Monday, April 28, 2014

Things seen on the street in Shanghai

Right around the Lunar New Year, people sell rabbits on the street.  There are Chinese folk tales about rabbits, and they are given as pets around this time.  I also saw a man selling puppies on the street.  This Samoyad puppy looks like my old dog Ginger!  If the animals are not sold as pets, I wonder if they are sold as food.  Hard to think about.

DVDs and CDs are sold on the street for nothing.  Movies come out here about 2 or 3 weeks after they are released in the US theaters.  Usually costing about 10rmb which is $1.60.  Sidewalk vendors sell skateboards, clothes, blankets, toys and hair accessories.  Love having the fresh flowers for sale.  A bunch of flowers or small potted plant is about 20rmb or $3.00.

I've seen a few of these.  Sidewalk take-out.  Usually pre-cooked meats and tofu.  A person can pull up on their motorcycle or scooter, get a bag of chicken feet and pay through the window.  All without having to park and lock your bike.  Really convenient, like drive-through back home.

 Okay,..I could do a whole blog post about the tape used to repair motor bikes here.  Duct tape, packing tape, police line tape.  The tape business is really where people should be investing money here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wet Markets

Going to a Wet Market is always an experience.  There are varying degrees of "good" v "bad".  I wandered down a side street by Nanxing Lu and market owners were just setting up their stalls.  These are often an 10 x 10 space.  They set-up bins or baskets of items on the curb.  This market was clean and the vegetables looked fresh.  A small noodle stand next door served locals big steaming bowls.

All kinds of eggs everywhere.  Duck, quail, pheasant, turtle, chicken, etc.  Preserved eggs, soaked eggs, fermented eggs, hundred-year eggs.  

Chris and I were in the French Concession area a few weeks ago.  European and Middle-Eastern Consulates are in this neighborhood along with beautiful old historic buildings.  We walked into a wet market that looked really nice from the outside.  This was in a large warehouse space, with vendors each taking stalls inside.  Like an indoor flea market.  
     Lots and lots of meat and seafood, but the conditions were really poor.  

The stalls themselves were full of debris and clutter.  None of the vendors had meat or seafood under ice or refrigerated.  These squids were set out on a broken tray, still smeared with ink.  The back walls were a collection of unclean pans and containers.  This scale for fish so filthy.

I think there are markets like this all over China, as well as in many, many parts of the world.  I don't know which countries have food safety laws and which do not.  I think the key is to find a market that feels clean and that you feel comfortable buying food from.  Lots of people in China will spend more to buy from City Shop, or Ole or Times - stores that carry imported items but are also clean and organized.  There are no guarantees, but more peace of mind.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Family Vacation in Thailand

The Lamb family spent a well needed week in Phuket, Thailand.  We flew from Shanghai to Bangkok, then onto Phuket.  During the layover in Bangkok we were surprised and excited to see Krispy Kreme!  Always great to have an unexpected little taste of home.

We stayed at the JW Marriott Resort.  It was recommended by other families we knew as really "kid friendly".  There are lots of activities for the kids, as well as a kid's club area with video games, movies, crafts, etc.   Chris and I were also able to relax, read and enjoy adult beverages!

the beach at the resort
first sunset in Phuket

swim-up pool bar!
girls tight-rope class
kids' pool water slide

Katie cooking with the teppan chef
morning hot chocolate

coffee martini
We took a speed boat one day and went to PhiPhi Island.  We all swam and snorkeled in the warm water.  The islands were beautiful and the water was so clean!  

One of the best perks of living in Shanghai is the ability to take trips like this.  To have an opportunity to spend time as a family in remote places and make memories we will always have.  Sometimes living in Shanghai, the pollution and daily obstacles can get overwhelming.  It's good to remember that it's not all bad, and there are good times as well.