I left Expo to meet YiZang: he’s heading to his gym where I could get massage and take shower before dinner. Mr. Mao dropped me off on HuaiHai Middle Road, in front of the Coach store. I didn’t have time to assemble the gifts before the traffic cop came, asking Mao to move. I got out of the car with armload of stuff, looking like a refugee.
His office locates at 淮海中路283号, 香港广场北楼 North Building at Hong Kong Plaza at 283 HuaiHai Zhong Lu @ SongShan Lu. One corner is Louis Vuitton, one Tiffany & Co. and third one is where I was, the flagship store of Coach. YZ was nowhere in sight so I decided to rush into Coach, trying to make my gifts presentable. All the sales clerks were young and hip, and severely out numbered shoppers. They were more than happy to oblige with shopping bags but sorry no boxes and no filmy paper linings.
YZ hasn’t changed much since 2003, lean and fit. The day pass to his gym is CNY80 (about US$12), which offers only a workout floor. The one hour massage cost CNY100 for an hour. I don’t do workout so headed to the locker room. The facility was nice, a large room with lounging chairs and neat lavatory that connected to the sauna and steam room. The rain shower heads pour down enough water to keep me happy. Each stale has curtain but no one seemed to bother using it.
Its a government run restaurant. YZ has been eating there since he was little with his parents, very authentic for the locals. The smoke permeate the dining hall. Since there was only three of us, we couldn’t take a private room – there wasn’t one available anyway. We had to wait for 40 minutes: YZ called that morning for reservation for an hour but no one picked up the phone!
Shanghai cuisine isn’t my favored because its too sweet and oily for my taste but this one is pretty decent. They didn’t offer wine so we washed it down with beer – the iconic American Lager – Budweiser, which is one of the Expo’s sponsor.
Food began to arrive and drinks were served.
“May I have napkin?” I looked around.
“两块钱.” The young waitress replied with a poker face. CNY2 for a small pack of tissue.
YZ laughed out loud. He likes to see me embarrassed.
As it turned out, its not only China instills a meager charge for napkin. Lunch at famed roast goose restaurant Yung Kee in Hong Kong, napkin is only provided upon request but dinner is full setting, the waiter explained to me. With all the green talks, Asia might just be doing little more than USA.