crazy day yesterday. Not one big but lots of little weird things. Firstly, my Chinese teacher was weird. She looked sad and tired and I feel hr business is not going well. Its hard enough being self-employed as a Mandarin teacher but I think its hard when she has so few students. Anyway I gamely stick with her but I don’t think she will last long. I arranged to meet a friend for dinner after my lesson in the evening after work. We met outside my building and just as we greeted there was a yell followed by four Chinese chavs running off at high speed. This was weird because a) one of the four looked western and b) it was a mugging! In China. Very, very unusual in the center of Shanghai.

China is pretty good when it comes to lack of serious crime (corrupt officials aside) and I was shocked and a little concerned that things were not as rosy as I had hoped in China. My friend is from the UK, Kent and we met in Shanghai. The other thing is that he can speak perfect Chinese. Very impressive. So we very native and went to a great local restaurant. The food was stunning yet simple and delicious and all vegetarian. Chopped cucumbers in vinegar. Noodles. Tofu with a 100 year old egg on with some great spicy sauce. Friend cabbage a egg. All of this was simple and fresh. We had four huge bottles of beer and the whole thing came to 68 yuan. That’s like 3 pounds each alas only available if you can speak Chinese and read the Chinese menu and have the front to walk into a local place and speak with them and not feel out of place or awkward. Local food for local people if you will. As we were about to leave I spotted a huge RAT crawl through the window and hide behind the water cooler. That was weird and disturbing. Then we walked to a bar and we spied a drunk Chinese guy punching a bush. Weird. The streets, at 9.30pm, were DEAD compared to the teeming masses there were just a few months ago. I think its the winter kicking in but it made the whole atmosphere weird. After a few drinks I went home and hid from the weirdness

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