The conclusion of Alex C's epic adventure is here folks. Read on for... well... basically a load of drunken waffle.
The story so far: Alex C is on a mission to spend 24 hours in Shanghai and to stay mobile, entertained and inebriated whilst spending only 247 yuan. The end of part I saw him leaving the zoo, and losing touch with reality somewhat
The Suntory was good but I’m still buzzing like crappy neon.
Went to Progaganda Museum.
Strange place tucked away. Felt as though I was about to walk into someone’s house. Was worried that if that were to happen I would not have had the conscious brain power to explain anything at that moment but instead I would likely have burped coffee at them.
The bright colours of the posters drew me in, but, like the sun, I had to keep looking away for fear that Mao would be burnt into my retinas.
I daydreamed about buying everything and inviting people over to my apartment to be weirded out by my obsessive collection. I kept browsing, going around several times until I got déjà vu, but I didn’t buy anything – I cursed my 247 kuai limit!
Taking a pit stop. Like lead I can feel my eyes starting to twitch. That doesn’t even make sense.
Nearly gagged at the sight of Red Bull whispering me false promises of wings…
My feet are knackered already. I’m sure I remember “knackered” being a rude word, or at least I think someone told me off for using it once, and I never bothered finding out. Note to self: Wikipedia that shit!
I massively, massively digress.
I’m in serious need of some Zen (man) and Jade Buddha temple seems like a good stop.
My head was so swimmy with useless shit that I seemed to arrive in a flash (ah AH!).
The weather is still shitting kittens so I have taken refuge in the temple to write this.
I can’t help but feel Buddha reading over my shoulder, tutting at this incontinent, diarrhoea-like stream of consciousness.
I feel like to everyone else I look quite scholarly – except for the slight smell of beer and the twitchy eye.
When I close my twitchy eyes I have a zingy feeling all over. Buddha could hand me an epiphany right at this moment but all I can think of is how much caffeine I’ve seen away. What a shit enlightenment.
I’d suck at being a Buddhist. There go my dreams.
The ash from the incense keeps flying up like snow. It’s like a really emo martial arts film showing close ups of the incense/snow while ninjas fight the orange garbed monks. Except ninjas are Japanese – what would they be doing here? Silly ninjas.
Anyway, I’d watch the shit out of that movie.
"If a tiger had jumped out right there and then in a race to food, I'd have been buggered."
I paid 2 kuai to feed some koy carp in the rain. Now THAT’s emo.
There were tons of fish but my tired eyes could only see one big multi-colored blob vying for the fishnip (I presume that’s what I was feeding them?) Until – KOYZILLA!! What a massive fucker. He didn’t give a shit. He just splashed the other fish out the way en route to the fishnip.
I got thinking about massive animals… If a tiger had jumped out right there and then in a race to food, I’d have been buggered. Unless it was from Shanghai Zoo – then it would have probably just complacently sighed at me. But those odds were rubbish.
I guess if it did escape there’d be plenty of food nearby and – shit, Jeff the turtle! I should have saved you!
I need a reality check.
I left the temple and made my way down to People’s Square. Again, the walk was long and again, a Suntory was my companion.
Quick money check : 142 kuai and 14 hours left.
By the time I got to People’s Square the rain had cleared out the majority of the usual suspects. Shame. I was hoping to chat with some of the old ladies holding up placards advertising their sons for marriage.
Never fear! I struck gold in a different form – the tea scammer. My touristy looks ensnared this legendary creature; I had my prey and I would take my revenge.
I was approached with greetings in good English. Standard fall-back: I put on a generic European accent so I could bail out with the classic ‘bad English’ excuse. He introduced himself as Mr Yo [Star], the star was drawn as a symbol but pronounced as part of his name, a bit like Prince.
As I scribble this event down now I realise a small tangential link for what I did next…
I was asked what I was doing in Shanghai and did I know mandarin. I was Yan (to his Yo) and I was here as Adult Film director to recruit ‘ladies’ for a film back in Dutchland. I further hammered the point in with my rubbish Dutch accent and a series of hand gestures that I believed were universal in what exactly they were inferring.
There was an awkward pause.
Mr Yo Star laughed slightly and asked again if I would like to learn mandarin with him at a local tea house. It wasn’t too far and served the best tea in China apparently.
I said that I would love to as it would help me ‘recruit’. I knew I was walking into a trap and had no money to be parted from.
I looked over Mr Yo Star’s shoulder and pretended to see a woman who, I told Mr Yo Star, was perfect for ‘Schlaffen Sneeken 3’ (which I think is probably Dutch for something depraved) and ran after her yelling thank you over my shoulder.
I am an idiot.
I needed to be looked after a little so I called up some friends who had a pint waiting for me. I happily obliged and got on the metro.
I got off at Dapuqiao and entered Tianzifang. I was greeted by familiar faces and beer. A blessing.
I was immediately askeded to recount my tales and read from my book of notes.
I am an idiot.
So now, I’m supping on a good beer and writing up some more of my adventures. It feels good to sit down.
Tiredness is creeping in.
Anxiety sleep the night before consisting of my brain telling me ‘you only have 6 hours left, you should sleep now… uh-oh, now you only have 5 hours…’ has not helped.
Finished my beer and am now starting on my free one. God bless happy hour… this could get messy.
"Turned out that telling people about my challenge made them laugh and buy me drinks. Score."
There are two kinds of drunk. One which disables the person of speech – the other, giving the person the ability to talk rubbish for an extended period of time without actually saying anything of value.
I was the latter.
Turned out that telling people about my challenge made them laugh and buy me drinks. Score.
We headed to 390 on Panyu Lu. The taxi was the first I’d taken all day and free due to my entourage. We entered into bright colours, loud music and happy hour. This time it was until 10. I paced the room talking to various people and stocking up on free drinks before they inevitably left me to face the early hours of the morning.
I was transfixed by a screening of a Sean Connery Bond film that was showing… in the urinal. If nothing else was achieved from my challenge, I can at least say I pissed on James Bond's face.
Happy hour is long gone. As is my sobriety and handle on time and reality…
"I smell of Jäger and disappointment..."
The bar is clearing out. I smell of Jäger and disappointment.
I crawled out of the bar and onto the streets. I was wrestled into a taxi by some still-standing friends.
We headed to Shelter.
I felt my ears pop just walking down the stairs and into the basement. I paid and slumped into the booth where I now sit. I have a water and a whiskey.
The night is only just warming up here. I just washed my face in preparation for last stretch.
Just did a little bit of dancing, despite lack of coordination. Chatted rubbish to a few more people. My stomach rumbled mid-sentence. Need food.
Time to leave.
I headed to the nearest street food vendor and got as much as I could for 30 kuai, which apparently is quite a lot. Was left with 40 kuai to last me 4 hours. Not long now.
Called a friend who was having a house party to check they were all still up. Grabbed some Suntory for the road and headed to Wulumuqi Lu.
It took me a while to get there but I made it just as some people were leaving.
When I look back, I like to think the rousing speech I made telling people they had to stay up for a few more hours to help me complete my challenge was like that of Mel Gibson in Braveheart. I like to think that…
Anyway, somehow this was successful. My friends filled up their cups, I cracked open the Suntory and in seconds we were into a game of Ring of Fire.
Once that was through another round was lined up and plastic cups were prepared for inebriated, short-table beer pong – a real challenge.
Silly youtube videos were watched, stupid stories were told and before I knew it, it was 05:10.
I thanked my friends who proceeded to stumble to various corners of the French Concession. I walked as far as I could until 5:30 and flagged down a cab. I directed the cab to the Bund – consciously observing the meter. I had 23 kuai left. I was fast approaching my limit. At 20 kuai, I yelled stop, got out and walk the rest of the way.
I had 5 minutes to get to the bund from halfway down East Nanjing Road. I manage a mild jog. Suntory, coffee and street food bouncing around. So close…
I’m here. I made it to the statue of Chen Yi where I started my day 24 long hours ago. I feel rubbish.
There’s probably a moral to this journey’s story… The many friends, both animal and human, I have made.
However, this is lost on me in this moment and tiredness hits me. I’ve just taken a photo of the bund at sunrise. I’m smiling right now. It’s done. Fuck yeah. AND I have 3 kuai left for the metro. Time to sleep.
Cheers Shanghai, you were a blast!
WORDS BY ALEX CLARK