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Thanks for the Memories, Shanghai!

I actually wrote this while on the plane home; we are now back in Vancouver and enjoying catching up with friends and family and drinking tons of water!

Here we are, at the end of our adventure. It’s hard to believe it has gone by already. As I sit on the plane heading for my Canadian home, I think back on all of experiences and feel bittersweet. We are happy to be heading back to see our family and friends, but feel that we are leaving a family behind. How do you explain all of the things that we have been through, happy or sad? We had a rough start to our journey, but in the end, I am glad we stayed. We have both grown, I think, in our own ways through this whole thing, and that is what I will be taking away from it. I conquered crossing the street – probably the scariest thing I have ever done…….it may even beat the 6 day hospital stay due to an annoying appendix problem! We both became more adventurous in what we ate, or tried to eat, hahahaha! Bruce learned so much Chinese that I really didn’t need to, since we spent 24/7 together! We became each other’s best friend, no matter what came our way. When you are in a foreign country, you don’t speak the language, and you don’t know your way around, you have to rely on each other, or everything falls apart. Ultimately, that defeats the purpose of going on adventure together.
We have definitely learned that as Canadians, we take so much for granted. Just the simple act of the freedom of communication with family and friends, or watching your favourite television show becomes all the more important when you can no longer do it because of government restrictions. China is waging a war with google, which hampered our attempts at using the Internet more times than I can remember. Having clean drinking water, and breathing clean air are things that are so natural for us in Canada but in China, it’s not much of a concern. In the past year, we had smog levels reach record highs ( we had a couple of days where we were not able to go outside), 16,000 dead, diseased pigs dumped into the water supply, 20,000 chickens culled because of the Avian flu, restaurant owners and street vendors passing cat and rat meat off as lamb, and finding out that the bottled water we were drinking was actually coming from a drainage ditch! Did the Chinese people cry and complain? Not much that we heard about; they seemed to laugh it off and just keep going. That is another thing I will take from China: perseverance. Nothing seems to phase them, they pick themselves up and keep going. Never has the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” meant more to me than now. We took it all in stride, and had some great laughs over these experiences. Laughing kept us going when we got homesick, when we got frustrated and when we just couldn’t do anything else but laugh. The Chinese have far more patience with government red tape than is humanly possible. There is a chain of command for information, and most times we were at the end of that chain, getting tidbits here and there of what we needed. It’s an amazingly frustrating sequence of events which were filled with the 3 favourite answers of our liaison when we asked for details on things we needed: someday, maybe and not exactly.
Now don’t think we are taking away only the negative sides of dealing with a foreign government. We became quite close with our Chinese staff, having them over for a dinner party a couple of times. We collaborated on many things at school, and they included us in some of the things they were doing. We also got to know our students so well that I have every single email address for them all! We will miss them terribly and it saddens me that we won’t see them grow further with their English and their other achievements. Their personalities really came through and we had a lot of fun with them. I hope to see some of them going to university here in Vancouver when the time is right.

Shanghai is an amazing, vibrant city, and very international! We met people from Germany, Poland, Australia, France, and Denmark, just to name a few! My favourite place to go walking was along an area called “the Bund”, a huge boardwalk of sorts along the river. It is a great  place to people watch, and there are also people from all over China there too, all wanting their picture taken with us…..real Canadians!  We made friends almost everywhere we went, even, or should I say especially, when we were the only Caucasian people around! One of the things we liked most was that it didn’t matter what time of the night it was, the whole city felt safe. We walked some nights at 10pm or later, and never felt like we shouldn’t have been out and about. They have the most amazing subway system I have ever seen, and taxis are plentiful and very cheap! Surprisingly, I truly haven’t missed driving a car for the past year. It will be strange to get behind the wheel again!
We also got the chance to travel to Thailand……I almost didn’t come back. Although we didn’t really enjoy Bangkok – the smog, the traffic…..- we LOVED Koh Samui. It was as if someone flipped the switch, and we went from hustle and bustle to laid back, relaxed and learning to enjoy the small things while the rest of the world kept spinning. The people of Thailand have to be the most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Even though they may not have much in the way of material things that we consider essential, they smile all the time. As we say in Chinese, ” Mei wenti” which means, ” no problem”.
All in all, I am so grateful we had the opportunity to do this. Yes, at times it was scary, but the good times far outweighed the scary ones, and we come away richer for it. I could go on for days about all of our experiences, but hopefully our blog has given a sense of what life has been like for us the past little while. It also serves as a great reminder of those things for us, since some of them became common place for us and run the risk of being forgotten. For all of our friends staying longer in our “second  home” city, we don’t say,”Goodbye”, we say “See you Soon!”

