I’m pedalling, hog-wild, good for the cellulite I guess. Urban grand-heat and I’m staring, gazing, wiping my glowing forehead. No time for pondering, biker on my right, pedi-cab on the left, nueveou-rich four-wheelers in front and behind. Fast, through the orange light, almost there, almost in. No, stop, my tyre’s melted on the asphalt. It is scorching here, init? One on you, global warming! I get off, I’m a sloth, shuffling into a nearby lane, unfamiliar and steaming. Excuse me, ni hao, hello ma’am, where do you do repairs? That way, lady, that’s your guy over there. Smells like a village at a community pig slaughtering. Nah, not here, white girl, but we sell pumps. 28 yuan. Hell, why not. I’m puffing, blowing up this rubber bastardo, nothing. I’m sweating through my fingernails.
I push it to another lane. Taking my time, gazing at the drying lingerie and rusty buckets, I’m way too late now anyway. No worries, life’s simple, one must always remember that. I’m lamenting, thinking of a newspaper article, watching the flies prancing on the pavement and notice, from the corner of my eyes, how he’s deconstructing my bike, bit by bit, with his old, wrinkled hands. Oil’s trembling off his turtle-like palms. There goes the chain, the brake flew across my face 5 minutes ago. We’re standing in the street, no shade, ooh, those guys over there are moving, their trucks’ve arrived. Awakens me from my coma the iron lock that he throws on my foot by chance. I’m massaged in oil since the wheels and on me at one point. I’m embraced by these metal parts, hot and grimy. Strangely, the tools come alive, they decide to prance around in the heat and some of the tiny ones land on my glowing body. And they stick to my wet skin. Perhaps I am gradually turning into a bicycle. My private satire.
Ready, I get back on one more time. I’m too late from class so I decide to shamble along slowly, looking at my steaming shadow and I’m saved by this paced-out rhythm, which is not my usual style: the entire thing falls apart, this heavy-metal-monster. I spring off it, I shove it next to me one more time. They are watching me. They are listening to the cacophony of these elements. Cheerful looking chap peering from under a wooden gate. Good day, Sir. He saves me. Smiles. With and at me. Of course. Flips it up, fast, no staggering here only some old-school expertise. He at once flashes his snazzy little tools, he patches and fastens on what is left. A blink of an eye.
I come home. I need a shower. My love, Shanghai.
Posted in Rhapsodies and Blues, Shanghai has its moments | Leave a comment

Start. And All We Animals Are Equal!

Start. Restart. Coming out of hermit-land slowly.

It always leaves me sort of flummoxed when a guy believes that squeezing the lady’s nipples can in any possible way be appealing during the heat of a spontaneous, yet just as meaningful, one-night jollification. Could he, please, at least read my non-verbal response or do I really need to hiss it out for him to stop?  There’s no room for polite manners now. Thank you. Too late, but yeah. What’s the fun in pain? Three days in and perhaps, finally, I can stop consoling them. Perhaps next time I’ll pinch in some time to talk about our interpretation of the biblical sense. Beforehand.

Now on to channeling my energies to restore another twin-spot: my tonsils are rebelling again so wildly as if there was no tomorrow. My doctor told me a year ago that I should get surgery asap but no thanks as on normal days, yes, on less neurotic days, I manage to keep them under control. Bueno, I guess it didn’t help either that last week, on the way home from work, on one balmy but just as high-strung, afternoon,  I suddenly surprised myself with a bottle of Chivas. I politely refused the plastic bag at the counter then watched the shiny bottle dangle gently in my bicycle basket in front of me. I know it’s probably time I stopped peeking into its eye for the time being.

I’m so sick it feels my body is actually proud of it. I wonder if it’s the backlash of my little ones’ earlier twinge or I’m knocked out by that petty row I’d performed with my boss earlier this week. Well, it fits I guess, we really were at each other’s throats. “I’m a woman but I’m used to being allowed to have an opinion, ha!” I called him evil. I spelt it out for him even! There’s some weird-great energy in articulating this word. The letter “e”. Like Old Major, no? All the animals are eeeequal! Followed by the vibrant “v”, then that selfish “i”. Of course. The final “l” just lingers there at the end of the conversation, with my mouth open, tongue hanging on my palate, and the whole thing is making my jaw drop and my eyes droop. I’m flailing a minute longer. And here go my tonsils. It’s clearly a reaction, the body answers to a fret. What’s the point in causing pain? Why is it that bosses, chiefly my Mr. Mousy Puissance-freak , think it is in any way a good management strategy to bully their staff?



