Monday, October 29, 2012

Another day in Shanghai...

One of the things I have noticed is there are many appliances here that don't work as well as in the US (dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners), but others that are far better.

1.   Mosquito killers that looks like a tennis rackets.  I tried one back home, but it didn't work at all.  The one we have here is a death taser for mosquitos.  I touched it myself and got zapped - lots of voltage stored on it.
2.  Electric hot water kettle.  This metal pot sits on a round base that looks like a hot plate.  You plug in the base and the water in the kettle will be at a rapid boil in just a few minutes.  I mean a rapid, roiling, hot lava-ish boil.  It's scary how quickly it heats.
3.  The water pressure here is really high.  No low-flow conservation here.
4.  We also have an adapter we bought for our Keurig coffee maker.  The adapter is the size of a small loaf of bread, but weighs about 25lbs.  It enables us to use the Chinese voltage with our US coffee maker.  But when it gets turned on, it sounds like a jet engine getting ready for take off.  Emily said "that's the most annoying sound in the world. ugh.", then I said "no, it's the second most annoying sound in the world".
mosquito swatter
super tea kettle

A few weeks ago, we went on a tour of the city of Shanghai on a double-decker bus.  It was really nice.  We toured around the city and relaxed while we listened to the tour audio on headphones.  We stopped for lunch in an area called Xintiandi, which translated means "new heaven on earth".  This is the historic site of the first Communist party meeting.  It has beautiful old architecture, and houses lots of trendy shops and restaurants.  It reminds me a little of Old Town in Pasadena, but without the teenagers.

happily waiting for the bus
Katie and her friend Sarah riding on top
skyline at the Bund

Chris went on his first long bike ride on Sunday.  They rode out into the country and saw lots of very poor villages and shamble housing.  The kids still all came out smiling, saying hello.  The air quality in China is not very good, and is a lot like it was when I was a kid growing up in LA.  We would have smog alerts, and if the air was bad, we would not be able to play outside.  It would hurt to take a deep breath.  In Shanghai, some days the air is healthy, unhealthy, or even hazardous.  That's why you see so many people wear masks while riding their bikes.  They are driving in traffic, and gasoline here is still leaded.
Bike stop
There is a concern in the Chinese media lately about the separation of the classes.  There is so much growth and money in this country.  China is the largest retailer of luxury items right now.  All designers have outlets in Shanghai, and everywhere there are high-end luxury and sports cars.  We see Maseratis and Porsches that are not even available in the US yet.  But there is still lots of poverty inland and in factory towns.  The younger tech-savvy workforce is really into designer goods, pop culture and fashion.  To them the future is bright, but they still have a duty to their families.  I think this is true in many developing countries where the younger generation has opportunities that their parents aren't able to imagine.

I think it's a really interesting time to live in China.  

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