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An Evening in Pudong and on the Bund!

With just a week left Kim and I decided to head to the World Financial Centre and the Bund to take some night pictures. The smog was down to 53 ppm –  almost half of what it has been the last month. There was no rain so it looked like a plan.  I was feeling a little crappy from some sort of stomach flu but decoded to brave it because this is our last week to get out and see this.  It seems so strange to be leaving China.  It is weird that most of the Chinese folks we have met never do the Chinese tourist thing.  Even the majority of our students who are quite affluent, have never been to the Great Wall.  I guess this is like living in Vancouver and never seeing the Capilano Suspension Bridge or the top of Grouse Mountain. You just assume you will see it one day, but not this weekend.  

Anyways, we took the subway and rode the express elevator to the top of the SWFC (Shanghai World Financial Centre)  The elevator went 8 metres a second and we were up to the 97th floor in under a minute.  They had a very cool light show happening in the elevator to give you the impression you were really moving.  With our ears a popping it was a very cool effect!  Here are some photos.Image

You can see how smoggy Shanghai is. (Cough cough)  The tower with the ball is the Pearl Radio Tower.  I was up that one on my last visit to China but the SWFC has a much better view and a lot better AC in the building.  This is important if you visit in the summer!

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The SWFC is also called the Bottle Opener building because of it’s shape. It is also the building Tom Cruise’s stunt double jumped from (with a parachute) in Mission Impossible 2.   Kim and I took the elevator down.

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Here we are on the observation deck 100 floors above Pudong.  Sorry in my previous blog I reported it was 140 stories high, I stand corrected it’s only 100.  The new building going up is about that height; it opens sometime in 2014.  

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The green and blue buildings in the background have interactive light shows that happen from 7:00pm until about 10pm at night. They are very cool.

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Here we are looking at the Bund on the other side of the river. Our next stop. 

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Here is the SWFC from outside.  Kim and I left the SWFC, got good and lost and by chance walked by a ferry terminal that could take us to the Bund for only 2RMB (about 30 cents).  Of course we went and crossed over to our side of the Huang Pu River.   

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Here we are crossing the Huang Pu River.  All of these buildings are are just dancing with light displays and advertisements.  It’s like Christmas in Times Square.  

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You gotta love Shanghai.  It’s is just spectacular at night and very safe to walk down the darkest of side streets.

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Once we docked  we saw all of the Bund buildings lit up. They were gorgeous structures built sometime in the 1920-1930’s when England had a big influence on Shanghai.  

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This is a very crowded place, even at night.  Night time is a very social time especially for the younger people.  First, they all work until 7:00 pm it seems and second, the temperature drops a little so it is much cooler.  Nothing worse than trying to impress a girl when your shirt is soaking wet with sweat.  

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As you can see there is lots of traffic as well, although most of the people at the Bund come down by subway (The nearest stop is about 5 blocks away)  or by taxi which is very cheap.

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All of these building have very high end restaurants and stores here.  We looked at a couple of these places to eat online and while they report good atmosphere they often pan both the food and the service.  We know where to eat and the Bund is not the place.

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It was pushing close to 10:00 and we still hadn’t eaten dinner, so Kim and I hailed a taxi and paid our 3 bucks to get home to our apartment.  All in all a very successful trip. Shame about that smog.   Thanks to Kim for supplying all these fab pics with her new NIKON!

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Two Weeks Left!!!

