Anything For a Free T-Shirt

A few of us have recently been talking about how we’d like Shanghai U tee-shirts. I’m not sure what went down but around Wednesday Luo Laoshi tells us there is a sporting event with participating Shanghai U students, if we go we can get free tees.

I like to have a plan in the afternoons. A lack of plan leaves me sitting in my room, and when I’m in my room I generally get lonely and stressed. An afternoon with my 同学们 (classmates) in the sun, doing a little homework, getting some free tees, and observing some games (“such as tug-o-war”) would be a lot of fun.

Myself, Andrew, James, Christy, Valerie, Anne-Marie, Josh and 4 students from Madagascar met in the lobby to take the bus from campus. When we arrived in the dorm lobby, we were handed pale blue polos. They really aren’t bad, but we all looked at each other a little strangely. T-shirts and polos 不一样。 They aren’t the same.

I’m decked out in my sunglasses and bug-repellent (which I bought from a near by hole-in-the-wall store. It came in a green glass bottle with lots of Chinese writing. The little Chinese woman came over to me pointing to the bottle and then smacking her arm, I nodded. That’s what I wanted). We squeezed into a small van and headed off to see this game day.

We arrive at a building with some modern architecture and fountains and flowers outside. Walking in we see a chandelier spanning two stories. We’re lead to the second story of the building which is lined with wall-to-wall red carpet and video games in every corner.

This “sporting event” is a video game extravaganza? We all wonder. There is a stage up front and China Unicom (those supporting the event) were doing mic checks and trying to make their screen work so they could like their fake Olympic torch. By this time it’s about 2:45pm. The event will start at 4pm. We wander around the room for a while. At 4ish they put us in lines, none of us understands why. After 15 or so minutes of nothing people begin to get restless. It happens 3 more times in the span of an hour. Finally a couple long speeches take place.

I finally translate the words on the power point slide which reads something like “China Unicom’s first virtual movement sporting games.”

Somewhere in the midst of all this we realize, It was not Shanghai University hoping to get the International students support at intermural sports with other students, but China Unicom needing the presence of some foreigners for their poor promotional day.

It was an experience.

In other news Valerie and I came across some more cheap DVDs, so we bought the “Three Musketeers” to watch tonight for 5 Yuan ($.79). The movie was filmed in the theater and the sound quality was poor, so we turned on the subtitles. “All for one and one for all” became “One mind! one Mind!” Some subtitles were poorly worded, others were completely jank and had absolutely no bearing on actual occurrences. It was HILARIOUS. Especially when we notice, half-way through, that there is a girl in the middle of the theater wearing a tiara.


This whole day was full of jip and a general consesus of “为什么!?”

That said I met some awesome girls from Sydney today, sounds like a nice place to live someday.

First I think I’ll just make it back home from China. My hard seat for the trains to Xi’an and Beijing are sounding less and less appealing all the time as I feel tiredness take me over. It’s only 9:30pm and I’m going to try to stay awake for a few more hours, I would prefer not to be up at 6am. 6am is a depressing time to be up, because I’m usually tired, homesick, and awake when no one else is. I have regretably finished the Hunger Games, and I’m tempted to read it again. If I find it on DVD I’m totally buying it. This DVD stuff can be really rewarding or just plain hilarious.

I’m pretty sure if you have the right attitude, you realize, at the very least, it makes a good blog post.

Happy mid-morning to all of you in the U.S. I’ll be home in 2 weeks… not that I’ve been counting =)


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