Thursday, July 29, 2010


Well, well, well. It has been a while... the heat is getting to me making me lazy and slow. It is 10am right now and is 97, feels like 113. Soo hot and I have at least 40 minutes of walking in my commute to/ from work. Hopefully the
rain will come soon enough to cool everything off a touch.

Last week I was finally able to get out of Shanghai for the day! Took a day trip through work to Oriental Land and raced dragon boats. This is difficult to do with a group of up to 10 in a boat, it was fun though.
After the boats we headed out to a water town: Zhaojiajiao. Here is a picture of the canal and great boats they "zip" around in.

I also visited some more green areas- Fuxing (pronounced *fushing) Park. This was a great area with many older people playing cards, a pond with large lily pads and flowers, a rose garden, cafe and mini kids amusement park. So much fun for everyone!

After the park and being green, I decided to go out and watch a movie- a nearby bar was playing "Blade Runner." It was fun to be in Shanghai and watching a movie in English. Once we were done with the free buttery goodness of popcorn, headed across the street to a local man selling skewers of raw veggies (large variety of mushrooms, potatoes etc.) as well as raw meat (chicken, and many unidentifiable meats, overheard a nearby English speaker saying chicken hearts...). I stuck with potatoes and the chicken that looked most promising. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was once it was cooked and spiced right in front of me! This is a bad night pic of the set-up. Just a street corner turned ultimate snack bar.
Another addition to my list of interesting food experiences: frogs. I was served frogs at lunch during the company outing. It reminded me of dissecting them in the middle school, looked and smelled the same. I was just as nauseous at the smell then as I was at lunch.

On a good note, I did make my first meal in the kitchen! I got some pre-cooked udon noodles, reheated them and added in some veggies. It was pretty good, needed some soy sauce or more seasoning though. I also made pico de gallo and bought some chips to bring in for co-workers (luckily I have a foreign mart right by me, so corn chips were easy to find). The local girls didn't know what Mexican food was, so I thought they should try a simple dish. They loved it, very excited to have something other than "traditional Chinese."

Fashion update:
Man bags are all the rage in Shanghai. Not briefcases, not laptop bags... man purses/bags. The guys here typically carry their ladies purse for them (which is amazing), but typically they have one of there own as well! Joey from Friends was right; man bags is where it's at!

Another interesting trend that's found throughout Asia in general, or so I've heard, is matching shirts. This is common in couples, not even just t-shirts, but matching exact, button downs or something similar. Fantastic. So just in case holding hands or smooching isn't enough to tell you're together, the shirt will let me know for a fact.

Deal of the Day:
10 yuan ($1.50) new copy of Lolita! This was bought off the back of a woman's bike. I pass her everyday at the corner outside my apartment so I finally caved. Also bought a jade necklace for 15yuan ($2). There are good deals here, they just have to be sought out.
I did learn a lesson last night however. I bought a DVD from a street vendor- Sex and the City 2. I went to play it and it was all in black and white. So.. you do have to be careful when purchasing the 5 yuan (less than $1) movies off carts.

Being in Shanghai has taught me how grateful I am that I have had the opportunity to travel throughout the states. Many locals here never leave Shanghai, it's too expensive for them and many just don't value the experience of travel. I'm also thankful that I haven't had to eat the same foods and to have diverse choices in the western world. There are foods in Shanghai from all over the globe, but again as a local, they stick to what they know.

There are video blogs up on YouTube as well: my neighborhood, Xiantandi, more of dragon boat racing and more! Take a look, I think you can get a better feel for this place through them over pictures alone. Next weeks topic: nightlife.. there's plenty of it! Any questions or if you want to know about anything please ask!

Friday, July 23, 2010


So I have been doing a little bit of video blogging just to give everyone a better idea of Shanghai. Unfortunately, I've had a tricky time uploading them onto here, so I have them up on youtube. Check out:

There are 4 videos so far, you may have to click around to find all 4 though.

I'll make an actual post soon- promise. Enjoy the videos in the meantime!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Parks and Rec.

