted by Elizabeth  on  04/29  at  01:00 PM


  • You can get shrimp and crab legs at Hooters in the US.  Probably not as fresh, but you can.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/29  at  05:27 PM


  • That dog is super cute.  I want to hug him and pet him and squeeze him and name him George.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/29  at  07:09 PM


  • So, after you slurp that dumpling with a straw, do you then eat the outside?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/29  at  07:25 PM


  • NOELLE:  Yup. But it’s not that good.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/29  at  07:41 PM


  • Trying to get one more post up before I head into the dreaded N.I.Z…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/29  at  07:41 PM


  • OMG, are they doing a dance or aerobics! Too funny. Food looks great. Even the dumpling with the straw. Also, when you get back you’ll get a chance to see my little ball of fur.  He looks like Juju all grown up.

    Posted by bionicgrrrl  on  04/29  at  09:11 PM


  • Rock that post… hmm, never mind. No need to eat the outside then.
    I just had Ramen, and DAYUM that was good. Mostly b/c you made me hunger for NOODLES!!! :D

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/29  at  11:08 PM


  • TDOT - where you at?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/30  at  02:11 AM


  • how was the shanghai hefeweizen?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/02  at  06:36 PM


  • WHEAT: Not bad, Nick. Not bad.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/02  at  06:39 PM


  • Cool comments. Big thanks for all visitors and for author. I love this site!!!

    Posted by replica handbags  on  07/28  at  12:11 PM


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This blog post is one of eighteen travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: Chinese Leftovers And Other Asian Appetizers," which chronicled a trip to Shanghai and Huang Shan in China, as well as brief excursions to Manila, Taipei, and Seoul.

Next entry:
Strawberry Fields Forever, For The Day

Previous entry:
A Shanghai Welcome




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