Thursday, November 29, 2012

Buddy's blog - vacation

They went to Hong Kong for a few days and I had a much needed break.  Got to hang out with some of my own kind.  Don't get me wrong, my Lambs are cool and all, but sometimes a dog's gotta be with his homies.  I had to get back to my roots.  Went to a place in Shanghai called "Buddydog Pet Care" - awesome how it was named after me!  Met a coupla other canines, smelled a little, walked a little, it's all good.  The humans there even sent e-mails to my family so they wouldn't worry - that Mom lady gets all wound up.  She needs to chill-ax and take a deep sniff.  

Here are some pictures of me, looks good, eh?
That man in the picture took us for walks everyday, but I couldn't understand anything he said.  
He must've been speaking Sharpei!...get it, Sharpei?!'s a Chinese dog.....whateveh.  grrr.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Over Thanksgiving, we took a weekend trip to Hong Kong Disneyland.
We went on some of the newer rides, and checked-out the HK version of Disney rides we knew.

The Jungle Cruise was offered in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.  We rode the English version - not as good - jokes don't translate well.  But this version had an exploding volcano with flames on top of the water!
The shows and parades were great as always, especially the Lion King Show.  And the Christmas tree lighting on Main Street had the snow fall just like back home.
The best attraction was the Grizzly Mining Cars.  This was a roller coaster in a Western-theme town.  We rode it 3 times!  The town has erupting geysers, and western shows too.

It was really fun to see so many people of all ages having such a great time at the park.  We forget that living in SoCal we are lucky to have grown up with Disneyland, but many families here are experiencing it for the first time.  I guess I mistakenly thought of many Chinese as being very serious people, but they love to have fun just like anyone else.  The people who come to the park are from all over Asia - lots of Thai, Philippine, Indian and other Southeast Asian families along with the Chinese.
The food in the restaurants here reflected that as well.  Rice dishes with curries, noodles and roast pork are sold along with corn dogs, fries and cotton candy.

Sorcerer's apprentice fountain
Fountain at the entrance,
Mickey and his surfboard float up & down
Katie vs. geyser
Thanks Ali for giving us a great ride!
yum, pure sugar
Happy Holidays!

Shopping in Shanghai Part II

The holidays are starting here in Shanghai.  It's definitely not as big as in the US.  Businesses are not closed at all for Christmas, and people get only NY day off.  But, since Shanghai has a large ExPat community, the stores stock items for us.
Holiday aisle at Carrefore

Carrefore has an aisle with fake Christmas trees, decorations and ornaments.  VERY inexpensive, but I guess it's all made here anyway.  Went through the food section, and as always, took pictures.  The thing that always hits me first is how the market smells.  Lots of dried fish and seaweeds alongside tons of fresh produce.  Dried teas and all different types of mushrooms as well.  The seafood and meat sections are huge, but the prepared foods section is the largest.  You can go in and buy dimsum, noodles, roast meats and vegetables all ready to take home.  Many Chinese homes do not have an oven, and have very, very small kitchens.  Maybe only a double burner cooktop.  So all roasted / baked items are purchased outside the home and are considered a real treat.  In the late afternoon, I see people buying roast yams and squash from street vendors with BBQ carts on the back of their bikes.
dried fish and shrimp
dried baby squid

escape fail
not the pet section
entire aisle of cooking oil
A new UniqLo store has opened nearby.  UniqLo is a chain out of Japan that is very big in China.  There are some stores open in the US, in the NYC area and San Francisco.  They have really nicely made clothing for adults and kids - think Banana Republic but much cheaper.  The new store opened a week ago, and it was still crazy busy.  I went on a weekday morning, at 10:30 and the store opened at 10:00 - already packed.  Many people in Shanghai are very, very into fashion, but don't have the money to buy in the designer stores.  Stores like UniqLo and H&M are popular, and really successful here.

Yesterday, Jeri my plant lady came.  She owns a small plant shop and speaks some English.  She brought (6) beautiful, huge pointsettias, a new camellia bush and wood mulch for the back yard.  She planted the camellia bush, and spread all the wood chips for me.  Everything was $61.00USD.  She is also trying to find a real Christmas tree for me.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Katie!

Birthday treat at school

Yesterday, Katie turned 8 years old.
We had a very busy, fun and exhausting weekend.

On Friday, I brought treats to her class, and goodie bags for Katie to hand-out.  The kids all sang Happy Birthday to her in 5 different languages.  English, Chinese, French, Korean and Swedish!

On Saturday, our family went to the Shanghai Disney Family Day.  There was lots of food, games and Chinese craftspeople.  The girls had sugar drawings made for them, and played foosball.  Did I mention there was a chocolate fountain?  The Disney characters were there and took pictures as well.

Imma gonna beatchu

sugar drawings
Monster High dolls from Uncle Charlie,
Granma and Jichan

On Sunday afternoon, some of Katie's friends came over with their bikes and had a play date.
They rode, and played at the playground here at Seasons.  Then they all came back and had pizza and lemonade, and cookies & cream ice cream.  Katie had a great time with all her friends.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Election thoughts

I've been thinking a lot about the Presidential elections, as well as other down ballot elections.  My strong support for President Obama isn't a surprise to anyone.  I've been following politics really closely, and see from the outside now how important this election really is.

I will not rant on this blog.  I hope that I will wake up on Wednesday morning and have a sigh of relief...and look forward to the next four years.

Political things I love:
1.   Barack Obama, and staying with the hard job
2.   Hillary and Bill
3.   The Daily Show
4.   Marriage Equality (Boy George said it all: love is love, baby)
5.   Chris Christie telling everyone to bite me and get over it.
6.   Immigration reform
7.   Affordable Healthcare for all (we will all get old, we will all be sick)
8.   The Washington Post, especially Dan Balz
9.   The National Journal, especially Ron Brownstein
10.  The Huffington Post, especially Howard Fineman

Political things I hate:
1.   Rush Limbaugh
2.   Koch Brothers
3.   Voter registration hoaxes in FL (so blatant- Romney won't even comment on it)
4.   "Heckuv a job" Brownie criticizing FEMA's response to Sandy (I want to remind everyone how incompetent I was during Katrina by saying "Obama acted too quickly" - whatanidiot)
5.   Fox News
6.   People who complain but never vote
7.   Tea Party self-righteousness and self-imposed blindness
8.   Mourdock, Akin and any other man making a rape/ reproductive rights judgement
9.   Arizona
10. Veiled racism, sexism and anti-gay hate

I could go on, and on, and on.
We'll see on Wednesday.  Hope and Pray.