June 7th, 2002


Day Four In China: Miss Cyprus Was Robbed

7:45 am. Woke up and left the hotel. Had a 10am flight to Shanghai to catch.

Shanghai's shiny new airport in Pudong was huge but empty inside, kinda like Oprah. After a forty-minute cab ride, T and I were in Shanghai. As far as Asian cities go, this is THE place to be. Hordes of ambitious people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Korea have all flocked to this town with the belief that Shanghai is some sort of giant rocketship that'll take them to Planet Filthy Rich.

A few blocks from our hotel is one of Shanghai's most trendy shopping districts. Mounted on the outside of one of the many malls was a 30-ft screen televising a World Cup game. Below, there were hundreds of people cramming the plaza and sidewalks, eyes glued to every second of the most boring sport in the universe.

Ever since I've been in China, I haven't been able to avoid World Cup fever. As far as diseases go, I'd put World Cup fever up there with herpes in terms of sheer annoyance and persistence. For a country whose team has never won a World Cup game or barely even played any games for that matter, they are apeshit over soccer. As I sit here writing this entry in an Internet cafe, a few feet away there are dozens of screaming Chinese people watching a match in the lobby between Sweden and some country in Africa they probably didn't even know existed til today.

T and I headed over to a potluck dinner which was a going away party for some guy named Phil. We stopped by a hole-in-the-wall joint to pick up food. This place literally was a hole in the wall. Right under the shadows of its spanking new skyscrapers, Shanghai's filled with cramped, dingy neighborhoods that are honeycombed with trillions of tiny businesses that sell everything from $1 t-shirts to $1 dinners. Our seedy joint was actually pretty cool-looking in a Wang KarWai movie sort of way. With its filthy white tile walls and harsh flourescent lighting, you half-expected to see a puffy-eyed forlorn-looking hitman sadly slurping his noodles in the corner.

Our two dollars got us six entire dishes - God bless Communism - which were a surprise hit at the potluck. The second most popular dish was a punch made of scotch and green tea. Surprisingly tasty, and good for you too since everybody knows the health benefits of scotch.

It turned out we knew quite a few people at the party, since many of them were from LA. One of the guys introduced to us was apparently a famous VJ on Asia's version of MTV, Channel V. If you're familiar with Channel V, the guy's name was David Wu ... and you're a damn FOB for watching it. Losing his teenybopper appeal at 38, David was exploring post-VJ career opportunities like acting, singing, and club opening. He told us he was opening a bar this Saturday and invited us, knowing that T and I would probably double his vodka profit margins that night.

We left the potluck and met up with this guy Darryl at one of the Shanghai's most popular clubs, Park 97. Darryl, God bless his soul, owns one of China's largest modeling agencies - although there's no way in hell you'd know this by looking at him. The guy looks like he should be teaching trigonometry in Jersey. One of Darryl's models actually got second runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant last week as Miss China. I actually saw the pageant and was impressed with the winner, Miss Russia, who was a Ph.D. student, black belt, and probably saved a starving Ethiopian family from a burning plane. But I thought Miss Cyprus should've won for trying to make her bobbling boobies pop out during the swimsuit competition.

Yes, yes, I admit I saw the damn show ... but only because T made me record it on my TiVo. You see, T had met Miss China at a party back in November, before she was even Miss China. T really didn't think much of her, but found her tall, hot and slim enough to ask for her number and email.

He barely kept in touch with her, but you can imagine how things changed when he found out she won the Miss China pageant. Now all of a sudden he wouldn't stop talking about her, like the dumbass had suddenly found his future wife. I personally thought that China could've picked better, the chick had a pretty big face if you can visualize that. Even Darryl admitted to me later that they were thinking of dropping her from their roster because of her lack of success in landing gigs. But now that she almost won the Miss Universe pageant, everybody wants a piece of that second runner-up ass.