* Sunday – took a train to Souzhou with (Patrick, Sean, Bob, Margaret, Eric, and some other Shanda people) to go eat some BBQ. Now this wasn’t just any BBQ, it was one being cooked by Patrick’s brother (also from Texas) at his restaurant, Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant. So yeah, a chance to have some good Texas BBQ in the middle of China? Why not? Now yes, it’s not the superior pulled pork BBQ that I came to love after living in North Carolina for 4 years, but it’s still pretty good. BTW, the coleslaw and potato salad were great, too. It looked like the secret was out in Souzhou as it seemed whiteys from all around were descending upon Zapata’s. However, if you were the only person who didn’t know about it, you should check it out on Sundays near the "Rainbo Walk" — named after the pretty nice park and shoreline of the man-made lake there. (The entire area is a Singporean development.) Aside from the BBQ, a few other things. The train we took there was five bucks, went 160 mph (indicated 258 km/h), was clean, and was on time. Dear Americans, we’re doing it wrong. Yes, I know the train was probably Canadian, but still.
* Monday – we decided to observe Labor Day here in the US and take the day off from work. In pursuit of custom made clothing, Margo, Eric, and I descended upon the Fabric Market. It’s basically 3 floors of stalls crowded with hawkers selling all kinds of fabrics in almost any cut you want. At $15 per shirt (delivered), it’s hard to pass up. I wouldn’t get any suits made there as the quality was a little suspect. I saw a few people getting suits made, but they were German tourists who didn’t know any better. Everything I’ve read says that Hong Kong is still the best and only place to get suits made in China. The nice ones in Shanghai will cost more than they do in the US. Still, I ordered a six shirts apiece from two places. Let’s see a) who actually delivers on time and b) how they turn out. My expectations are kinda low, so hopefully things will work out. After that we strolled through the Shanghai "old town" which was actually kinda disappointing (it’s a craphole) and toward something called You Plaza (or something along those lines). For my NOLA readers, it kind of felt like the Riverwalk, minus the A/C. Lots of stores selling loads of tourist crapola. You had to search hard to find worthwhile gems. I did manage to find Shelley a cool birthday present, but nothing for Caitlin. It was too expensive (in any country) and the woman wouldn’t haggle. Next we grabbed a late lunch, headed home for a power nap, then did some work.
More later, but I have to run to work. Oh yeah, the Internet is painfully slow everywhere in China. Like, worse than 56k dial-up modem bad. For that reason, I’ll wait before uploading any pictures.