After a thrilling day at the tennis tournament, it was time for dinner. After that recent debacle with the over-ordering, we now know better. Point at the picture, and use the fingers to indicate the quantity.

*points at hummus* One!
*points at kebab* One!
*points at drink* One!

Wasn't that easy?

My first taste of authentic Middle Eastern food, and it was great. Loved the hummus.

*points at stage*

more jolting than crunching coffee beans
The day has come, it is Tennis Master's Cup 2005, where the top 8 players of the world converge for the culminating event of the ATP tour. It doesn't help that Hewitt, Safin and Roddick have pulled out even if the event hasn't started, but I'm already here.

The stadium is simply magnificent, glass walls all around, a fantastic view of the court, and that spankin' brand new scent. Yeah baby!

spankin' brand new!

Got to see the master Federer take on Nalbandian, Ljubicic against Coria, and the Bryan Brothers against Wayne/Arthurs. First ever tournament attended, first tennis match - had to be a Federer.
My "Welcome to Shanghai" dinner was a feast - 10 dishes at least, and we were only 3 people. It wasn't planned though. You see, English is not really widely spoken in Shanghai - hold that, English is not spoken by the Chinese in Shanghai. So when my friend pointed and inquired about several dishes, they assumed that we were already ordering them! Tsk!

A pleasant tree-lined walk (and at the same time give our stomachs ample time to digest all the food) to the city's new drinking joint Xintiandi featured bars, pubs and restaurants tailored into newly constructed (but with old architecture) French villas. One even boasted of a great Filipino band. Never mind that, we went to TMSK, whose glass counter is always good enough as conversation piece.

everyone's happy after a few drinks...

Then there was Luna and and a red-haired Deborah Harry. Funny, we were shouting Blondie. Anyway, I was only mildly buzzed but tipsy enough to have a direct ticket to lala-land when we arrived at the hotel.
It was my second trip out of the country, and this time, I'm travelling alone to meet a friend at our final destination. Just as a background, I've been planning this trip since May - saving up money, miles and courage to do a trip alone. So, 6 months later, twenty thousand miles poorer, but 2 guide books smarter, I find myself taking of my belt at the counter of the Centennial Airport. (No dirty thoughts please, just standard security procedure).

While waiting for the MLA-PVG (Love 'em airport codes), I met two ladies who screamed at a footage from the WTA Championships, featuring a news bit about Lindsay Davenport taking home the year-end Numero Uno for the fourth time. AHA! Tennis fans off to watch the men's version of that in *gasp* Shanghai. Then I learned that there was a Manila delegation, of about 40 people. At least our country is represented in the audience.

A thousand miles later up north, I find myself walking at the tarmac of Pudong International Airport. First time in China, and a first time winter for me. Before my illusions of snow and skates realised, I already knew that it didn't snow in Shanghai. Nevertheless, I never stopped muttering to myself, "This weather is just gorgeous". Crisp, cold, wintery, minus the slush.

Airport to hotel was a breeze. Okay, I stood in a very long line at Immigration, and given that the airport had all 26 counters open, you can just tell that Shanghai was a very touristy place. Hey, Tennis Masters Cup really drew in the crowd, at least. Again, airport to hotel, after immigration was a breeze. Gate, escalator, maglev ticket counter, maglev gate, I plopped myself to a seat on the only magnetic levitation train in the world. City center was a good hour away from the airport, and with the train, it took me 8 minutes. 430 kph baaaaby. Here's a pic to prove it.

fast, eh?

Maglev to subway was very easy, then next thing I knew, I was right smack in the middle of one of the most famous shopping districts this side of the world. Nanjing Road felt like Times Square, not that I've been there, but the blazing neon lights, people hustling left and right, and all the wares you can think of. Throw in a couple of 1920 architecture buildings, and a hotel with a giant thermometer proclaiming 17 degrees Celsius... *BAM* I knew that this trip was going to rock.

see the bling
Monday, November 21, 2005

Music: The Shanghai Soundtrack

Before I give the blow-by-blow of my Shanghai sojourn, I'll share what was playing on my phone during those times. Same with my Bangkok trip, this vacation's music was appropriately provided by my handy W800i.

Music to listen to when ...

- riding the MagLev: Don't Let Go by LMC vs The New Radicals
- weaving through the crowd: Move This Mountain by Sophie Ellis Bextor
- holding your jacket in a 10 degrees weather as you board the plane: Clarity by John Mayer
- watching planes take off and land at the airport tarmac: Desperately Wanting by Better Than Ezra
- riding the subway: Professional Widow by Tori Amos
- singing out at the top of your lungs along the Bund since no one knows you anyway: I Don't Wanna Be by Gavin de Graw
- (and my favorite) being on a moving walkway underneath an aquarium filled with sharks: Don't Panic by Coldplay

Must find a new one for this segment of my vacation....

Bones, sinking like stones,
All that we fought for,
Homes, places we've grown,
All of us are done for.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ni Hao!

Too busy running around Shanghai, and translating to actually write an entry, but watch out when I come back from a long vacation. See ya!
Friday, November 11, 2005

Not so smart

Sabi ko na nga ba e. Hindi ako SMART.

After having getting my phone line disconnected, I immediately went to the nearest SMART wireless center to pay my dues and shove at SMART's ass that I can pay them my overdue amount of 500 big ones.

I didn't have my account number with me, nor did I have my billing statement (hence not knowing that I was already overdue) - so I just gave them my phone number. Apparently, the phone number I knew was not mine. I have been giving out the wrong number to people in my email correspondences, and perhaps egroups. Yaiks!

So to all, my apologies for giving out the wrong number. And much more so to the owner of the number I have been giving. I'm sure those pesky foreigner suppliers of ours must have had a field day looking for me.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My Kind of Funny

I may not have time to write an article, but I did have enough time to cut-and-paste an online quiz. Hahaha.

The results are pretty much accurate - for my case, at least.

the Wit
(52% dark, 34% spontaneous, 36% vulgar)

your humor style:

Witty, eh?

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais