Thursday, August 30, 2012

Moving on up...

We are finally in our new home!  We moved into Seasons Villas on the 27th and have been very busy trying to get settled.  The townhouse has 2 floors plus a rooftop patio.  The first floor is the living room, dining room and small kitchen.  The second floor has two bedrooms, bathrooms and office.

-Our dining room table arrived last night - we made our first real dinner - tacos!!
-Found reasonably priced and good wine from Australia and New Zealand - important!
-Found the City Shop nearby - really convenient for imported food and all other products, but yes - a little more costly than back home, but they will also deliver.
-Girls love their school, and have really taken to their Mandarin classes.  For the first time, Emily likes PE class.

-Over-suds the dishwasher, water and bubbles all over the floor - how was I supposed to know the dishwasher soap I bought was concentrated
-Silverware drawer in the kitchen would not pull out, kept catching on the oven knobs.  Had the management office come out, and they agreed that it was a problem.  The next day they sent out a repairman.  He pushed the oven further in an inch and now the drawer opens fine.  Doh.
-Most of the manuals that came with all our appliances are in Chinese.

Ok - here are my current observations living in Shanghai.  The country is in a time similar to the US in the 40's, lots of industrial growth and a clear division between the super rich and the worker class.  The worker class, or migrants are uneducated, and perform all of the manual labor.  They are from the villages and countryside, and make up probably 90% of the people in the country.  In Shanghai, there is also a visible middle class - shop keepers, office workers, government employees.  They are young and always in a hurry.  These are the children of the migrants.  The super rich are all about fashion, designer labels, anything that is status oriented. But they may not be any more educated than the migrants - they may have gotten lucky, or are connected by family to wealth.  But there is a pride that people have living in Shanghai - to them, they are at the center of the Asia.
There is construction everywhere, huge skyscrapers as well as home remodeling.  There is also a lot of construction debris everywhere.  I find bits of cement, plastic, bathroom tile, coil etc, in flower beds and landscaping.  I think the dirt from the construction is repurposed for soil.  This may be why some chemicals leech into the ground and foods can become tainted.

Things we saw this week:
-The only graffiti I've seen since moving here - first thing I thought was "must have been done by a non-chinese person"
-Bunch of massage workers (legit) breaking into a flash mob and dancing to music.  Getting excited about the day ahead
-Family riding a single motorcycle - the father driving, mother riding behind him holding onto her infant with one arm
-Heard a loud, wet, spit-hocking sound from behind me, turned, saw ancient looking old lady with cane 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

First blog entry from Shanghai...

Quick primer on Shanghai:
The city has 23,000,000 residents, more than some small countries.  Los Angeles County is about 10,000,000.  The city is divided into two sides, separated by the Huangpu river.  The Puxi side is literally the west bank, and the Pudong side is literally the east bank.  The Puxi side is "old" Shanghai, alot of historical sights, the French Concession area, and very crowded with a lot of night life and shopping.  The Pudong side was developed as the international finance and technology center of Shanghai.  This side of Shanghai has been compared to Irvine, but I think it is closer to Century City.  The streets, infrastructure, housing has been thoughtfully planned.  There is an effort to make the area "family friendly" with lots of green spaces, trees, river walks, etc.  This is the side we are living in, and is where Chris' office is located.  

The Lamb family is slowly getting adjusted to living in Shanghai, but we are still taking it one step at a time.  We are all fine and healthy, and staying safe.
We are still living at Citadine service apartments, but hope to be in our regular townhouse at Seasons Villas on the 20th.  Really could not be too soon for me.  I really want a regular kitchen to cook normal meals.  The kids have been making do, but we all miss having some of our regular routines.  Chris started back to work last Monday.   Right now, he has to take a taxi to work and back, but when we move to Seasons, he can walk.  The Kerry Center is a block away, and Disney's offices are housed there for the first year.
We have been in China for almost two weeks now.  It's amazing how quickly we have adapted to some things.  The road traffic is crazy.  Not as congested on this side of the river, but still we always have to be on high alert when crossing streets.  The "stop" and "go" signs are more of a suggestion, than a rule.    I am walking the streets like a pro these days.  That probably didn't sound right.

Yesterday we went to the Super Brand Mall.  Really huge, like 10 stories.  We went to Tom's World arcade and had ramen for lunch.  It was Emily's birthday.  Katie and her Dad gave Emily a 5000 piece puzzle for a gift.  Then Emily and I came home, and Chris and Katie stayed to go to the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower.  They had to wait almost 1 hour in line, but got all the way to the top.

Things I saw this week in Shanghai:

  1. Sally Hansen nail polish remover at Carrefore.  $9.34, and it was the only one, no Chinese brand available for less - bought it.
  2. A child age round 2yrs, taking a poop on the side walk. His mother had a square of newspaper under his booty, and he squatted and took care of business.  They were probably walking to the store and he had to go.  
  3. Woman wearing extra round dark tinted contact lenses - this makes her look like an anime character.
  4. Men playing cricket in traditional whites on the lawn at the Dulwich school - this is the European international school for expat kids.

I will try and take some video this week, as well as more pictures.  Please comment and let us know how things are back home.  We miss everyone and hope everyone is doing well!