Well, well, well. I am successfully living in an apartment on my own in Shanghai! It's still very overwhelming, but very slowly it is becoming mine, need to make an Idea run yet to stock up the kitchen and get properly fitting sheets for the bed. The kitchen is...tiny... as well as the bathroom. Case and point:
No oven or dryer which is interesting. Because of the humidity and heat it takes a LONG time for clothes to dry. Something I didn't even think about before coming out.

Another thing I didn't think about was that this is Asia and they use chopsticks over here. Not forks, and at a restaurant it's not an option like the Western Chinese food places. Because I have always struggled with these wooden utensils it takes extra slow to eat. This is not good, people get annoyed to eat with me in the States! Yikes.

As far as eating goes, it has been interesting. I think in some ways I have lucked out not to have a terribly sensitive stomach. I have eaten a variety of things, from very authentic thin bubbly crusted Italian pizza, burger and fries (not courtesy of McD's..), pigeon served with heads on the plate, deli sandwiches, hot pot, yellow curry, wonton soup many different chicken and beef dishes, eggplant and of course lots of rice. Most has been tasty!
The weirdest thing so far was this fried/breaded beef dish with mayo on top with funfetti sprinkles. To put that in your mouth not sure what to expect- looks sweet with the sprinkles-then have it be beef.. boggled my mind.

Here are is an interesting item at local supermarket. Please note the flavor of chip- these oddities are found in all chips and crackers, even Lays and Pringles.

Living in a hotel for 3 weeks definitely did not lend me the option to cook, so now that I actually
have a half a kitchen, I get to try. Everyone says that it's actually cheaper to eat out- I just need to find these places. It really is amazing though, for this authentic lasagna I had the other night it was about $10 and that was one of the more expensive places I've eaten. Typically meals cost between $1.50-$5. Wow. Once I try my hand in the Chinese kitchen I'll let you know how it goes.

I did very recently (tonight actually..) find an amazing internet cafe right next to my apartment. Here's an inside pic as I'm sipping my delicious cab. This may become a regular weekly occurrence...

On the way to work the other day I got a bit sidetracked. Left early to explore the city a bit and
explore I did aside from the massive thunderstorm I trekked through. I found an amazing park that I would love to return to. It had trees and grass, a pond and little statues, here are photos from it to help show how unique.

Well that's about it for now folks. Again, any suggestions of places to visit are more than welcome! Next week with work we are going to a nearby water town, I'm so excited to leave Shanghai for the day. Can't wait to visit Hangzhou and Suzhou as well... those trips need to be planned soon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two Weeks

2 weeks. wow have they come and gone! I am still staying at the hotel, and looking for an apartment I have one week before I have to start paying for the hotel so hoepfully something will pan out soon.Training is finished and I start at my center on Saturday, definitely looking forward to starting my routine and getting to know everyone.

Haven't gone out on too many crazy adventures. These pictures are from a very neat area near the hotel called "Old Shanghai." It's very Asian and made me feel as though I was actually in China! Funny how that works.
It's starting to feel more real that I am and will be here for a little while. I do get stared at by the locals for being Western, and some try to sneak pictures. Some don't even try sneaking though and just ask. It always makes me laugh.

My favorite though is in a subway station or the sub itself and the little kids just stare. When I wave back at them, they smile from ear to ear. The older ones (6 or so) get really excited and really enjoy saying "hi" to me. We have a very limited conversation consisting of "hi" and "hello" for about a minute. I'm pretty sure it makes their day though!

The fashion here is what I heard a lot about before coming. I must say however, I haven't noticed it as much during the day. People definitely do dress up at night though for going out on the town! The two biggest day trends I have noticed are:

1) Harem Pants. I must say that I kind of love them! Finally able to get my harem jumper out of hiding and flaunt it.
2) Nautical stripes! This picture is actually a perfect example of a striped dress that would be found on any fashionable twenty- something in Shanghai. Striped shirts are also very popular.
These are just two of the main fashions I have really noticed so far. I believe these are becoming more and more popular in Europe as well. Not sure how the US is feeling about the harem pants in particular...

Well, that's it for now. I will post again soon, next topic will be food! Hopefully at that point I will be typing from my apartment.