Since it's probably boring just to see pics of me and Taeko out on the town, I thought I'd introduce you to a few of the more oustanding of my fellow travelers here in Shanghai. The students on program are, as a whole, rather outstanding. Maybe that has something to do with the nature of teenagers who decide to challenge themselves with a language such as Mandarin (or Russian, Japanese, German, etc - essentially anthing other than the standard Spanish or French) and decide to embark on a weird summer program in China.
This is Mr. F. He's a hoot, and a smarty pants to boot. Sobes had a brief run-in with him over IM one night. (By the way Sobes, you rather shocked - though intrigued at the same time -- him with your insistence that I play a certain song by Lou Reed.) I think he seriously wishes he was attending that conference - maybe the Duc can sympathize.
Meet Miguel, a dead-pan ex-phalangist from Mexico. He's slow (physically, not of intellect) - maybe deliberative is the better word here - he's deep, and he delivered an unintentionally hilarious monotone version of 'Labamba' on karaoke night. As the English translation of the sign to the 'Mountain Villa Embracing Garden' instructed: embrace the beautiful surroundings. [For Matt Asbil: this proves that my dislike for Mexican food does not extend to Mexican people.]
It's now 11:15pm on the last night of program. WOP knows my standard procedure for the last two days of summer programs, and this one is no different: I haven't slept in two days as I spend the entire night and morning wrestling with hundreds of jpeg files, moviemaker, and a computer suffering from attacks of the cycber-eqivalent of SARS (at 2am last night the programs froze and shut down. I lost a full eight hours of work. Somehow I pulled off a decent slide/movie presentation for the kids by 1:20pm.) We have our final dinner out tonight - so it's all over except the hugging and crying and packing into busses tomorrow morning. Then I'm taking Tex out on the town to have a suit made and then a long-overdo birthday lunch at Jean Georges (yes, it was just that good!). Parents will begin to arrive for the 10 day travel extension by tomorrow afternoon, then it's off to Beijing on Sunday evening.