Gangnam Graffiti and other Shanghai Signage

Trip Start Aug 29, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Sunday, November 4, 2012

While I was dodging double decker buses in Hong Kong last weekend, the graffiti elves were hard at work. As if pulled from Shanghai's collective subconscious and splattered in all his glory onto the wall next to the Super Baby, PSY appeared performing his horsey dance. Oppa Gangnam Style, indeed. The song will never be out of my head now.

I was very worried that our little art district was losing it's rebellious attitude when, after a new wall had been erected for two whole weeks, it remained an obedient, blank, grey canvas. Imagine my glee when I walked to work on a rainy Monday morning and discovered this: 

The next morning, my coworker, Annie, and I went shopping to do a competitor analysis of luxury cosmetics products. Getting paid to shop! Paradise, right? 

Wrong! My 24 years of avoiding malls and makeovers like the plague had finally caught up with me. However, I was lucky to be in the hands of a true expert. As Annie took part in free skin tests and asked intuitive questions about various products and how they contribute to the brand image, I nervously went to my assigned counters and every once in a while managed to blurt out an awkward, irrelevant question in broken Chinese that I already knew the answer to in. "Uh, so this is mascara?" "Yep." "Okay".  

 It turns out Annie felt a little awkward about our shopping experience, too. "I never shop this early. It's only 10am!" she exclaimed. I never shop in general, so I felt pretty out of place until a bright orange sign next to Sephora caught my eye and made me feel right at home.

We passed up the invitation to Ozark our lives and went back to work at the M50 Art District, where we discovered that Annie wasn't the only one to get a makeover. Labbrand had new signs all the way up the stairs, impossible to miss! No more calls from frustrated, lost focus group participants and food delivery people! We'll be enjoying hot lunches on time from now on!
I spent the weekend with Huang Qian, her cousin, and some of her coworkers. Her cousin's 20th birthday was on Friday so we had a classic Chinese birthday dinner: hot pot and cheesecake. 

Saturday, we took the train all the way out to Tongji University, where she and her coworkers schooled me in badminton. Maybe I could've avoided this small-scale replica of China's olympic badminton victory if only the Tongji University officials had allowed us to fish for old folks instead. 

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