Dinner at the Japanese/Korean restaurant.
Disclaimer: If you landed on this page because you need to apply for a Vietnam VISA in Shanghai, no worries. Just go to the third floor of the Hua Chen Financial Plaza in 900 Pudong Avenue (浦东大道900号华辰金融大厦) or call the Vietnam Consulate for further information at the number 021-68555871.
June the 25, Monday, four p.m.
I’m writing this post while I’m waiting for my passport at the Vietnam Consulate.
I arrived in Shanghai yesterday and spent the evening drinking Korean soju and Japanese beer in Pudong with some English, Swedish and Chinese friends.
The idea was to stay awake till three a.m. and watch the football match Italy – England.
And we did stay awake, which was great because we won (being Italian I grant myself the right to use word “we” when I talk about the Italian football team).
The only problem was that, after the match, I only had an hour of sleep if I wanted to reach the Vietnam Consulate at nine a.m.
Why so early? I wanted to apply and get the VISA today so I figured out I should arrive there as soon as possible.
A typical breakfast in Shanghai.
On my way to the consulate I ate a yogurt and one of those street-pancakes Chinese vendors sell everywhere at breakfast time. It seems that in Shanghai they like to fill it with sausages…
Looking backward to my choice, the pancake was a mistake because while I was applying for the VISA it triggered a chemical reaction on my stomach with the Asahi beer I was drinking four hours before.
Or maybe the problem was the yogurt?
Anyway, while I was explaining to the girl at the Consulate that I preferred a same-day-VISA I started to sweat and I almost puked on her face.
This would have maybe compromised my VISA application but I’m not sure…
At the end I managed to apply without vomiting and she told me to come back at five p.m. to collect my passport.
Super Brand Mall in Shanghai.
On managing hangover
Having to wait eight hours, I decided to find a Starbucks (or any other cafe with a decent wireless connection and an an acceptable coffee).
It was not a great idea because I had to walk about an hour before to reach the first Starbuck inside the Super Brand Mall (what a name!).
The sun was beating me right on the head and the hangover amplified by my lack of sleep didn’t help. I guess only the three bottles of Nong Fu water prevented a premature hearth stroke.
Ça va sans dire, I lost all my day wondering on the Internet without a goal.
At three p.m. I logged in MatadorU’s forum – whether you believe it or not, I signed up for a creative writing course – and found out that Kate, the Writing Lab Coordinator, had read my last submission and provided me some hilarious feedback such as:
The glaring thing about your first sentence is that the word “snatch” can be a nasty word for a vagina, and when you go on to talk about sex objects, well, the sentence is confusing enough for me without the potential for misunderstanding of the “snatches” you “got.”
I laugh out loud.
The I-only-wear-Gucci-silk-made-underwear Shanghainese that is sipping a cold coffee while playing with her super-chic-Ipod looks at me as I’m a pariah.
I almost tells her:
“Did you see Snatch, the movie with Brad Pitt? Did you have any idea that “snatch” is also a nasty word for vagina? Because I didn’t. Shit, I must do something for my English.”
But then I decide to let it go.
Coming back to my English, I’m aware my writing skills are not exactly comparable to the ones of Lord Byron or Charles Bukowski (he’s the man). I already acknowledged it many times.
However today I realized that my English is not simply bad. It is more as a filter between you that are reading this blog and my thoughts.
Charles Bukowski (Photo Credits: Gaz Metal).
Should I improve my English?
Out of frustration (and energies), I thought for a minute to give up writing in English and just keep blogging in Italian, a language I can actually use without having my readers wondering why I’m talking about vaginas when in fact I want only to convey the idea of a fragment of conversation.
But I’m too stubborn to give up so easily and instead I came up with a plan to fix my English:
- As suggested by Kate, I signed up for MyLanguageExchange.com. I will try to get a couple of languages partners willing to help me fixing the vaginas – err… the mistakes – of the blog.
In exchange I will help them out with Italian. At the pace I write, I will probably need two or three languages partners… Let’s see if I can find them.
BTW, if you are reading this post and you are interested, drop me a line ; )
If Italian language doesn’t fit you ’cause you judge it useless (you would be right), I’m also pretty good in mathematics, Italian style cooking, Argentinian cursing (pretty different from any other “Spanish” cursing), chess playing, remembering quotes I read on airports toilets (so far my favorite was in Frankfurt “England-Germany 3-0: a football world cup and two world war“) and dancing salsa (thought I must admit I’m quite rusty on the last one).
- I will write my posts BEFORE in English and then in Italian. I think this “small” point will make a difference. You believe it or not, in Italian I’m able to express quite complex concepts and nuances that I cannot translate in English (not with my actual English level at least).
The result is that when I translate from Italian to English I’m forced to push my language limits, check a lot of new words on the dictionary (as “snatch”) and I end up collecting an unlimited series of no sense sentences.
- I will spend more time on editing. Most of my errors come down to stupid mistakes as “make researches” instead of “do research”. I guess I can fix a lot of them by checking an online dictionary when I have a doubt.
This plan presents a huge payoff, that is I can actually learn how to write decent English, and two drawbacks.
First, I have no idea where the hell I’m going to find the time to teach Italian or Argentinian cursing (I cannot pretend to have someone checking my English without pay him/her back).
Second, I like to update this blog at least once per week. However, if I need to wait for someone to check my posts before to publish them, this constraint may be difficult to respect unless I plan my scheduling a couple of months ahead, which I doubt is going to happen any time soon (I don’t even know in which town I will be in two months).
Well, let’s sign up for MyLanguageExchange.com and figure out the details!
[Bukowski's Photo Credits: Gaz Metal.]