By mrbill on Apr 27, 2009
In a former life, I had aspirations of being a successful professional bowler. There were these little things that got in the way, like practice, training, conditioning, as well as dedication and the all important luck. I did cash several good tournaments, including the ABC (now USBC) Nationals (several times). In fact, bowling got me my first job in the computer business, and also brought me to Sun. Thanks to Brian Wong, Mark Curran (AKA Dr. Genome), and Bruce Curtis, I made contacts and friends that brought me here.
There, you have the background. While I don't compete these days, and rarely even touch a bowling ball, I do enjoy it much more now that it isn't quite so "important" and I am treating it as a game. Don't get me wrong, the week I turn 50, I will be out there on the PBA Senior's Tour, trying to relive my misspent youth.
So here I am in Shanghai China for some local customer visits, working with the teams to drive Q4 business and beyond. I love Shanghai, it is always full of surprises. I'm staying at a nice 4-star hotel a couple miles from the office. Walking through the lobby on the way to the office yesterday, I see bowling pins across from the concierge desk. What the heck?
I can't pass this one by. I wander over and see a sign for "Happy Hour" bowling at the Shanghai International Tennis Center Club. Whatever that is. Of course, China is famous for combinations. Lunch often consists of a "lunch set", a sampling of several different dishes or courses for a set price. Haircut and massage seems to be everywhere (make sure that the barber pole sign places actually \*have\* barber chairs before you wander in though, or you might find one of those "special massage" places). So why not tennis and bowling? Sure.
OK, so this I must see for myself. I then notice that the address for the "Shanghai International Tennis Center Club" is the same as the hotel. Weird. The next thing I notice is the shiny sign on the wall.
OK, so the Shanghai International Tennis Center Club is apparently in the basement of the hotel. Sure, why not. I have to see this for myself. At the bottom of the stairs is a typical hotel "service sign" in brushed brass.
Through the double doors, and sure enough, I find eight lanes of tenpin bowling, automatic scoring, and a nice lady behind a desk waiting to rent out fungus-laden shoes. Needless to say, shoes that fit my canal boat sized American feet isn't going to happen in a place like this.
Oh well, I guess I'll take a walk. About a block down the street, I come across this nifty giant bowling pin on the sidewalk.
What the heck, I have to go find this one too. First mistake, not taking my time to read signs. Apparently this building not only holds "Orden Bowling", it also contains a club called "Boiling". I blindly followed the signs to "Orden Boiling", and walked into a dimly lit "lady bar". Oops. Not bowling, definitely not bowling. On my way out, I notice the signs for the "BOWLING" on the third floor. Up I went (still blushing a bit from my brush with lady-bar-ness).
This place did have shoes my size, including some nifty Chinese knock-offs of Linds (great shoes). If the pro-shop was open, I would have been tempted to pick up a ball and shoes to leave in the Shanghai office for future visits. The prices on shoes were great, the Linds look-alikes were 300 yuan, or about $43 USD. The balls were a bit pricey, with Storm stuff in the 1800 to 3000 yuan range ($250 - $420 USD). Some of the lower range balls were well under $200 USD though, and I might have ended up buying if the shop was open and I could have had instant gratification. The proprietor was likely off getting a "haircut" though.
More from Shanghai later.