Here we are down to two weeks left before our flight home.  I must say we are both starting to get a wee bit excited to go home and see friends and family.  Kim and I have both been feeling a little achy and sore recently and can’t figure out what is wrong with our bodies.  Was it too many massages?  Not enough?  Is the food finally catching up with us?  It turns out that living in an environment with constant air conditioning and high humidity can cause cramping and muscle aches as it is difficulty to remain properly hydrated.  We are drinking lots of water but it just seems to go right thru us.  We sweat like crazy here.   The bad news is, it is getting worse over the next two weeks.  We have been having temperatures of 28-30 degrees with very high humidity. The temperatures are moving to 38-40 degrees in the next couple of weeks.  We really want to get out and do some last minute sight seeing but it’s tough to get the energy.  We also hate walking around drenched in sweat.  We will see what it turns out like.

 

June is the rainy month and we have been trying to make it over to Pudong to go up the bottle opener building.  Every weekend has been either raining or so smoggy the view has been awful.  It looks like it may clear today so we are going to give it a try.  The view is spectacular so we really want to get a chance to post some pictures from this 140 story building in the hart of the financial district in Shanghai.

 

School classes are over and this upcoming week we have our school exams. The Provincial government has not allowed us to write the provincial exams because they said it would take far to long to get PEN numbers and install the software we need to write exams.  PEN numbers took 45 minutes and software install 2 and a half hours.  We had 4 months to prepare for this.  How unfair to our students.  They must now write in October.  The toughest exam they will write is English 10 of course. They will have 2 months off from school with no English before they write.  How unfair is that?

 

Kim and I listen to our students complain about the school food being a little mundane and on some days down right nasty.  She decided to treat all of the students in the school by making them lunch at our place and bringing it in for them.  She allowed them to choose an individual pizza or pasta dish and then prepared and cooked it at home, then brought all the food to school and micro-waved it to warm-up the lunches.  We have 34 students and 8 teachers that she cooked for.  Although she did this over two days, remember that we only have 2 burners an a toaster oven in our home to prepare this food.  The food was delicious and the kids and teachers raved about the flavour!  Jamie Oliver move over. 

 So it is time again for some random Shanghai stories and glib comments enjoy!

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This sign is on the window of my hair salon.  I love the “Hair texture reminiscent of the Romantic Era.”  Not sure what that is…

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This is the main sign on a little drink stand.  They sold frozen juice smoothies and other cold drinks.  Not sure if they added tar to their drinks.Image

Most of the Chinese Police don’t speak English.  Certainly not any of the ones on foot patrol in Tianxiafang.   Maybe this is how the store let the tourists know they sold knock-off hand bags and watches.  Faye Kerry = Fakery.

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We saw this guy outside of a small shop.  Not sure what his purpose was.  We could not find a shop anywhere near this guy that was “Children oriented.”  This includes ice cream, kid’s clothing or a toy store.  Go wonder?

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We are not too sure if these guys lost a bet, were following thru on a dare, or on their way to the high school prom.  (Which they don’t have in China)  They were delighted to pose for a picture.  All of their friends were laughing and taking pictures of the three of us.  A good time was had by all.  I told them both I thought they looked very beautiful.  They smiled and thanked me genuinely.  

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Kim ands I love going to Tianxiafang to sit down and enjoy a drink and watch the world go by.  I think Dr. Seuss may have been sitting here when he wrote the classic “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.”   Our theory is if you wait long enough, you can be pretty certain no matter what it is, sooner or later it will go down the allies in Tianxiafung.  Now before we show you what happened….Image

Notice how crowded it is on these streets and also notice that it is not very wide.  So we are sitting down enjoying a cold beer and a clubhouse sandwich when…

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This guy on a motor scooter comes rocketing down the street, horn blazing.  The street is a pedestrian mall and all vehicles including bikes are prohibited.

