Thursday, January 2, 2014

Things I saw this week in Shanghai

This is a bronze statue by the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton at Shanghai Centre.  It struck me as perfect.  The old Chinese fisherman next to the man texting on his phone.

This is a scene played out daily on the street right by our house.  In the morning, a truck comes and drops off all these parcels for delivery at this roadside "sorting station".  Then a worker groups the boxes and packages to be picked up by different scooter drivers.  The scooter drivers load up and make their rounds.  This is how most on-line purchases are delivered in China.  Sometimes there is someone who stays with the packages, but often there is no one.  But no one seems to worry about it.

We went to the local flower market just before Christmas.  This market is (4) floors and is still not the largest in Shanghai.  We bought plants and flowers, and now I miss my backyard garden even more.

 I see this a lot in Shanghai.  Glass chards on the tops of walls and roofs.  I am sure this is a poor man's version of barbed wire (which I see a lot too), but it seems so, so, brutal.

Skittles nunchucks.  Yes - the girls did get them in their Christmas stockings.  Santa believes in protection and fruity candy.

Buddy's blog

What's up China with your animals?
So there are parks here that don't allow people to walk dogs, but allow them to bring birds in cages?  Whatda?  So men gather with their birds in the early morning, they talk and drink tea.  The birds sing to each other and get fresh air.  Y'know what's the only thing their missing?  Dogs!  Iknowright.

They hang all their bird cages from the trees and just let them have a good ol' time.  The birds have these hand-made bamboo cages and painted porcelain drinking bowls and food dishes.  I don't get it.  China is the only place people walk their birds but eat their dogs.  It's just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Then there's this poor guy.  Fished out of river with a net by these scary looking guys.  They're either going to try to sell the turtle, or they're trying to figure out a way to divide him so they can each take some home.  Either way I can't watch.  Dude, your doomed.

Lastly, this is the stuff that gets my tail spinning.
He's all scruffy, and he's wearing an outfit.  It's a wannabe Paul Frank hoodie and it even has a pouch with a zipper sewn in.  Is that so he can carry his owners wallet?  His own poop bag?  Have some doggie pride! For shame.

must relax.  much too tense. 

Buddy's blog

The family went to Beijing (wherever that is), and I went to stay at Buddy Dog Boarding again.  Don't get me wrong, I like going and hangin' out with my own kind.  Sometimes a dogs gotta be with the pack, amiright?  But the class of dogs I was around this time was, er,... sub-canine.  Ugh. Grr.  

wait for me
seriously?  little privacy?
ugh, leave me be
time to go

Our Trip to Beijing

The Lambs took a quick weekend trip to Beijing.  We took the high-speed train from Hongqiao and it took just under 5 hrs.  The train is incredibly smooth and efficient, and much more comfortable than a coach flight.  Airplanes in and out of Beijing are often delayed so this was a great option.  
     The air quality is Beijing can be the worst in China, but we were lucky and had clear skies but cold winds.  We stayed at the Fairmont and our room even came equipped with (2) gas masks wrapped in velvet bags.  They looked more like something you would need on a space walk.

gas mask
gas mask unwrapped
We had dinner at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, very famous for Beijing Duck.  The Chef carves the duck at the table.  First he cuts down the backbone and the fat drains out.  Then he slices it making sure that each slice has some of the crispy skin. skin.  We had the duck with thin pancakes, sliced scallions and hoisin.

 The following morning we went to The Great Wall.  There were several options for the tour.  We could go to a section of The Wall that is frequented by Chinese tourists.  I guess this is the first part of The Wall that was open to the local public and remains popular.  We chose to go farther along The Wall, further from Beijing, to an area that was less crowded.  We took a cable car up the mountain and it was well worth it, it's a very steep walk.  The actual cable car we rode down in was the same one President Clinton rode when he came to the Wall.

 Our guide explained how sections of the wall have been rebuilt over the centuries.  Many of the original stones were held together with a mix of sticky rice and lime mortar.  The bricks were made with baked clay and tree sap.  The Wall was built to fend off the Mongols and other invaders using forced peasant labor.  Soldiers would defend the wall by shooting down from the parapets.  They would also pour stones or hot oil through holes cut into the sides of the walls onto enemies trying to climb up.  Ouch.

rice and lime mortar
Chris and Katie
When walking down from the cable car, we saw many vendors trying to sell souvenirs, snacks, etc. They are really aggressive, and don't take no for an answer.  Chris was bombarded!   He's too nice to just tell them "Wu Bu Yao" (I don't want any).