Daily Archives: January 4, 2013

Photo Collage – Sort Of

Today we bring you a variety of photos from around Shanghai and Jiaxing.

Copy Cat

Crowing Rooster

Okay, this photo is actually taken off the Internet. However, I think it is close enough to the one which has entered our neighbourhood in the last few weeks. Now, when I sit on the couch during the day – at ANY time during the day, I can hear him crowing on one side of the apartment and the damn dog barking on the other side. I don’t know which one I would like to kill more – although I could eat the rooster, I guess.

Bottles

Yesterday at about 1:00 we took down the recycling from the heater (cardboard box) and remnants of Ken’s visit. When we went back down 10 minutes later (literally), the box for the heater AND the box for the bottles were gone – just not the bottles. The bottles must be someone else’s job, Terry thinks.

Condoms

Okay, do you remember the days when you had to suck up the courage to ask the pharmacist for condoms? Well, now you get them at the checkout counter at Walmart.

Shanghai World Financial Tower

Once again the view from the 100th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Tower – just for you Karen.

Snow on the Lions

We woke up on December 30th to see snow on the Lions – granted it was at Jing’an Temple and not in West Vancouver, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Meet in Care

This was on an open staircase at the Jiaxing Grand Theatre. I assume they mean that if you walk into this we will meet at the hospital?

The Bag

These are the bags you get at many of the Fabric Market shops. It says: Welcome to Shanghai. Evaded affection. Pieces of pieces of the heart. Thank you Very much. Anyone want to offer opinions on the middle two phrases?

Security

The security sign at the entrance to the fabulous Shanghai Museum. We weren’t sure whether or not #3 meant you could or couldn’t get in. Also, as per #6, I guess if you didn’t bring your passport you couldn’t get your things back.

Soap

Good to know.

ExitWe had a great breakfast at Mr. Pancake House on Dec. 31st. (Well it was great except they brought me bacon instead of sausage and when I asked about it, they just said that that was what the waiter entered into the computer and so too bad….). Anyway, other than the front door, this is the only Exit from the restaurant. The problems are:

  1. There is a fixed banquette in front of the door,
  2. The door opens inwardly,
  3. The top of the door is higher than the brown beam.

Other than that, an excellent fire escape door.

And finally, I have no idea.

Christmas

And On the 127th Day There Was Heat…

Isn't She a Beauty!

Isn’t She a Beauty!

As Terry said in previous last blog, the heater had arrived and was being installed. Today we have regular heat where we can set the temperature and it warms up the apartment – well the living/dining room at least. The bedrooms still need their own heaters but at least we are warm when we are at home. Additionally, I used the cardboard to cover the windows in “Ken’s” room so it isn’t so much of an ice chest when we go in there.

Now, before you watch the accompanying video, I need to provide some background information:

  1. We are on the ninth (9th) Floor,
  2. The installers had planned on getting to our apartment by 4:30, but got held up on another job and arrived at 6,
  3. It was bloody cold – and windy – outside,
  4. We waited until Ken had left to get it installed,
  5. Terry was more worried about the installation than the installers (listen for her audible gasp),
  6. I think I am really strong in my left arm, and the filming MUST go on (watch for my reflection),
  7. I have edited it down from 30 minutes to under 5 – and well worth every second,
  8. As usual, I recommend you start the video, go away for coffee and come back in 10 minutes and rerun it to avoid the stopping and starting. (Just wondering if that works from your end – could someone let me know, please.)

Enjoy.

Bits and Pieces

These next ideas come to mind I think back on our recent week in Shanghai and while walking in Jiaxing this blustery January 2nd.

I was under the mistaken impression that there is not much homelessness in China.  Not true, according to China Today and other sources.  The places hardest hit are the big urban centers where migrants head to seek gainful employment.  What they find instead is work that keeps them well below the poverty line (if there is such a thing in China) and makes upward mobility impossible.  Migrant workers are forced to the suburbs, which become ghettos.   This may well be what is pictured in the photo of an area on the way to Jiaxing South Train Station.  Shanghai’s population grows by 10% per year and much of that is migrant population, so one concludes that their homelessness is rampant but invisible to those living more affluently.

On the up side, good healthy food is one of the cheapest commodities in China.  We have already commented on the abundance and variety of beautiful, fresh vegetables and fruit.  In Canada, these are among the costliest things in an average food basket but here, a family can eat relatively well for very little, at least it seems so to us.   MacDonald’s does not provide a cheap alternative here as their food is equivalent in price to what it costs in Canada.

Speaking of food, Shanghai is very much like Vancouver in that it is easy to have ethnic fare.  We have eaten lots of different Chinese foods, including hot pot and Yunnan, as well as Thai, Indian, Italian, Indonesian and Korean.   You can easily find Swiss, German, French, Canadian and American spots in Shanghai.  Not quite the choices in Jiaxing but enough variety to keep it interesting.

We went to the circus in Shanghai.  Oh, I know what you’re thinking but really, it was amazing.  It was called ERA, the Intersection of Time.   Frankly, I have no idea how the title relates to what we saw but perhaps it may come to me (or you) as I explain the show.  Think Ed Sullivan for the girls on bicycles, back- flipping from one to another, stacking finally 3 or 4 girls to a bike; the plates being twirled  impossibly on sticks, 3 held in each hand, while the girls bent over backwards; the gent catching a heavy glazed pot on his forehead and keeping it balanced.  Then there were the other acts:  the show starter was a demonstration of amazing strength–a woman stood on one hand on a pedestal which rose about 10 feet in the air, then kept this position while  gracefully moving her body above her arm.  She changed hands several times but remained on the pedestal, held only by one hand, for too long to imagine ever being able to do such a thing.  A couple performed a ballet in the air as they too demonstrated amazing strength, sailing on ribbons of silk wrapped around their biceps and holding on to each other by a single foot or hand. But the real thrill came when 8 motorcyclists rode inside a giant mesh ball without colliding into each other.  It was truly entertaining stuff, accompanied by a live band and a terrific female singer.

Two final observations from our Jiaxing Starbuck’s location:  Chinese prefer to carry their infant children rather than use strollers.  I have seen only one stroller in Jiaxing and a few more in Shanghai, mostly pushed by Caucasians.  My feet hurt just looking at the parents or grandparents carrying their growing bundles in their arms.  As soon as they can toddle, however, the kids do most of the walking.

Today I saw a Chinese James Dean, perched seductively upon his parked scooter, cigarette in mouth, black leather jacket open to the cold.  He looked every bit the bad boy, with the dude haircut and eyes squinting against the smoke curling  into them.  Some things never change, I guess.

Lastly, we are gleefully watching a duo of workers prepare to install a new AC/heater unit in our apartment.  Thank-you, Mr. Zhao!  I have been so uncomfortable, I thought it might be the end of me.  Especially when we return from being away, the apartment is so cold it simply cannot warm up with our three little heaters.  So within the hour, comfort shall be ours!  I am a little worried about how they are going to hang the unit off the side of the 9th floor, in the dark, but hey, I don’t have to look!  Remember, health and safety. Geoff will posting a video soon – watch for it.