 

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Speaking of horns blazing, we had two days off last week because the students were writing their Gao Kao (grade 12 university entrance exams.)  This is a very serious exam as it decides if you get into university or not.  To help the students do better on the exams, the police posted these signs on the street the block before the school to prohibit the honking of horns during exam time.  Then they stationed 6-8 police officers in front of the school to supervise the motorists.  If drivers honked, the police would shout at the cars.  Sometimes the drivers would stop and shout back at the policemen.  All in all it was a pretty effective strategy.

 

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This lovely Swiss Miss is giving away free warm imitation milk in a box.  I tried a sample and was very impressed with how tasteless and chalky they could make a product like this.     I think serving it luke warm guaranteed no one would buy it.  There are cows crying all over Switzerland today.  Oh BTW.  That plastic thing over her mouth is so that we don’t get any germs from her.  Note as well, the fashionable plastic gloves on her hand.  Also for that germ free experience.

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These guys are gambling on the street.  They bring out a table and set up chairs and play some sort of card game (Not poker) for money≥  The police often come by and everyone will get up take a chair and walk away.  No one ever seems to get busted.  They are back within 3-4 minutes after the police leave.

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Finally, this last photo to show you some more delicious food.  Kim made this amazing roasted chicken salad with mangoes, dragon fruit, fresh peppers, tomatoes and lettuce topped with some almonds. Amazing! 

 

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The Joys of Shopping in a Foreign Land

Well, we have been shopping in Shanghai for quite some time now, but nothing prepared us for our adventure yesterday! We headed out to a mall called “Metro City”, one that we have been to before, but never really done any shopping in it. We usually use it as a meeting place, since it is easy to get to and generally in a central location. However, across the street from it is the “Oriental Pearl” shopping mall, so we thought we would take a look around. We quickly found out that this mall was way beyond our pocketbook and our interests, so we attempted to use the underground walkway to get to what we thought was Metro City. We actually ended up in a different mall (we got turned around in the tunnel), and after a couple of stops, nearly ran out of there! First, we went up the escalator looking at all of the high end clothing shops with no one in them, except yawning or texting sales people. Lo and behold, we found a men’s clothing store that had a sale going on! A big sign was on three different racks of beautiful men’s shirts – both polo style for the casual look and the long sleeved dress shirt for the more formal days at work. All three of the signs had a very large number five on them, with Chinese writing below. We asked a sales lady if that meant the shirts were on sale for 5 Chinese dollars. She answered “Yes!” Bruce went in and tried one on, and it fit and looked great. While he was changing, I found 2 more that felt so soft and light, and took them to Bruce. He said, “Great! Let’s get all of them!” He decided to wear the one he had tried on, so he got the sales lady to cut the tags off of it. Now keep in mind that although we had rain again yesterday, the humidity was incredibly high so it was still very warm. Needless to say, Bruce wanted to have on the new shirt as it was fresh and dry! We had no less than three sales ladies help us get the correct forms filled out to take to the cash register. Imagine our surprise when the fourth lady told us the amount of our purchase……..4,732 Chinese dollars!!! We looked confused, as did the other sale sladies who came with us to the cash desk. Apparently, they made a mistake and the shirts were, in fact, on sale! Our newfound relief was short lived, however, when we found out that they were on sale for 1,750 Chinese dollars! Three shirts for just under $300 Cdn! The big number five on the sign? That wasn’t how much the shirts were, that was how much they were discounted for! Some kind of weird .5 or something or other. Bruce quickly took off the new shirt he was wearing and gave it back to the sale slady who took it quite gingerly,  as Bruce had already gotten, ahem, a little warm in it!! I do believe we were the talk of the day there, maybe even the week, since we got out of there as fast as we could! The sales ladies must have thought they had hit the jackpot to see two foreigners come in and buy three of their most expensive shirts!! 