So, this is the way a new chapter begins for Hotpottimemachine. What I want is to tell you now is my Shanghai story; a journal, a journey, of impressions that never cease to escape me in this vertical maze, blended with the fiction that breathes in between the lines of my urban routine.

Posted in Chronicle of My Entanglement in Coccoon-land | Leave a comment

Daily Bread

I was browsing Taobao one day looking for a cheap toaster and bumped into this one. Interesting background, too!

Posted in Good to Know | 1 Comment

Summer Rooftop Atanu

I’ve decided to put some old photos up now, just to cheer me up. It’s been raining all day and on days like this I tend to think it will always be like this, I’ll never see the sun and blue skies again.

Ironically, it was raining, too at this party (organized by local legendary creative agency The Ice Cream Truck), but that’s different. It was a balmy September night and on the Bund, and while we were miles away from any swimmable beach, it did have some  seaside feeling to it. Ooh, I know, the venue, Atanu is in a lighthouse!

Posted in Eat Pray Move | 2 Comments

The Day I Sketched My Libido on the Blackboard

Childish self-consciousness meets adult (sub)consciousness.  What started out as an innocent drawing of the California Shasta Dam, with a huge, winding river and a massive flood gate, due to some sudden, impromptu strokes of my chalk, turned out to be quite a sizable, well, penis.

Oh, yes, and this wasn’t with one of my primary school groups where nobody’d have noticed a thing because they’re too occupied with their given Apple product under their desks, but I was facing a bunch of sparkly-eyed 17-year olds, who would see innuendos into anything. So, naturally, they did notice so they clicked immediately. First, they laughed at my clumsy attempt to depict this certain technological breakthrough of a modern irrigation system, then quickly turned all their attention to my spectacular blushing. I was flooded with embarrassment.

What I find most interesting here, (nah, not my subconscious acting up publicly as these kinds of things had happened before and will again, I’m pretty sure) is how these scalawags reacted. So normal, after all! ‘Xcuse my prejudice. Sure, at this age all they have in mind is their hormone-driven thoughts and desires. But. In China, and I’ve had so many conversations about this, people’s general attitude to sex and private parts is very different. All throughout a child’s education, from primary to university, there’s no single biology class on human genitals, or if there is, the class is temporarily divided and girls learn about female parts while boys learn about male parts of the body.

I’ve met, not only teenagers and young adults, but many 40-50 year olds as well, who are rather disgusted by the whole idea of nudity and sex. They are quick to label anything “yellow” (pornographic) that has, even remotely, something to do with their idea of taboo. Sure, fine, keep these lambs innocent as long as possible, but how about opening up to the idea that a human touch (including holding hands as some believe) does not serve the idea of reproduction. This approach, stemming from general repression and naiveté, harmoniously aligns with the government’s ideology, too, boasting how pure Chinese society is. There’s absolutely no need to watch anything that might be remotely vulgar, so let’s just chuck these X-rated stuff over the Great Wall. Ooh, there’s some Japanese clips? No problemo, that’s different – “those guys are crazy”.

Bueno. These kids in my class – they have the spirit! Finally my theory got defied that Chinese kids sometimes act like robots and totally repress animal instincts. China is changing indeed. What’s more, after a few minutes of hearty laughter, I was able to continue my lesson plan on American agriculture.

Posted in Good to Know | 2 Comments

I Want This Perrito!

Shanghainese are mad about pets. (So much about those “Have you tried dog meat yet? questions). I’m sure the one-child policy plays some part in it, and they are simply really hard to resist, but these little guys are, clearly, family. On weekends, I ofter run into a bunch of perrito-fans who probably congregate to talk about the latest doggy fashion and prices for hours on end. Check out those shoes!

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Zendai Himalayas Centre

It’s a bit scary, I think. It reminds me of a mammoth’s ribcage and the lights definitely give the whole area some eerie gangnam. I tried to do some research and find out about this Himalayas Centre (sounded cool to begin with but I dunno what I’d expected, some long-haired Tibetan cattle inside?) all I’ve found was a shopping mall and a hotel at this former Expo site.

Posted in Good to Know | Leave a comment