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and now they give me…

October 20, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme!!

They just gave me Carl’s Junior and now Krispy Kreme! What is happening?! I am so over whelmed and I’m starting to wonder how much it’s going to cost me to get all my clothes let out. (You know with all the burgers and donuts!)

To be honest I don’t even like Krispy Kreme  all that much but since I haven’t had the abundance of them like I did at home, well I miss them! This new donut location won’t be opening until December, so my clothes and waistline are safe until then!

When East Meets West

October 18, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Chloe Tea SetI am such a bad chocolate eater. I blame it entirely on my mother. I always bite into every single piece of delicate chocolate, anticipating the surprising flavor that lies beneath. My assorted box typically comes with a handy guide but I have to bite into every little square in order to figure out which one tastes the best. No guide can ever explain that to me, no guide can ever describe the magnificent melting sensation that occurs on your tongue when heaven melts away. I look at my little ritual like a wine tasting, you bite, you chew, and you either finish the piece or you set it down for a later discovery.

My dear friend Andrew has crossed the mighty Pacific and entered the Holy Grail that is Shanghai. Upon his arrival he surprised me with a small box of heaven from La Maison Du Chocolat and truly shown me the magnificent ness of a chocolate sensation.

Having lived here for almost 11 months now, there aren’t many first that I experience. I’ve become accustomed to the spitting, yelling, horn honking, and fabulous fashion choices of the people here but now that Andrew is here, I feel as though I am experiencing so many things for the first time. The shock value that had worn off is suddenly back and giving me whiplash! It’s so exhausting.

You know what else is exhausting, the exploring Andrew and I have done. Foot massages, back massages, launch parties, Nip Tuck on DVD, manicures, pedicures, shopping trips and Chloe cups… it just never ends. How is a girl supposed to maintain such an active social calendar?

One of the things that Andrew and I did was wait in line. That’s right, as fabulous as we are; we did our fare share of line waiting. And no, it wasn’t to get into the posh parties or hot clubs, we never waited to get into those places. Our line waiting was for something much more… limited.

A limited edition I Heart Chloe Coffee Mug, that is.

A local westaurant (western restaurant in Shanghai) had a special promotion in partnership with the Chloe brand. So everyday, for one week, at 2pm they distributed 15 limited edition mugs with the Chloe name sprawled across them. Now these mugs weren’t free! For 78 RMB (about 12 dollars) you got a ceramic mug (which probably cost them 15 cents to make) filled with coffee, three teeny tiny desserts, and an annoyed smile from the cashier ringing you up!

The first day Andrew and I waited for our chance at ceramic gold we got there too late. We were numbers 16 and 17 in line but we were convinced we could possibly still get the chance to swindle a mug any way, so we stayed and waited. We waited forty-five long minutes only to be turned away.

Having been rejected so easily Andrew and I were determined to get a mug. On nothing but principle, of course. So the next day Andrew and I got there over an hour early and planned on grabbing lunch and then grabbing a spot in line. So we arrived and walked down the glossy white hallway only to find a line had already formed. Andrew and I would be numbers 3 and 4 this time around! Even with our early arrival we were still not the first!

Insane what people will do for fashion!

I’m no stranger to lines though, in my heyday I braved many a cold nights to gain front row access to Backstreet Boy shows.

So we waited, again. Andrew occupied his time playing Tetris on his IPhone; I stared at the passersby and slowly starved to death. Andrew and I hadn’t had lunch and so I couldn’t wait for the time to go by. All I wanted to do was eat!

Finally 2pm came and Andrew and I grabbed some lunch, our Chloe Tea Set (that’s what they called it), and a seat. As we sat there and snapped pictures of our adventure Andrew and I noticed the first person in line, a wannabe fashionista with a sloppy outfit, sitting all alone. A little sympathy went out to her, having to have endured this adventure on her own. Until of course I saw her pull out her cell phone, hold her hand above her head and snap away. Just what we need, another bad MySpace photo.

I was thinking of offering to take her photo when I notice her ask a passing waitress. The waitress grabbed the phone, listened to Lonely Girl explain how to use it and then snapped a photo. Lonely Girl reviewed it and quickly asked her to take another, and another and another. She posed in different positions, in different areas and slowly stared in her own Chloe Mug montage.

I was never more thankful to have Andrew to snap my photos.