We decided to look around elsewhere and came upon a beautiful looking chocolate shop. We really should have taken something out of the shirt fiasco, but always the optimists, we continued on. Inside, the Belgian chocolates were all lined up in the display case, calling us. They looked incredible, and the sales girl offered us a free sample – a whole chocolate, not just a cracked piece of one – and it was delicious! We thought, “hey, throw caution to the wind and let’s treat ourselves”, since we generally don’t even go into a chocolate shop! “Hey,” we thought, “let’s splurge and buy 2 chocolates each!” The sales girl lovingly put them into their own little tiny box, complete with a ribbon expertly tied  – we had to have been there for over 20 minutes – and placed into a beautiful bag. That should have been a warning sign! Then we had to pay – 110 Chinese dollars for 4 chocolates! We were shocked, to say the least……that’s over $18 Cdn for FOUR LITTLE CHOCOLATES! We looked at each other dumbfounded, but took the purchase anyway. I’m not sure we had the ability to do anything else, we were so speechless. Needless to say, we left that mall immediately, and sat down outside on some steps to eat our chocolates and laugh at our stupidity. Pretty sure we won’t be doing that again! Somehow we were transported back in time to our first days here in Shanghai where we knew nothing! We won’t forget this little adventure for awhile!

One last thing… I had forgotten to mention something about our wonderful dinner we went to last week. There are quite a few of us leaving at the end of the school year, so we had one last dinner for all of us to say goodbye at our favourite restaurant, Lost Heaven. It was great to see everyone, and our friends from Jiaxing even came down for the celebration. Geoff got us a great keepsake of our stay here, giving everyone a specially made coffee mug with all of our names written on them, as well as things unique to us during our stay in Shanghai. The Tower of Terror gets a mention – it’s still giving us the creeps! – as does our other favourite restaurant, Simply Thai, along with all of our school names! It is such a thoughtful gift, and I will think of Geoff and Terry when I have my Shanghai tea at home in Canada! Geoff and Terry will be doing a second year here, so we will be missing them when we are back home! Thanks, Geoff!!

3 weeks and counting until we return!

 

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June Already!

Hi All!

Well, I can’t believe that it is June already! May went by so fast I am not even sure it was here. However, it was a bit of a rainy month, so that is probably why it didn’t seem to register on me! We are finally into some nice sunny weather again, although the humidity goes up and down all the time, so you never really know what it is like outside. I pretty much sit under a blanket with the A/C on inside, and then sweat to death when we go outside!

We have been quite busy with school this past little while. We have new students wanting to attend our school next year, as well as some new grade elevens coming in from a school that unfortunately shut down. These poor students can only try to get into another BC program, or find a Chinese school that will take them – but they would have to repeat grade 10, since there would be no English component for them. A little stressful for all involved, but they were a nice group. We also had to work this past Saturday, interviewing the potential new grade ten students.  We worked with another BC school so that we could be sure of how many new students we could expect for the fall. It was interesting meeting the new kids – some of them had a very good grasp of the English language, and some of them struggled a bit.  We will know more when all of their results are tabulated. We have only 2 more weeks of regular school, and then we are into exams and admin duties to work on. It’s going by so fast!

I am making a pizza/pasta lunch for our classes next weekend – we have to work Sunday – as these kids have the worst lunches I have ever smelled! The lunches are provided by the school, but they are charged for them everyday. No one likes the lunches but they have no other choice. A couple of students bring lunch from home, but they get into trouble if it gets found out by the staff! Some days, the smell is so bad that I have to cover my nose as I walk through the hallways! Something like burned cabbage…..no wonder they are so excited to eat western food! It should be interesting, since I am making lunch for 20 people on 2 different days! Oh well, it will be fun!

We finally made it to the Jing’an Temple on Sunday. It is actually very close to us, but each time we planned to go, it was raining or something else came up and we ran out of time. It is quite beautiful, and hard to believe it is right in the middle of the city, next to the skyscrapers and traffic!ImageWe spent about an hour inside, so here are a few more pictures. The carvings in the marble, wood and stone were amazing!

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ImageImageImageImageAfter the temple, we went exploring in the area around it, and ended up finding Cantina Agave, a Mexican restaurant that I had always wanted to visit. We sat outside and enjoyed a margarita(for me) and a pina colada(for Bruce) and shared a plate of nachos. It was so good! Bruce took a picture of me holding my drink, but I will not be posting that one! Let’s just say I look a little TOO relaxed – and I was only half done! Delicious and a great day!

