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The Three M’s

The 3 M’s

Happy New Year blogging friends.  First let me start out by thanking you for your kind comments both on the blog and thru Facebook as well.  We never know who is reading so we really appreciate hearing from you.  This week’s blog is about the three M’s.  All very much Shanghai stories.

M#1:  The first M is about mops.  It wasn’t long that Kim and I were here in Shanghai when I mentioned to her that I felt there were an extraordinary number of abandoned mops left on the side of the road.  We are not sure if they are orphaned mops, or if they have been washed and put out on the street to dry.  Judging by the cleanliness of theses mops I would guess that they have been abandoned.   I just can’t imagine that anyone would ever use these filthy mops to clean a floor again.  The vast number of these “Mop Orphans” is so large, Kim and I have taken to referring to them as “Morphans.”  I know what you are thinking;  Just how many mops is he taking about?  That Bruce Carabine is known for his hyperbole.  So Sunday, Kim and I walked down to the wet market where we buy our fresh vegetables. It’s only a 10 minute walk to this place and I decided to take pictures of all the morphans we saw on the way there and on the way back.  I actually stopped half way because I had so many pictures.  Please check below.

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This lonely fellow was named “Big Red”.  He apparently had to clean up a jar of spilled beets and did an excellent job!  Way to go Red!

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We found his cousin, “Little Red” down the road resting in front of a liquor store.  He was forced to clean up a red wine spill.

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This poor fellow was homeless and begging on the sidewalk.  We felt very sorry for him as he has a broken handle.

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This little guy was purchased at a time when stripes were fashionable.  Not so anymore.  We found him on the side of the road.

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Here was another “Morphan” we found in front of the Family Mart Convenience Store.  He had just finished wiping up a blue Gatorade (Windex Flavour) that broke on the floor.  He was then cast away.

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The abandonment of these “Morphans” knows no boundaries.  It matters not about their race, religion or sexual preference.  A dirty mop is a dirty mop and no one needs them any more.  Here is a photo of Lafonda.

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This “Morphan” showed potential by trying to climb a tree.  His efforts fell on deaf eyes, or blind ears.  Anyways no one paid him any attention.

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Sometimes these “Morphans” get together and try to help each other out like these two chaps on Dapu Road .

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Kim and I actually stumbled upon a support group who were handing out pamphlets.  Here they are resting on the side of the road.

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I apologize if our blog seems a bit of a downer this week.  It’s just that many North Americans have never even heard about these poor abandoned mops that lay about the streets of Shanghai.  We are seriously thinking about writing to the Canadian government to provide financial support to build a Morphanage here in Shanghai so we could start an “Adopt a Mop Program.  We could even get Sarah McLaughlin as our spokes-person.  The idea has merit!

M#2:  Is our massage girls Shou Ling and Shou Kwi.  Two more wonderful human beings I have not met on this earth.  We have been having our feet massaged by these two girls for 4 months now.  When we arrive for a massage, their faces light up with delight!  They are genuinely happy to see us. Our conversations at first were very unusual, as we spoke no Chinese and they spoke virtually no English.  Kim and I have been teaching them English and in return they have helped us with our Chinese.  They are so grateful!  China is very much segregated into the rich and the poor.  While $17 bucks doesn’t seem like a lot for an hour foot massage, for the girls who work there this is a small fortune.  The people that come in for a massage generally would have lots of money and in no way would they ever talk to the massage girls.  Kim and I really have enjoyed talking with these two and we are so pleased that they have taken a keen interest in Canada and our family back home.  They finally asked 2 weeks ago if we would consider giving them English lessons in exchange for free massages.  We are delighted to help them learn to speak English and refuse to take anything in return.  They showed up to our house with fresh fruit and candy.  They were so keen to learn.  At the end of the hour they did not want to leave so we kept on teaching for another 45 minutes or so.  They worked so hard to learn and appreciate our help so much.  It is such a pleasure to be able to help these two out.  Today we went in for our massage at the regular time 3:00 pm and there was a bit of a screw up at the front desk so they were unable to free up our two girls to give us a massage.  Shou Kwi showed up and realized we were early and therefore she wouldn’t be able chat with us while we had our feet rubbed.  We both thought she was going to cry she was so disappointed.  We told them we would come back in an hour so our girls would get our massage booking.  Everyone was so happy.  Kim and I shopping and bought 5 new DVDs at our favourite place ( about 8 bucks for all of them).  We then went to Starbucks and came back at four for an amazing back-foot rub.  We will miss these two friends when we leave Shanghai.

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Feeling hungry?  How about a dried perch with the head still left on.  These fish are hanging high above the heads of the shoppers so that thieves don’t grab one of these fish and run away with it.  Shanghai had a small issue with perch snatchers, but the problem seems to have cleared up.

M3:  So Christmas Day had Kim and I were eating at the Outback Steakhouse for dinner and coming home about 8pm at night.  It’s dark and pretty nippy out and so we set out for our 1 km walk home.  Suddenly we could hear mariachi music and this thunderous rhythmic shaking sound that sounded like a machine filled with gravel that was getting ready to fall apart.  We approach the corner and there in the alleyway were 12-13 women, from ages 30-40 listening to Mariachi music and playing maracas.  (Maracas are shakers made from gourds often with pebbles or something in side.  Not unlike a baby’s rattle).  I was astounded.  In front of them was clearly their leader, playing louder than all of them.  I did not know what to think.  Here it is freezing cold out (-3 degrees) and these Chinese ladies are taking maracas lessons outside.  Kim and I could not pass by without walking thru the center of them.  Just as we were passing by the music ended and the maracas playing  abruptly stopped.  I was quite impressed they stopped together, because frankly their maracas playing was somewhat lousy.  Kim and I looked at each other and being the polite Canadians we are, turned to face them, applauded their performance and told them Hen How.  Meaning very good!  Their fearless leader was now inspired and she quickly turned to her tiny boom box with the two inch speakers and put on another piece of Mariachi music.  Kim and I thought it would be polite to watch a little longer given that we had told them they were good.  It kind of felt like a command performance.  Their second song was again musically terrible, but it was so amazing to see these people really getting into this music.  They were throwing their heads back and shaking their hair as the music built into the chorus, then some of them stood on one leg, others gave the Jimi Page head shake and others just rocked back and forth, albeit not quite in time to the music.  These people knew they had an audience and they were really getting down.  The music again came to a predictable end and they all stopped at roughly the same time holding their maracas high in the air for a wonderful finish.  Kim and I applauded again and thanked them for their performance.  They proudly smiled and waved back to us.  Their pride swelling knowing they had entertained us.  What impresses me the most, is the desire for these people to learn about other people’s languages and culture.  This is evident throughout China.  It never ceases to impress me.  As I have said before.  We stand to learn a lot from these people.

Here are a couple of random pics for you below. This weeks blog was written after two glasses of wine.   Have a wonderful New Year everyone.

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My father-in -Law apparently has a bakery here.

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Sinopec Gas – The Petro-Can of China has a great wine selection in the convenience store.

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Finally, another work bicycle, making a pick-up.

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One comment on “The Three M’s

  1. Hi Kim and Bruce, thanks for the great stories and pics. I can already see it… when Bruce gets back to Canada he is going to pile the groceries, musical instruments, and you name it on his bike! The Chinese must not know any limits as to what can be piled up on their bikes. Same thing in Africa. We saw furniture, a tonne of chickens in cages and large families. Unbelievable! Bruce, have you gone anywhere to rent a bike? thought you might be going through withdrawal. talk to you later.xo

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