Posters, Sand and Race-War.

Places I’ve been to recently: The Propaganda Poster Museum! We found it in the basement of a block of apartments in the west-end after a security guard gave us a little map and some well-rehearsed directions. The museum was a labour of love for the owner who had amassed over 5000 original posters himself. Being a bit of a freak on propaganda posters I was in heaven. The curator had put them all in chronological order and then attached some accompanying paragraphs on what was going on in China at the time. To summarise: Death. Famine. Death. More death. And lots of marching. I bought a couple of copies at the end, as did my flat-mate. Our apartment now looks like the home to some suppressed anti-capitalists with a love for AK-47s. We had to buy a plant to make the place look less scary.
The beach! Well the Chinese equivalent of the beach. As usual, someone in the higher echelons of Shanghai society (even communists have echelons) went on a recce mission to The West and saw that beaches were indeed very popular. Deciding to create a beach paradise of their own, right on Shanghai’s doorstep, a few things got lost in translation. For starters we had to pay to get on to the sand. This privilege cost 55 RMB (or £5.50). There were no waves because they’d built a bloody huge anti-wave barrier that circumnavigated the whole bay. This meant that the horizon was not a sparkling blanket of blue but a rubbish concrete ribbon of grey. Admittedly the wall could have been built to stop the industrial flotsam of 19 million people washing in or of course some raw sewage, but it still felt like I was swimming in a reservoir. And then they had the gall to fence in a small portion of the available water and allocate this to swimming. The whole area was policed by about two dozen lifeguards on floating barges who changed shifts by speedboat. I began to wonder if any of them could actually swim. To make matters more bizarre the people who had come to enjoy the beach continued with the Chinese theme of being absolutely terrified of direct sun light. Women were floating in rubber rings whilst holding umbrellas with towels on their heads. I then watched a man do a headstand in a hole he’d just dug so it looked like he had no head. He remained in this pose for a number of minutes. My mate saw a German lady’s bush as she was changing (straight out of Eurotrash) and I witnessed two people vomiting on separate occasions, like an early scene in a zombie movie where the epidemic is slowly taking hold. We went home and had a huge row with the taxi driver who was trying the endearing trick of ripping off westerners because obviously they’re minted and have no need for worthless Chinese monopoly money. Strangely, just like the water park I had a great time and will be returning next week.
Windows. Not the operating system but the dirtiest club in Shanghai. And by dirty I don’t mean naked and lewd but cheap and nasty. For the Glasgow contingent imagine the Hive with more Philipinos. It’s awesomely shit. So far I’ve been twice. The first time we were almost embroiled in a race war between some drunk Chinese punters and some drunk Philipinos, and the second time I played a game of dice (basically Perudo) with the fattest girl in China for about two hours. The winner was undecided.
I’ve just realised I’ve been here for a month already. How on earth did that happen?
Oh, and cheers for the comments – tell me what you’ve been up to though, despite appearances I am genuinely interested!

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5 thoughts on “Posters, Sand and Race-War.

  1. Alex! Jesus mate you paint quite a picture. Its an amazingly vivid description of city life in China. I appreciate all the giggles and the “oh my gods” I’ve gotten from your blog. You Scots have a knack for story telling. I’d love to go out for a night on the town with you and your buddies if only just to see the monkey wrench you throw in the works. Those bars sound like they serve drinks you should be wearing a condom sip on. I think what I’m trying to say here is, “why would you dig a hole in the sand and put your head in it?” honestly. Best wishes to ya buddy!

  2. Alex mate glad to hear you are alive and well in Chi town. I’m jealous and in need of another adventure. Enjoying it i hope. Anyway drink a tsingtao, hoick on the footpath and eat a dog for me dude. Would love to be there with ya

  3. Thurlers, good to hear things are looking up out there. Also, good to talk to you last night. Apart from the obvious benefit making Steve cry when he gets his phonebill, it was good to share my stag do with you in some form. But enough about you. I write this from the sofa, where I’ve been since about 12 last night. It was a good night, but short. Mostly because I was dramatically sick outside the casino, and then fell asleep inside until it was gently suggested that I should fuck off. The house always wins it seems.

    I wore Joska’s approximation of a kilt (probably an Avonside Girls High skirt) until my shame became too great. Then we went to a karaoke bar, and I murdered Like a Virgin and Hotel California. Next, a strip club, where I didn’t murder anything, then the aformentioned barf and nap. Polish it off with a Mcdonalds, and I’ve become everything I hate in life. I’ve just managed to eat some toast, and I feel like that bloke from Bad Taste who has his head held together with a tie.

    Later mate. And again, good to talk to you!

    • dave!

      I only realised it was your stag do after the phone call upon which point I was mortally upset as suddenly the novelty kilt and the general drunkenness made sense. I think Steve might have tried to tell me but 1-it was very noisy and 2-I don’t speak Turkish. Anyway, sounds like a glorious night and exactly how a stag night should go. Enjoy the other big day (meeting G again in Scotland) and the real big occasion (meeting Cammy again). Oh and that wedding you have to go to. Cheers!

  4. Fascinating and tres rigolo gigolo as ever. I can only say that anywhere you can buy propaganda posters in some bloke’s basement and then play perudo in a club sounds brilliantly insane. As for the Hive made up of Phillipinos… golly.
    keep up the blogging, great to hear your fables!x

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