Sunday, December 04, 2011

China Update #3

December 4th, 2001 - It's beginning to look a lot like christmas in a town that doesn't really celebrate it - wild!


Hi there folks and happy holiday season to all! Sorry I have fallen quite behind in my postings, but I do hope to get this one out and one more before my big trip to Japan for the winter break - woot!!! the pictures below are from lots of different things from over the past few months...with of course some funny food and chingrish (chinese-english) pictures....lovin it....


the holiday season has started here and i had a fun holiday brunch with some folks last week in a place called the rabbit hole - was designed after alice in wonderland....plus i sang at a swanky hotel's tree lighting ceremony....the room we warmed up in was amazing and guarded by a full size king kong who growled every time you walked past....as we went to this room we passed prada and gucci and chanel and cartier stores....and in the driveway were rolls royces, bentleys and ferrarris.....just incredible...and i was there....go figure....so the lighting of xmas trees and decorations everywhere have started....plus chinese new year is just around the corner...i have decided to stay in town for this and have been told it is mind blowing....so i figure i should do this just once.....

okay....on with the pictures....the first set of shots is actually from a water town here, outside of shanghai, called hangzhou (pronounced hong-jzo)....which is where one of the school campuses of my school is located...its about two and half hours by bus and 35 minutes by bullet train....crazy that! but the three school campuses decided to have a raft down the river day and it was hilarious to watch us....as you will see from the shots....also included in these pictures are shots from the fabric market - where you can have anything from fabric made....no joke...and for cheap too....UN day at school....one of my favorite things about international schools....random shots from shanghai...and lastly funny things and food things from the past few months....enjoy....


in this shot above you see water buffaloes taking a break from pulling the carts of people to the starting point of the rafting excursion...it was still quite warm out so this helped them keep cool....our particular water buffalo decided he could race our cart with another group's cart....we ended up in some bamboo and knocked a bunch of the grove down...it was hilarious....nothing like a crazy chinese driver....


this is one of the raft drivers....we paid him off at the beginning of the ride to make sure we were in the thick of the water fights....we also gave him a beer and then we gave him more money at the end for being awesome.....we were soaked and laughing the whole time and he took it in stride.....we even got boarded by another raft...and almost sank....what a crazy ride....



this is our bamboo raft from another boat....i am seated in the middle with a yellow hat....what a crazy bunch of people we had....and as you can see, all of us had water guns and were armed and ready....can you say soaked....a few cameras and such were messed up and it took people a few days to fully dry out.....it was awesome....
 
this is a shot down river of a few boats....getting ready to fire of course....the waterway was really shallow, but quite clean, although rule number one was make sure you do not get water in your mouth....parasites would be a probable result.....a few folks did get sick....but nothing an international traveler couldn't handle....


one last shot from this crazy day....as you can see full scale water war....we even started shooting people on the bridge...hence why most have vacated the area....it was insane....there was even a wedding by the waterside....people tried to hit them with water, but they were just out of reach...i guess its something that happens quite frequently with this being a watertown....



onto the fabric market...all types available and you can literally have anything made...costumes, clothes, jackets, pjs (because everyone in shanghai wears their pjs out to the store - no joke), hats, winter wear....i have gotten quite a few things made and will go back again for more now that i have a tailor that knows what i like....yep...my own tailor....how insane is that....its a married couple...he sews, she sells and she always gives "best price" to her return customers :) oh the fun of haggling....love it!!!!

this is a typical store front....everywhere there are styles to see and cloth to try....if one stall does not have what you want, they always have a friend just down the row who might and then you work with them both....i think its a few main families that own all the stores and therefore they make all of the money....just incredible...and everyone goes here....i mean everyone...chinese and expat alike...where else can you get a hand made suit, with shirts for under $100.....so weekends are insane.....



i love UN day...its the one time i get to see where all of my kids are from...we have around 50 different countries represented by our student body....with the largest number of kids from korea...US comes up second, sweden comes up third and the netherlands is fourth....no croats or romanians though....two kids from ecuador....always fun to see who is from where i have been and who is from where i have never been....here are some of the flags of the countries represented....


i love this shot, as it is five of my girl students doing a korean fan dan...and the kids are from korea, america, malaysia and japan....i don't love the person's head in it...but it was the best i could do from where i was....they did a fantastic job.....
 

you never really know what you will see while walking around shanghai....just the other day i saw a person dressed up as a piece of sushi in front of a restaurant.....this dude in the shot above is the mascot from the shanghai expo....which i missed by a year....it was supposed to be amazing and when i first arrived here many of the country pavilions were still standing....at this point many of them are done, but the china one still stands......i guess this guy was all over the city during the expo and i heard the expo itself was pretty darn amazing.....
 

speaking of the china pavilion....this is it....as you can see the day was not a real clear one, even though the sun is out in this picture and it is 9am.....the pollution we have here really is visible at times....this particular week of visiting this pavilion at times the air was so thick you felt as if you could chew it...i do hear that shanghai has gotten much better since they took the factories that used to be in the city and relocated them....plus, its much better than beijing because at least we have the ocean wind blowing much of it out of here....at times though its just gross.....they were having a picasso exhibit at this pavilion, which is why i was here...pretty amazing that a man who paints such different works, was such a middle class family man....never knew that....


