Sunday, October 17, 2010

A day in the life of an American Bartender in Shanghai

A minute by minute true story
by Logan B. 

A day in the life of an American Bartender in Shanghai
by Logan B

Everything here is true

For some reason my marketing manager Estelle starts forwarding me emails about events that are happening throughout the month at the place I work. I turn the phone on silent and go back to sleep.

The phone starts ringing I switch it to vibrate but now I’m up. I’m pretty hung over and check my body if there are clothes on then I went home alone, however if I wake up naked then I must’ve had company.

11:15 am
Start checking emails on my shitty Samsung Anycall phone running what I believe is a bootsy version of Andriod. Really want to order some food from Sherpa’s for delivery because I’ve got no groceries but my head hurts to much to do anything except mercy call McDonalds. Big Mac attack - again.

Seriously considering going back to sleep but I don’t want to miss the delivery guy...again.
Ponder the question, can you be black balled from McDonalds delivery service in Shanghai if you miss 3 out of every 5 deliveries?

Wake up to the impatient knocking on my door from a delivery guy. I stumble over to the door, quick to throw on a robe as to not expose him to the real secret of my success.

I feel disgusted with myself for my Mcproblem. Stumble into the shower.

So fresh and so clean and I take the time to straighten up my apartment. The Ayi won’t be in for another day or two and I know I’ll have company before hand.

Feeling better I head over to the local police station to register myself in my new neighborhood for my new place. It’s weird and no one is speaking English. I call the expo help line to have them translate for me over the phone to the lady cop who keeps saying strange things to me.

I sign some papers and get things stamped apparently  my papers are in order but my passport is about to be over extended and I’m told to get to the Bureau of Entry and Exit Asap.

1:25 pm
Jump on the Metro and take an underground train to Pudong with my fellow co-conspirator Anissia. We take the 2 to the Museum of Science and Technology exit where it seems as if they have a huge fake market set up in and around the station. Bombarded by calls for fake watches and good deals

1:30 pm
Consult my email on my phone about which direction to walk to find the bureau. End up walking towards the wrong slanted building

1:35 pm
Walk the right way, pass a huge gray concrete building with a strong communist presence, lots of children are doing marching band stuff - buses lined along the street and there is a  light skinned Muslim guy selling a mountain of what looks like cashews covered with what looks to be watermelon covered gummi candies. Stop walking and turn around and walk with Anissia back to the station - we think we’re lost.

1:40 pm
Call our friend Sable who is on a modeling gig in Chengdou about directions. She sends us a long text about going either East or West and I kind of tune it out and follow the gut.

1:45 pm
Pass the light skinned Muslim guy for the third time, he comments on it. Head towards where the marching bands are competing. It’s weird to see that many children without rhythm.

1:50 pm
Head in the building, it’s like a huge bureaucratic mall  and head to the escalator and hit level 3. Take a number and fill out forms with inexplicable  questions, such as “Name a host or someone who is vouch for you”. Head to the second floor and take passport photos and then to the first floor to get coffee. At the ATM machine realize I left my Bank Of China debit card in another ATM earlier in the day.

Try not to panic

Repeat to myself my favorite Buddist saying,”The things you can change there is no need to worry about and the things you can’t change you don’t need to worry about.” Ask Anissia to cover the bill for our passport renewals.

My number is called and I go to the police officer in charge of Visas. I’m a day over and my rakish good looks and rakish charm fail to win her over. This whole time I thought Chinese girls liked me too...
I’m told to head to another office for people with expired passports. Walk over to Anissia who is having an equal amount of passport problems.

Instead of being a responsible adults we bail, passing the light skinned Muslim guy again - what is he selling?

Hit the train back to Puxi

Without money I realized I’m screwed so I borrow 100 RMB for the bar’s tip jar and take a cab to the ATM near my house where I left it. No luck at the ATM and I call my Chinese friend to ask her to ask the clerk at the store counter if they found it.

They shake their head and the cursing begins

I’ve run out of English curse words and have switched to a mash up between Mandarin and Spanish

Hail a cab back to my issuing bank and to have my mind blown

The teller tells me to cancel my card and makes me produce my passport  which I have. Cancel the lost card and ask to withdraw some money.
The clerk tells me without a bank card they’re not allowed to let me withdraw any of my money.
I point out that I have my passport of proof that I’m me and that they just verified all that proof when they cancelled my bank card.

Call my Chinese friend to help sort out the situation. She comes to the bank

I can’t tell if they are yelling at each other or just having a conversation

OK, they are yelling.

No, no wait - it’s just a conversation.

3:10 pm
Get frustrated due to lack of sleep, dehydration and money and tell the teller to just cancel my bank account with them and give me all my cash. Am told by both my Chinese friend and the teller that they can’t close my account without a bank card. Are they messing with me?

3:11 pm
Throw down my hands in win that one China

4 pm
Head to work

to be continued in the a day in the Night of an American Bartender in Shanghai.

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