The Mean Girl In Argyle Socks

China’s been blocking my internet connection since I came home last Tuesday, so a lot has happened.
First of all, there was a Frisbee tournament in Shanghai. Our A Team won (dominated) for the first time in 7 years and everyone is super thrilled and it was great to see people play some awesome games. Friday night we took a sleeper train down. It was so much better than the seater, although the cabins were a little small, so the boys ended putting these two giant bags of Frisbee gear on the end of my bed, since I’m so much shorter than them. I spent the night curled up not being able to straighten my legs.

Bambi’s dad was in town for business and sent a driver to pick us up. It was kind of delicious to be waiting in a whole big clump of Frisbee kids trying to flag down cabs, and then to have a shiny black BMW roll up and Bambi say “that’s our ride.” We explained to the driver that we were starving (it was 7 in the morning and no real dinner) so he tried to find us a McDonalds or something. I can only imagine this man’s thoughts, employed by a big fancy company, having to drive around 4 kids intent on finding fast food. The fields were in a far suburb in what seemed to be a poorer, less international/metropolitan part of Shanghai, so no American chains in sight. We eventually just told him to pull over at a noodle or jiaozi stand, we didn’t care, just needed food. People on the sidewalk were staring at this fancy car pulling up…and four tired eyed Frisbee-gear attired white kids roll out and hit the noodle shop.

I played on the B team (obviously) which was suffering from a dangerously short roster and inexperience. The games were a lot of fun, but the boys had to play savage for two games and the girls got more playtime than usual. It took the first game for me to be dubbed the Mean Girl in Argyle Socks (and Pigtails) as I was wearing knee high (I had to make a fashion statement) and apparently I’m a little competitive. I went with it though, if you’re going to call me mean, I might as well earn it.

Blurry D. I just slapped the frisbee out of the air.

We had a prom themed party. I am amazed at the intensity to which some of my teammates threw themselves into the theme. Custom made ridiculous suits (honestly, purple with matching top hat, scarlet velour jacket, a suit that I can only assume was made out of flower patterned curtain material), corsages for all, a photo booth backdrop, even a coordinated dance. It was a very fun party although I was wrestling with a few emotional issues: let me just say that Ginny is my new personal hero and sometimes I wish I was a complete robot or a complete human, and not a hybrid cyborg with faulty wiring and a few of the wrong chips.

We make this look good. Also, smiling is for squids.

Sunday was an interesting day of pain and my body being really, very upset with me for the muscle abuse of playing four games the day before and possibly drinking a wee bit much. During the very first game, I played one point—immediately getting nailed in the stomach with the Frisbee. But by the end of the day we even won a few games and I recovered.

After everything wrapped up with swag awarded and beer freely passed around, Bambi and I took a cab back to the center of Shanghai where he was staying for a few days for work, and I met up with a friend. I met him in Taiwan five years ago, this boy who I have ever only seen smiling and laughing, and is really one of the most cheerful people I know. It was great to see him, we went to a restaurant and ordered far too much Shanghai food—braised pork, cold tofu, rice wine chicken, kong qing cai (I don’t know the English name, but it’s a hollow green vegetable that’s similar to young spinach or peapod stems), and more that I can’t remember. I was so tired that I couldn’t eat much, and gratefully passed out on his couch early, as I had to leave for the airport at 6 am.

Hong Kong. Possibly the least exciting trip I will write about. My three months was up, needed to exit and reenter China, and a quick day trip was all I had time for. I had done zero research about Hong Kong, but had a small list of touristy things I could have done. I arrived at 11, took a cab because I didn’t have the energy to figure out train or bus, checked into my hotel, and took a nap. And went to the gym for a easy jog and a long stretch to ease the soreness and pain. And went to the pool. And went to the sauna. And took a long bubble bath and read a book. I thought about leaving the hotel but I didn’t have the energy, and I kind of just wanted to wallow for a little (I find that the treadmill and bathtub are great places for wallowing. The endorphins will kick in and make you cheerful, and who can be unhappy for long when you’re sitting in a tub of bubbles?).
Feeling relaxed and healthy and muscles actually not hating me as much as the morning, I decided to venture out. Apparently I was on Wanchai’s Bar Street (staying at the Wharney, I’m not sure I would recommend it, the hotel itself was fine but the people working there were all very rude and not helpful) so I wandered around. I wasn’t prepared for how crowded Wanchai feels, the buildings looming over the highway, narrow one lane streets, flashing billboards for all these clubs and bars and what I can only assume were hookers. It felt like the city would spill off the island at any moment. I finally settled on a small Thai restaurant that looked decent—my original thought was to find seafood or dimsum, but I passed the Thai place and haven’t eaten Thai in a while. I had a really good chicken pad see ew, a frosty Thai iced coffee (the first sip brought me back to Pho Hua in Chinatown), and mixed seafood Phalang curry. Delicious. I ate my dinner and people watched the other patrons—a strange and awkward couple, a florid faced older man and a Thai woman who might have been pretty if she didn’t have such a calculating look on her face, across from me going through exaggerated motions of eating and not saying a word to each other, a jowly British businessman, a sweet Asian couple holding hands over the table.

Having nothing to do after dinner and not really feeling like going back to the hotel quite yet, I walked around for a little bit and looked at some of the pubs, and chose one with a nautical theme. For a Monday night it was pretty full and I walked around to the back of the bar where I’d feel slightly less inconspicuous, and ordered a Jameson.

Here’s what happens when you’re a girl and you go out on a Monday night and start drinking whiskey by yourself. The three Filipino bartenders will feel sorry for you, start chatting you up, and decide that you need to do shots. They will proceed to insist you do one or two Jaeger bombs with them. Then, when you haven’t made up your mind about getting a beer or not, they’ll give you a taste test of all the beers they have on tap, and then give you a pint of the one you like best. When you realize it’s a Monday night and all you want to do is go home and sleep in a soft hotel bed after sleeping on the ground in a tent and on a couch for the weekend, you’ll thank them and offer your hand for a handshake and instead the chattiest of them will kiss your hand and slip you his number.

I went back home and curled up in bed and went online. Ginny wanted to know why I was in bed and not taking advantage of more free shots, and Bambi wonder why the hell I went out drinking on a Monday night.

A leisurely morning—room service breakfast, another bubble bath, then an adventure finding the airport shuttle. I wish I had had more time and energy to explore Hong Kong because it looks so beautiful and the weather was sunny and fantastic, but home I went, gray Beijing pollution fog greeting me at the airport, and the moment I got to my apartment, the skies opened up and a fantastic lightning storm started.

I was judged so hard on Thursday. I went to Jenny Lou’s, bought two bottles of sauv blanc, a bottle of red and a bottle of Jameson for the boys, two boxes of cereal and mac n cheese (for the boys). The subway security lady did a double take of the alcohol, asked me how much I was carrying, and what kind could I possibly be drinking so much of, and made all her security friends look at my bag. Got to Allie’s and we had a lovely dinner that she cooked and watched a few episodes of this British show that I’m now obsessed with, Misfits.


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