Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Princess Mishelle

      I have posted about Princess Michelle before.  She lives on our street, and she has two cars: 
a BMW and a convertible Mini Cooper.  They are both painted pink with a racing stripe on the side that says "Princess Michelle" and hearts.

I have seen her.  She is twenty-something, rides in her car and talks on her phone with the top down and a cute dog in the front seat on a special seatbelt.  She has stuffed animals in her car.  I believe she only lives here part time but has an ayi that lives in the house and walks the dogs.
     The other day it was her birthday.  The flower arrangements in the pots are beautiful peonies and hydrangeas in pink.  The flowers in the trees are plastic.  Low plastic white fence is a nice touch.  Hello Kitty balloons as well.  We had to stop by and check it out.  Did I mention she was in her twenties?

When I described her to my Mandarin class, I was told that she could be any of the following:

Fuerdai = Rich 2nd generation, maybe the children of Tuhao (Tuhao is a slang term for someone who is rich, but classless, or vulgar - identified by their gold jewelry, gold iPhone, and bad table manners)

Guanerdai = Government 2nd generation, maybe the child of highly placed official (identified by the use of "Wo ba shi ______ " or "My father is ________ " - this has become a Chinese internet joke)

XiaoSan = Mistress (literally meaning "little 3rd person" - after First wife and only child)

So Princess Mishelle either has a rich Daddy or a rich "Daddy".

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Things I saw this week in Shanghai....

I went to the Pharmacy to buy face masks (more on that later) and I saw these curious supplements.  I have to assume these are all for women, just sayin'....

 Pizza Hut and KFC are, well,, different here...

spaghetti, battered egg rolls, cake, and
something mushroom, ham, corn?
breakfast of eggs w tuna, olives & celery
KFC red bean turnover
spam lettuce roll w mayo


This sign was at the bathroom in a new shopping center here.  Instructions on the correct use of western toilets.  Thank-you Yumi Ortiz for sending me this.

Best. Picture. Ever.

Happy Holidays 2013

     The Lamb family has been getting our home ready for the holidays.  The girls are both out of school from December 20th, and not back until January 14th.  Shopping in Shanghai for holiday items has gotten easier over the last year.  Shanghai has the greatest concentration of Expats in China, especially from the US and Europe.  Lots of European sweets and cookies, nutcrackers and dried fruit cakes are for sale right now.  
     We decorated our Christmas tree with all our old traditional ornaments.  Many made by Emily and Katie over the years, and even some that Chris brought with him from Vermont long ago.   We have a real live tree that came in a pot last year, and we are using it again.  It may be small, but it's sweet.
     We will have friends over on Christmas for dinner.  I was able to buy a pre-baked ham, and I'm making the side dishes.  Our oven and kitchen is not big enough for me to make it all.  We are lucky that we have met so many nice families and friends here.  But we still miss California and everyone back home.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Shopping Sunday

The air quality cleared up this weekend, so we took advantage.  On Sunday we went out to breakfast, then Emily and I did a little shopping.  First we took a taxi to Xintiandi, an area of Shanghai with lots of shops in beautiful re-purposed old buildings.  We went to the Uniqlo flagship store, the largest in Shanghai.  The store has five floors, and also has a GU store underground.  This is Uniqlo's less expensive "teen" store, the first opened outside Japan.  Very cool, and yes, inexpensive.  Emily bought a pair of UGGs knock-offs for about $12.00.  Better than the fake market.

After shopping, we stopped by a street vendor who was squeezing pomegranate juice.  Really fresh and  light.  

Back at the Kerry Center, we stopped by a kiosk that always has really unusual items.  Love just browsing.

More unusual phone covers....
batman phone cover
scary clown phone cover

cool bunny phone cover
Very cute lip balm holders with flavored balm...

 Pretty painted salt & pepper shakers....

Christmas tree of lights in the lobby at the Kerry hotel

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday brunch at JW Marriott

      Yesterday we had Sunday brunch at the Marriott.  Unfortunately, Katie was not feeling well.  She had an upset stomach right after we got there - sometimes she gets car sick riding in the crazy Shanghai taxis.  We left right after we ate and came home, and she went straight to bed.  I guess that was all well and good, we all took a nap.  Mine was a little more champagne induced.

hairy crabs
Huge Sea Snails!  I saw someone take one out of a shell and
 it looked like he pulled out a tumor
Indian station

mango pudding & tiramisu

Air Quality in Shanghai

The US Consulate daily monitors the air quality in major cities in China.  They use the PM2.5 which measures the particulates in the air, basically measurable pollution.  The different levels are:

Good (0 − 50)
Moderate  (51 − 100)
Unhealthy for Sensitive People  (101 − 150)
Unhealthy  (151 − 200)
Very Unhealthy  (201 − 300)
Hazardous  (300 − 500)

This morning the air was 311.  Most of us have Apps on our phones that show the daily reading of air quality.  The air is the worse during the winter months when there is very little wind.  Shanghai actually has better air quality than many, many parts of China.  Beijing is particularly bad.  In northern China, coal is burned for heating fuel and is actually free to the residents.  Lots of manufacturing is based west of Beijing as well.   Most cars, trucks and motorcycles run on leaded gasoline or diesel fuel.  

On days like these, we stay indoors with all the air purifiers running.  We don't go out unless we have to, and keep outdoor activities to a minimum.  These pictures look a lot like Los Angeles in the early 70's before mandatory unleaded gas and emission regulations.
       The air quality and overall pollution is always a topic in the news here.  The Chinese people are very aware of the toll the environment has taken over the last 10 years.  It's a concern for us as Expats, but we will only be here a few years.  I can't imagine if I had to live here forever.

It's been busy....

I have not had a chance to write a post in a long, long time.  So here's an update:

Katie celebrated her 9th birthday with a sleepover.  We took her and friends to the mall to Tom's World arcade (lots of fun, lots of tokens spent!), then a taco dinner at Pistolera.  The girls had cake (made by Emily) back at our place before they settled in for the night.  Katie has such sweet friends from all over the world - Singapore, Korea, Italy and the US.  All such nice girls to have over.

Emily is rockin' her new braces and is in the ensemble of the school musical.  She's getting a chance to dance again, and all the songs they are learning are all Elvis classics.  Really proud of her - she had to try out for the show the day after she had her braces put on.  She sang in front of the choir teacher, and could barely open her mouth it was so sore.  But she did it, that's my girl!

Halloween here was better than last year.  Seems like more and more western decorations were in the local stores, and of course the kids' school goes all out.  Katie's 3rd grade class sold popcorn at the Halloween carnival, and Emily went to her first school dance.  No dates, just all the kids having fun on a Friday night.

We had a really lovely Thanksgiving dinner at our friends' the Josts.  Fantastic turkey and all the trimmings, even better than I could make back home.  We all appreciated the "taste of home", and helped us miss our friends and family a little less.

 Other things keeping us busy....
Bingo night at SCIS
Katie & ukelele

Katie & recorder