and here's another building from the time of the expo....this is the mercedes benz arena that looks like it is out of close encounters of the third kind....i keep expecting it to play that string of notes and light up....i saw cirque de soliel here....an amazing show....they have left the arena standing and it will be used for concerts and such....recently akon performed here....he took his shirt off for the performance in beijing...which was a no-no, and so when he was here he wasn't allowed to do that....rumor has it that madonna is coming....its one of those i'll believe it when i see it kind of things....it is china after all....and the government is still in charge...even if this town seems like its gone capitalist.....
 

we go from the modern architecture, to the old style narrow streets of apartment buildings and one floor apartments....this was another sunny day i spent wandering around the french concession....an area of town where you see big old mansions and tons of expats....but there are many little chinese neighborhoods too...notice all the bikes....many people still have them, but many have also moved onto the motor scooters of death...they are electric and you never know when one is about to run you down until the last moment.....


shanghai is definitely a mix of old world and new world....i loved this shot of an old woman getting her mail...which is delivered everyday of the week....no sundays off for this group....
 

one of the things we see a ton of in this city are sidecar motorcycles...they are everywhere...you can even do tours in them....usually you see expats riding them, not the chinese....a guy and his dog jumped out of this one on the way to the avocado lady....a storefront that caters to expats....she has wheels of dutch cheese shipped in weekly....she has corn tortillas...she has cheaper avocados and she has goat cheese for an amazing price.....dairy products are hard to find in this country....not big milk people....so much of the cheese and yogurt and milk is from overseas and rather pricey....its a bummer....

i also saw this mobile shoe fixing store while i was walking around the french concession....people here are definitely industrious....if they can figure out a way to make money....they will...from the people who pick up recyclables and metals and styrofoam, to the people who sell produce from their trucks, to the people with a sewing machine on the street who are ready to fix your buttons at a moments notice....its incredible....
 

okay...onto the funny products and food pictures of this update....i especially love the one above because it is on the side of a pencil sharpener in school...."I would shot you!" is what it reads....what the heck are they thinking about having shooting and school mixed...and they are kiddie pencil sharpeners....i can't find ones that are better quality and made for teenagers and adults....insane....
 

here is some more of the spicy packaged food you can buy in the convenience store...the one to the far right is beef on a stick...the one in the middle is fish cubes and the one on the left i couldn't figure out from the words on the outside...i would say...okay...i won't say because who knows what it would be....just today when walking to grab lunch with a friend we saw a cage of snakes outside of a restaurant....of course i stopped to see them and the hostess was so excited that we were coming to have snake....man, was she disappointed when i said i just wanted a picture and did not want to eat them....
 

this picture is one of my favorites....its a chicken restaurant....and guess what is in the cage underneath the sign of the chicken....chickens....yep, you pick the one you want...they take it in the kitchen and kill it right there....i guess you can't get any fresher than that....whoa! this place is just across the way from my apartment....and let me tell you, its always busy....
 

the last shot of the update is from a menu of my new favorite hot pot place....okay, its the only one i have been to since the last time i was in china....but its really good....they have some really funny things in english on their menu, but one of the best has to be above - homemade fried corruption clothing....what the????  for those of you who don't know, a hot pot is when you make your own soup at your table for dinner....they bring out the broth and a stove, which heats up and you cook at the table....you add what you want to the soup - like tofu, seafood, meat, noodles, veggies, you name it, they have it...including homemade fried corruption clothing....i just have no idea....

okay....so there you have my latest update...sorry, i forgot to get a picture of me with a beer or drink or food this time...i will have a new one next time i write though.....i am hoping to have another update out soon....but it may just be a year in review...and what a year it has been for me....

in two weeks i am off to japan...a new country for me...and i am very exited....very excited to get out of china, because at times this place is just to overwhelming....stimulation floods you in every direction....so it will be good to just chill....very excited to spend xmas with friends who lived in japan....very excited to be on break from school....and very excited to relax with nothing to do for school....woot!  so even though my current week will be ridiculous - 90 labs & 90 quizzes for 8th grade and 20 labs and quizzes for 6th, comments & grades due in a week for 113 kids....i will be finished real soon and i can see my vacation coming closer and closer....

i hope everyone is well and happy....and again, sorry to take so long in getting this out....hope you enjoyed this update and i wish you and your family a very happy holiday season, no matter what you celebrate....new year 2012 and chinese new year are just around the corner....time is a flyin!!!!!

have a fab day :)
dani    

2 comments:

Jojo007 said...

Hi Ms. D. I mean Dani, this blog looks very cool and I will try and read this when I can. Plus, the date that you wrote is wrong because we are in 2011 not 2001. Have fun in China!

Noam

Viktor said...

Wow, I didn't know there were so many Swedes in Shanghai!