My Last Hundred Bucks: Shanghai Edition

by Robin Silver

21元 ($3.42) Taxi, to meet a friend for lunch; I was running late.

75元 ($12.22) Lunch: overpriced mostly-vegetarian yuppie food. Except for a sneaky bit of proscuitto (not advertised) in a sandwich that I ate, because my friend is Muslim/doesn’t dig on swine. And a green juice. There was pineapple and parsley and maybe spinach. Amino acids!

23元 ($3.75) Seven one-way trips on the metro, over the course of four days of intermittent but intense rainstorms.

129元 ($20.99) A trip to the international grocery store: cat food, smoked salmon, a loaf of bread, coconut water, a Ritter sport (Knusperflakes!) and something else but I actually have no idea what, now. Detergent maybe? Or eggs?

23元 ($3.75) One pack of Esse brand cigarettes (like Virginia Slims, sort of, but Korean), one lighter (which broke within 24 hours), four bottles of Tsingtao beer.

23元 ($3.75) My half of dumplings and two other dishes at a Dongbei restaurant, one of which was amazing green beans and potatoes and the other of which looked and smelled like greased gym socks.

100元 ($16.27) Re-upping phone credit. 100 RMB generally lasts me around a month.

65元 ($10.58) Went to Anhui province to “work at a convention” which actually ended up being me and my friend doing the rap from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on stage to celebrate a spa opening. They paid for train tickets, food and accommodation, but I bought a pair of sunglasses and snacks at the train station while waiting to get picked up.

60元 ($9.76) Cab ride home from the Hongqiao train station after aforementioned “gig” (I’m still not sure what to call it).

80元 ($13.00) Two grapefruit shochu drinks at a Japanese shochu-and-Asahi-only bar. Mismatched furniture, bartenders wearing unyielding smiles, and non-overwhelming reggae music. One of my favorite places in the whole world.

30元 ($4.88) I teach kindergarden during the week, and there is the best coffee shop around the corner, and if I don’t have a seat and a latte while the kids are napping I am pretty sure their safety and my sanity would both be compromised.

Robin Silver currently lives in Shanghai but is open to suggestions. Photo: Joan Campderros

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