Archive | Touring China

Shanghai Scam: Like Father, Like Son

I stumbled upon a Reddit post today where expats in China are sharing their experiences of being swindled in China. It’s funny how the same scams are ever-present throughout the decades. Here was what I posted:

The first year that I was in China (in 2005, on the Coors Tour organized by Sascha) I was walking down Nanjing Lu in Shanghai when an English speaking girl approached me. She said she wanted to practice English, but I kept walking and answering her questions after saying that I wasn’t buying anything.

She offered to take me to a teahouse nearby and I said okay, so we go to the fifth floor of some random building and it’s an empty restaurant with a small cove that we were seated in. I check out the menu and it’s clearly bullshit prices but she continues talking and calls friends and says that others are joining us. I decline to order anything and she insists that this is rude – by this point I’m aware of what’s happening, but as she persists I excuse myself to leave as the situation becomes more awkward.

Before I can make it through the door frame, two Chinese guys come out of nowhere and are blocking my path. I got the impression that these were two “threatening looking Chinese guys” but I just laughed. Then they took me into a side room with people counting money in it and an old man told me he’d let me go for 500 kuai. I said no so he said 200 kuai. I held up my phone and said I was calling the police and then they opened the door for me to leave without saying a word.

Lesson learned. A funny coincidence is that almost the same thing happened to my father when he was in Shanghai in 1989. He ended up paying something like $50 for a bottle of beer though after being drawn inside by an English speaking Chinese girl.

Scammed: like father, like son.

Published on January 31, 2012

End of the Tour

The tour is finished and I left Nanjing this morning at 8:50am and arrived in Chengdu just before lunch time.

Last night was a blast, but it’s actually really great to be back. We celebrated the last night of the tour together like we had meant to the whole time. Kim, Kimmy, myself, and new recruits Nina and Rob. We chilled at the Xinjiang barbeque place I went every night just down the street from our hotel. I said goodbye to the guy who fixed me the barbeque every night that I was in Nanjing; tried to get him to write his name in my journal so I could remember it, but he couldn’t write at all. Kim and Kimmy wrote a page or two each in my journal, in yearbook style. “It’s been a fun 3 months, etc”. Kim wrote his in Norwegian though, which makes it pretty special to me.

I actually had a number of epiphanies last night. It most likely had something to do with smoking bud for the first time in almost 2 months, but I reflected on the tour and made a few observations that I hadn’t been focusing on when I had my mind on other things. Coors says there’s another tour in November for 3 months and said that there’d be a position available for me if I want it. It allows me to set a good goal; I have to have my infrastructure up and running by November. If I don’t, maybe I’ll do the tour again.

I leave for Bangkok in 14 hours. Tingting is a asleep just a few feet away and I’m trying to type as softly as I can so I don’t wake her. I’m going to pack as lightly as I possibly can for Thailand and Bali. A weekends worth of clothes, my camera equipment, and hopefully a mini external hard drive that operates on a laptop hard drive that I can buy tomorrow before I depart. If not, I’m worried about running out of space for digital photos since I definitely don’t want to bring my computer with me. Too heavy, too expensive, too much hassle. I don’t picture northern Thailand being the type of place where you need a laptop. I don’t even really know what I’ll be doing there, but I picture it more to be swimming in rivers and hiking in jungles than on AIM or checking gmail.

I guess I haven’t written about tonight, which is what my original intent was before sitting down at the computer after arriving home.

I knew that I had only one night in Chengdu and I only had time to see a few friends, but I went to Scotty’s place and met Tenzins friend Jovian from San Francisco. Kimmy is also staying at Tenzins place for a few days. We walk down the street to meet up with Scotty who’s eating on the street with a table full of Xinjiang guys. They’re all speaking Xinjianghua and I cannot understand a word. It sounds like Arabic to me. We’re drinking beer, they’re getting sloppy off baijiu. Scotty and Jovian drink baijiu with them and get fairly wasted pretty quickly, but it was a pretty enjoyable cultural exchange of sorts.

Scotty is definitely the biggest pothead I’ve met in China (he has 12 year old dread locks), so of course he had a pocketfull of hash. He invited the Xinjiang guys back to his place where the living room is full with like 8 people, half of them looking like they’re from Kazikhstan. We smoke some hash and as if on cue, a guitar comes out of nowhere and these guys are jamming the fuck out, singing and everything in whatever language they’re speaking. Jovian pulls out an MPC-2000XL (hip hop production hardware), loads a bay of samples, and sits Scotty in front of it. It’s hard to describe what followed, but it was like a terrible car accident of a rhythm, but was hilarious because the situation and the atmosphere of what was happening was so extremely bizarre. They jammed out for an hour or so, passing the guitar around, all these guys could sing (almost more like a wail) and play guitar simulatenously. I thought they sounded like Gypsy Kings. Pretty fast rhythm on the guitar with a slower, almost raspy vocal style.

New country tomorrow!

Published on August 23, 2005