By Elena Garcia

Carls_Outboard_4CI don’t have the words to explain to you just how overwhelmed with emotion I am at this news. I can’t even form words because my mouth is too busy salivating at the thought of crispy golden nuggets of fried zucchini and the tiny white plastic containers holding they’re magical sauce. I tremble with joy just thinking about peeling it’s plastic crinkly foil lid and dunking the battered flavor morsels in! Ohh it’s just too much to bare. How do I even begin to realize this amazing sensation!

I have so many people to thank for this. First and foremost, I have to thank God for finally answering a young girls prayer (btw I’m still waiting on the whole spitting thing). Second, I want to send a sincere thank you to Carl and his Junior for remembering us here in Shanghai, we are not forgotten. I need to thank the fine people of the Raffle City Mall in People’s Square for leasing out the space to such a fine dining establishment. Last, but not least, I want to thank the future fry cook who is going to dip my frozen pre breaded vegetables into the greasy tub of oil and make them whole. Thank you!

Carl's Junior ShanghaiCarl's Junior Shanghai

And I Quit

October 9, 2009

By Elena Garcia

I did it. After working for six grueling months. I decided it best to stop working and enjoy the fruits of my labor and the remaining time we have here in Shanghai. So in the midst of my trip home I sent my boss my letter and made the decision not to return to a life behind the desk!

Although I’ll save the details of my work life I must say I am enjoying my time off. So far that has included: shopping trips, oil massages and mani pedi’s.

I know I live a rough life!

Just today Garrett and I took some time and endured a grueling hour of foot massages. For those who haven’t dealt with the “suffering” of a foot massage, let me open your eyes.

In China, getting a soothing rub isn’t the same investment as a massage at home. You don’t have to book your weekend appointment months in advance, you don’t have to save your pennies to pay for it and you don’t have to travel far and wide for a great masseuse.

Just a block from our house is a serene spa open until 2 am everyday of the week. Walk in anytime to find the comforts of small Chinese hands and cooling stone fountains. Spend an hour in a chair getting your feet slathered or on table getting your back caressed.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, these places are not legit. They come with happy endings and disease control! They’re the kind of places you drive by in the Tenderloin and think… who goes there? I have heard some horrific stories of “ovary massages” and “prostate massages.” I’ve even heard stories of embarrassment and rejection from different massage houses because they didn’t allow girls past the velvet ropes, or so to speak.

Once, after a long day, a few girlfriends walked into a massage house that they had heard amazing things about. With the dim lights, soft candles and haze of trickling waterfalls they lost sight of the dingy crevices. They perused the menu and with chinglish translations to guide them they did the point and pick and selected a service they thought would sooth their stresses away. (Or at least that tension that climbs into your shoulder blades and crawls into your neck, that’s the worse.) But after gesturing to the receptionist, they were shocked to get the gaze of rejection from her. “This massage only for men.” They did the point and pick over and over only to get rejected again and again. Finally they asked which ones were available to them… three of the 15 or so options were open to their relaxation needs. They slowly backed out, never to return.

But most places aren’t like this; for the most part they’re actually quite nice. Especially the one Garrett and I went to today.

Dragonfly is this heaven like destination where stone paths guide you, chirping birds relax your ears and warm cushions pad your bottom. They’re a little more expensive than some of the local places but they’re amazing. It’s like walking into the Four Seasons and having to pay only 20 bucks for your treatments.

For an entire hour Garrett and I floated on warm cushions in the darkness of waterfalls while tiny Chinese fingers rubbed our feet and wiped away our day’s journey. It was amazing!

There are other places which offer the same services and they range in price between 10 and 20 dollars and most are comparable in atmosphere but they’re a little harder to find. Once I had to enter a glooming skyscraper, go up to the 5th floor, roam the grimy hallways only to find the calmest of spas. I would have never found it, had I not been told exactly where to go. I don’t think those types of places are meant for foreigners. Nevertheless, the staff spoke enough English and they relaxed me into sleep.

I must also warn you, these little hands are buff. Just because the ladies are 5 feet tall, weigh 90 pounds soaking wet and have the face of a thirteen-year-old girl doesn’t mean they wont tear your skin and crush your muscles. I’ve walked away sore from the rubs of these ladies. It’s like when you meet them they seem so angel like and gentle and then you turn your back to them and the cast of Smackdown clobbers you like you would never imagine.

But it’s still amazing.