Hello! My name is Koji and I’ll be staying in Shanghai, China. Goodbye, everybody!”

So I’m finally flying to China today. I’ve been preparing since I got back from Puerto Galera, reading as much as I can about Shanghai from its food, culture, customs, and thoughts on sexuality, which I got from a book I bought the minute I stepped into Manila from Galera. I swear, I still had sand on my sandals when I went to Alabang. I even brushed up on my Shanghainese, their version of Mandarin. I only know a few key phrases like how to say my name, where I’m staying, complaining about something being too expensive, and I’m gay (ngu tongxinglian).

I’m scared because only a few people speak English but I’m excited because Shanghai has been touted as the Paris of the East. To top it off, I’ll be staying in Nanjing Lu, the heart of the action.

Shanghai is very different from Beijing because the former is a mix of old and new, which can be seen in its architecture, people, places, and food. It’s a lot more sophisticated and urbane without losing its touch of China. It still has itsshikumen (a unique architectural design seen in Shanghai since the 1800s) and the site of the birth of the Chinese Communist Party.

I’ve prepared an extensive itinerary which include local shopping, dining, and cultural visits. I included a few commercial shopping, but I limited it to designer labels (I didn’t go out of the country to buy affordable clothing, we have enough of them here, xiaxia). Some of the things I’ll be scouting for are Mao memorabilia, jade, ivory, tea, and of course, the Chinese editions of VogueElle, and GQ. I’ve yet to see if those nasty rumors about eating babies are true.

I only brought a few clothes: three shirts, two dress shirts and two jackets. I’m only going to bring the pants and shoes I’ll be wearing to the airport. My peg for the entire week is communist chic with two green jackets I found at an ukay.

So wish me luck! This is the first country I’ll go to where most locals don’t speak English (I’ve been to Japan but I spoke Japanese fluently then). I won’t be bringing my laptop so I’ll be MIA yet again. Have a great week, everyone!


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