We came back to our part of town and went for our weekly massage. I truly do not know how I will survive without them when we get home. I will have to do some research and see what I can find. First thing on my list!

Well, you have all read about our adventures with the Tower of Terror. We had a little bit of time where it seemed to be working just fine. One day, however, I got in and pressed the button for our floor……and it just stayed put. The screen showed the first floor, and no matter how many buttons I pushed, it wouldn’t go anywhere! I finally pressed the “open door” button, and I was still on the first floor, thank goodness! I got out quickly and tried to get another elevator, but I had to send TOT elsewhere. I reached in and pressed the last floor at the top of the building.  It finally left, and I was able to get the next elevator. Another time, Bruce and I were in TOT together, and it fell a few floors while we were going up. Scariest time ever! We got out as fast as we could and that was the last time we went in it. I don’t know why it hasn’t been fixed, because when it came down for us the other day, our building cleaning lady was there and she wouldn’t let us go in it! Other people are starting to notice it as well, refusing to go up in it when it comes down. At least we are not the only ones! (Our building cleaning lady is so sweet, but for some reason she thinks I speak Chinese fluently! When I tell her I don’t understand, she rattles it off again, only louder and faster. Of course, I get it now! I will have to get her picture before we leave). One last picture of the Bhudda before I leave you….it is made with 500 TONS of silver! Have a great week everyone! Miss you!!

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Happy Weekend!

Welcome to the week-end. Happy anniversary to my sweetie pie.  We had a pretty nice week-end despite the weather.  Friday night (our actual anniversary) we went out for a delicious dinner, great service, steak and lobster, crab cakes and lattes on the patio in the cool of the evening.  Finally a foot massage and then home to bed.    We stopped and got these awesome flowers on the way home.

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Saturday we packed up our winter clothes and mailed them off to Canada.  There is no way we are going to get home with all of the gifts we are bringing home.  We sent home two large cartons filled with stuff.  About 40 lbs. of stuff.  We hit Starbucks and then went home and cooked an amazing dinner (Kim cooked and I tasted and pulled seeds from the world’s largest watermelon)  We served up an amazing dinner for our friends Greg, Chen and Angela.  

They were very impressed and enjoyed every thing we served.  Kim is amazing in what she can do here.  We have a toaster oven and 2 burners on the stove and she turned out  stuffed mushroom caps, braised BBQ caked chicken, rice, beans with onions and almonds, and a apple-blackberry-blueberry cake for dessert.  Very yummy.

 

Sunday we stayed in and caught up with friends on the phone.  It was quite cloudy and we had planned on going to check out Jing’an Temple late today, dinner out someplace then a foot massage.  As it turned out we left for the temple, the skies opened and the rain and the wind started.  We head back to our apartment and relaxed.  We have some new grade 11 students coming to Lu wan High School next year and spent our Friday afternoon doing English Assessment testing.  Looks like some very good students coming in. Next week-end we do the same for our grade 10’s. 

 

Now for my favourite part of the blog, random photos with glib comments.

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This cyclist has a pretty hefty load.  It’s not the size of the load, it’s the fact he is carrying heavy wooden dressers on the back of his bike.  Most impressive.

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This fellow has a light load of styrofoam boxes.  I am not sure if they are empty, but he had a pretty hard time getting them all on his bike. Image

 

This is the chair guy who travels around Xie Tu Lu. We have seen him a lot, gut I never seem to have my camera when we find him. I finally caught him taking a siesta. Talk a bout a long wide load.  He pulls this himself.

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This cyclist’s load is neither heavy nor large, but it is a little weird. He pedals around Shanghai selling goldfish.  These are pets.  I asked one of my students what happens to these fish.  Do that many people in Shanghai have aquariums. Apparently parents by their kids a goldfish in a bag to play with and the goldfish is usually daed the next day because they don’t have aquariums.  

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This is an interesting shot.  It combines the old with the new.  The owner of this house couldn’t bear to have his house torn down for the new apartment building, so a deal was struck to have his home built on top of the apartment.  Pretty amazing story eh?  I thought so when I made it up.

