Sunday, October 28, 2007

Death to Sinosoc

4:00 PM - check email. Notice that Shanghai Ultra is not in town and so not able to advise on the game. Too bad. (Note: Shanghai Ultra's site has a series of football match reports which possibly constitute an entirely new literary genre. Check them out.)

4:10 PM - Check Sinosoc for match details. Yes, tonight, 7:45, Shanghai Shenhua - Shaanxi Baorong Chanba. Where? Hope it's at Shanghai Stadium just down the road, walking distance. Nope. Apparently, it's at the Hongkou Stadium on the other side of town. Check Lonely Planet for address - 715 Dongtiyuhui Rd.

7:00 PM - Head down to conference reception and try to entice my friend R, possibly the only OECD employee ever to support Gillingham, to come with me to the match. Nothing doing.

7:30 PM - Get front desk employee to translate Stadium address into Chinese so I can communicate with taxi driver. I'm ready to go!

7:50 PM - I'm a little late, but what the hell. In off-peak hours at least, the freeways here are incredibly fast.

7:55 PM - Arrive at 715 Dongtinyuhui. Lonely Planet is full of shit. There is no stadium here - just a gym. Hasty conference with driver to figure out how to tell him where to go.

8:00 PM - We find the stadium. Hurrah!

8:05 PM - Stadium closed. No game. Maybe Sinosoc was wrong and it is at the Shanghai Stadium after all. Grab another cab and hightail it back to south Shanghai.

8:25 PM. Nope. Some cheezy concert called "A Wonderful World" instead. Glumly walk home up the surprisingly glitzy North Caohi Rd.

8:45 PM. Consider the possibility that the Chinese do not use the European convention of home team first. This would be idiotic, but it opens the possibility that I might be able to watch a game in Wuhan next weekend.

9:20 PM. Arrive back at hotel. No, the Chinese *do* use the home-team first convention, and Sinosoc is just a lying dirtbag of a website.

Not a good night. Consolation prize: CCTV 5 is showing Milan-Roma live. Maybe they'll show Arsenal-Liverpool afterwards?

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