Me and Chairman Mao
  Saturday in the park.
No, I didn't think it was the Fourth of July, mostly because it's February and I'm not a complete moron. (For those of you might think otherwise, I did say "complete.") But as we did go to the park--Zhongshan, for the record--last Saturday, the subject just seemed appropriate. Why did we go to the park? Two reasons: because it was sunny and because we had never been there, although I'd be lying if I said the chance to hum "Saturday, in the park / think it was the fourth of July" over and over and over to myself (it's the only words to the song I know) didn’t play some small part in the decision.

Naturally, I brought my camera, so I could take plenty of pictures of … well, whatever, since you never really know what you're going to see when you go for a walk around here. (Like random public urination, for example!) And since I managed to take quite a few pictures on our walk (partially because we got completely lost on our way to the DVD "store"), I thought I would share them with you. If you'd like, you can think of it as "slice of life" entry--what's it's like to just wander around Shanghai on a somewhat sunny Saturday afternoon. Of course, if you'd like you can also think of it as me posting a bunch of random pictures because I'm too lazy to do anything else, but I think the first way sounds much more pleasant, don't you?

The first thing we saw after taking the subway to the Zhongshan Park stop: a weird-looking building. I'm not sure what it is about Shanghai, but buildings with large gaps or arches smack in the middle--especially arches--are a dime-a-dozen. Someday, I'll have to do a post strictly on weird-looking buildings. But for today, you'll have to settle for just this one:

Next … well, next we stopped a stand that was selling fresh Belgian waffles (I got mine dipped in chocolate!), but the next picture I took was of this sign. What do naughty families do with their pets? I'm sure I don't want to know:

(Side note: I don't understand a word of their website, but it's awesome and you should all go there immediately.)

A random wall mural:

Inside Zhongshan park. Naturally, we headed directly to FUN DAZZLE. Really, how could you not?

It's the "Inertial Slide"! Not sure if this counts as AMUSEMENT or FUN DAZZLE, although from my perspective I'm not sure how slowly peddling a funny -looking car around a short, barely-elevated track is amusing or fun:

I kept hoping this ride was safer than it looked, but just in case, I kept my distance:

Some people playing music. (Or, as Holly put it, "old person karaoke.") The lady with the microphone--you can only see the back of her head here (oops)--is not so much singing as she is screeching like a cat that is both dying and in heat. Really. At one point she made this awful wailing sound that literally hurt my ears to hear:

The "guitar" (or whatever) player. He doesn't look too excited. Well, either that or, in true rock star fashion, he did a lot of drugs before the show. I'm not sure which is more likely:

Speaking of not looking too excited … apparently, helium balloons don't do if for the kids these days. How depressed does she look? Then again, maybe it's just her outfit:

How about some naval warfare practice? As far as I could tell, it involves getting into one of these boats and then try to hit the floating balls (AKA mines) in the water with the gun mounted on the front (AKA bow). If you managed to hit the ball, it squirted water all over the place, getting pretty much everyone within a five-foot radius soaking wet. I believe that's what they call splash damage:

A guy with one of those wheel-on-a-string things trying desperately to keep the attention of a girl walking past, proving conclusively that: a) there are hippies in China; and b) they do stupid shit like play with strings and sticks, just like hippies in the US. Really, the only surprising thing was that there wasn't a guy sitting nearby trying to play a didgeridoo:

Quiet time in a random pagoda:

Ancient Greece? No, Zhongshan Park! Hard to tell, I know:

Go fly a kite! Um, okay:

When we left Zhongshan Park, we decided to walk to the DVD store and wandered by this strange castle-like structure, which--besides its primary purpose as a defensive fortification--is both a bar and a karaoke joint as well. And if that wasn't weird enough, this is the second castle-like building that I know of in Shanghai. One's an anomaly, but two is starting to form a pattern. I mean, I thought the first castle was just a strange, random thing, but now, who knows? Is Shanghai dotted by castles? A week ago would have said no, but now I'm not so sure:

As I mentioned above, we got completely lost on our way to the DVD store, mostly because we went down the wrong street from the start. Oops. But we did walk past some interesting stuff, and I don't just mean the castle! We also walked by some older Shanghai homes that were in the process of being demolished, presumably because the city really needs more KFCs and shopping malls: the one of each per block ratio that Shanghai currently enjoys is just not cutting it. Anyway, here's a picture of one place we went by. If I was a pompous ass, I'd call it "The Price of Progress" or something. But since I'm not--I'm just an ass--I'll just put the picture up and leave it at that. Jerk!:

I'm not sure what's worse in this picture: all the garbage in the alleyway, or the fact that most of these buildings were still inhabited. I think maybe it's a toss-up:

I'm guessing this used to be the block's toilet? And if that thought isn't bad enough, how about this one: since this toilet is out of commission, what are they using now? Ew!

For a good time, call 130-8549-0777! Or something:

Soon after this, we gave up and found a cab to take us to the DVD store, where we picked up some movies for the night (including both Munich and Walk the Line, both of which were good) before going home.

However, there was one more photo. This picture is a typical Chinese accident scene: a few police vehicles and a crowd so large gathered around the actual police that you never have any idea of what happened because there are too many people around to see. Seriously, I have never seen such gawkers as I have here. See a big pack of people in one place in Shanghai? Ten to one someone just got hit by a car, or something worse:

And that, my friends, was my Saturday. Jealous much? No, I didn't really think, but I at least had to try …

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