ImageHere we are inside the mall at Metro City. This is a giant mall that kind of looks like Science World in Vancouver.  Our favourite Viet Namese restaurant is there.

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Here is our home.  The 4th apartment building back on the 20th floor.

 

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So I had to take a picture, just so that you know we aren’t making this stuff up.  (Except for that building on the high rise story.)   I try to be truthful in this blog but sometimes the hyperbole is just too good to pass up on.  I hope you recognize when I am pulling your leg.  It’s been a while since I had my haircut, so I am going down to get a haircut next week.  Here’s a picture of me sporting my new long hair and my new John Lennon prescription glasses. ($42)Image

OK Maybe it’s just us having fun with Angela’s new wig.   ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

These last couple of shots are from a dinner at “Lost Heaven.”  This is a delicious high end restaurant here in Shanghai!!!

ImageKim and I walked thru the streets of Xin Tandi.  

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We came across Rae’s Tea shop. Hi Rae!  We love you!

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Finally, another dog with dyed ears, tail etc.  TIC  Keep well my friends. Our journey home is just 5 weeks away! 

 

 

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Random Shanghai Summer

Hello All,

Kim and I are back from the depths of our flu.  This is the third flu we have caught this year.  Each one lasts about a week and a bit with the cough lasting for about a month.  We are now out of winter, 3 days of rain in a row with very heavy humidity 94%!  And now the heat has come.  Today it is about 32 degrees but the humidity is down to 74%.  It is AC at home and at school.  No one has told any of the Chinese people yet as they continue to wear jackets, hoodies and t-shirts underneath.  Image

 

Kim and I had a lot of fun at a photo shoot last week-end changing costumes and getting make up.  W3e ha=d 4 different costumes and about 150 pics taken over a 5 hour photo shoot. We will be coming home with a coffee table book with the best shots in it. Image

Mary Anne and Boyd were back visiting us.  We were two travel guides for a while.  We took them to beautiful Yuyuan Gardens.

 

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It was only 25 degrees out but sunny and humid.  We stopped at a Starbucks for a cold Green Tea! Yummy

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We missed the actual gardens as they had closed, but we went thru the shopping area.  The koi fish were feeding like crazy and of course Kim took many pictures of the little turtles swimming in the water.

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The Stinsons wanted to buy some souvenirs so this little cutie sold them a couple of engraved stamps.  Her English was excellent.  Note the glasses without glass.  Very popular here.

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An older fellow used this machine to  create the stamp with their names on it in both English and Chinese.  What a great gift!ImageWe saw this on the cab home.  I know this sign is supposed to let you know to drive carefully because they have a child in their car, but you can’t help but chuckle when you see a sign like this.

 

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So here we are, downtown Shanghai on a Saturday and what should we do.  The man and his wife bring their kitchen chairs outside, take off their shoes and have a snooze.  Why????  Because it’s China…. That’s why.

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We took our friends into the Peace Hotel where photography is forbidden. And of course we took pictures.  A very cool place that I can’t afford to stay at and neither can you.  (That last comment was meant for all of my friends except Bill Gates)

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Finally we went to People’s SquareImage

 

They had statues and these beautiful plaques.

 

 

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They also had a ton of people selling bootleg watches and bags.

My favourite was a fellow wearing a knock-off t-shirt.  He was wearing a CLAVIN KLEIN shirt.  Yes good old CLAVIN.  I wonder how many shirts they printed before someone realized that the name was spelled wrong.  Cracks me up!

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When in doubt, dye your dog’s ears and tail orange.  Why????  Because it’s China…. That’s why.

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How about visiting a hair salon where the stylists (all male) dress like pilots and the shampoo girls/massage girls dress like stewardesses,  Why????  Because it’s China…. That’s why.

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Finally, we read to day our favourite bottled water is under government investigation because they have not been getting water from the beautiful clear spring like they advertise but from a dirty drainage ditch and the water is filled with bacteria.  We have 32 litres of the water sitting in our kitchen right now.  Why????  Because it’s China…. That’s why.

 

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