I can't in truth call my Shanghai trip a comedy of errors, although there were errors, one of which resulted in my flying home first class. And while some of the Engrish I encountered was laugh-out-loud gut-busting. I can't quite refer to it as a tragedy, either. What it was, however, was a slightly nebulous, inchoate paradigm-fucker of a time/history/distance shift.
Pudong, the area of Shanghai where Audi put us up, didn't exist in any way, shape or form resembling what it is now a mere fifteen years ago. The government laid a bunch of nightsoil in anticipation of a flood of foreign capital and a thousand skyscrapers bloomed. We joked after Chairman Li's speech in Detroit that the Changfeng press conference was an example of the Great Leap Sideways. Having seen Shanghai, I'm not so sure.