Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marvel's blog

yo fuhgeddaboutit
       Due to circumstances beyond my control, I find myself in Witness Protection.  I am living a life in hiding.  Whaddayagonnadoaboutit?  When it came time to put some space between me and some former associates, I needed to look out for #1.  I had myself a few run ins with some of the under class.  The lack of respect to a bunny of my stature, well, in the old neighborhood, you woulda gotten yourself "disappeared".  Shanghai is no place for a bunny that ain't got no connections.  Lemme tell you, ammiright?
         So I recently finds myself in a situation, cornered and approached by some local goons.  They must've been 'bout 8-9 years old, and mean looking.  They put the squeeze on me (literally) and started pulling my ears.  My ears!  No respect.  So when a nice schoolteacher took pity and rescues me, I turns on the charm.  Made myself look cute and pathetic.  What can I say, I still got it.  She fell for it.  She  took me home and made me her "pet".  Ha ha.  So for the time being, I lay low.  Gotta sweet gig over at the school.  All I gots to do is eat, rest, hang out and look adorable.  The kids, they gimme whatever I want.   It's a piece of cake.  They even gave me a civilian name - Marvel - can you believe it?  If the old neighborhood could see me now.  My old crew, Hoppy the Hitter, Crazy Bugsy and Voldebunny would be shocked.
         My problem now is this low-rent resort I'm in for the summer.  What is this "Lamb's House"?  This ain't the Poconos.  No private room, I actually share wit two females!  They treat me nice, like I said I still got it, but c'mon.  It's definitely below my normal standards.  Where's the heart shaped tub?  The champagne and roses?  The prosciutto and pasta fagiol?
         And don't get me started on the housekeeping.  Can you say "whatdaheckah"?  The same lady been cleaning my room for a month and she still don't get how I like my blanket.  It's not rocket science lady.  Is this your first job or what.  She must be an immigrant from some third world country.

shhh…. it's me
gettin' my hare done, get it, get it?
      The past few days, I been thinking about making a break for it.  Having a little fun.  Maybe heading down to Macau or Singapore.  I got some connections that can hook me up.  I could play a little craps, see the shows.  Bunny Adelson owes me some favors.
      But every time I try to make a sneaky exit,  the Beast of the Big Snout appears.  Where'd they get this guy?  He's downright Medievel.  He has this big black nose and long tail.  His bark almost made me pee my fluff.  Every time I look around the corner, he's there with his fangs.  He makes these loud noises, then he whines and chuffs.  I pretend I can't speak, I try to stay silent.  But he's always watching, always watching.  It's enough to give a rabbit the shivers.  I have to wait until he lets down his guard, then creep past him.  If only I had a getaway car.  If only I could drive.  I gotta make a plan.  Hmmmm…..

Buddy the Beast - see what I mean!?
friggin' scary
always watching

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dumpling tour and cooking class

     Last weekend the girls and I tour a four hour Dumpling tour and cooking class.  Our guide was an American woman who has lived in China for almost seven years.  Her Mandarin was perfect.  I'm always so impressed when someone has mastered such a difficult language.  She told us to come hungry, and she was not kidding.  
     The tour took place in the French Concession area.  We first went to a small stall run by a young married couple.  They only make one kind of dumpling, a pan-fried guotie like a pot sticker, and they are always sold out by midday.  Most dumplings in Shanghai are filled with pork, and then some with variations of vegetable, etc.  If you don't want pork, you would have to let the guide know ahead of time, and she would select shops that have alternatives.  

     Next we had fantastic Xiaolongbao, Shanghai soup dumplings.  The tiny shop had six tables and run by a married couple.  While we were dining, the whole extended family (grandma, grandpa, grandson) sitting in the corner.  It is really normal in China to see the whole family in the shop, just hanging out.  The guide told us that many people will come to this restaurant and buy dumplings uncooked, then rush them home to steam them for dinner or freeze them.  These were the best Xiaolongbao we've had, with a really flavorful broth inside.

   We also stopped to have JianBing which is an egg crepe filled with scallions, crispy wonton and hoisin.  Very common breakfast to eat on-the-go.  Crunchy on the inside and hot & delicious! Then off to a street cafe to have steamed Jiaozi with celery and cabbage.  This was around lunch time, and lots of workers were lined-up buying from other street vendors.  All the workers were hot and sweaty from a morning of hard physical labor.  They had these heaping platters of rice, vegetables and a little meat.  They all were drinking big bottles of Suntory beers with their lunches.  Ahh, that must be why we see so many people taking an afternoon siesta.
      Now it was off to the cooking class.  The cooking school is in a house in French Concession area.  It looked like half the house was their residence and the other half was a glassed-in porch used for the class.  The instructor spoke Mandarin and our tour guide translated.

    We made ShengJian which is a fried bun.  We made the dough and rolled it out into small round discs.  Then we mixed our pork filling, and began stuffing them.  This was the hardest part for us.  I have a newfound admiration for the people that do this daily.  A lot of work goes into making dumplings.  We each fried and steamed our creations.  The best part was the eating! Yum!

Buddy's blog

Really Lambs?  You brought home a bunny?…..a bunny.   sigh.    grrrr.

So I'm thinking they brought this cage in, and that maybe they were getting someone for me.  Like a friend, companion, pal…or at least someone I could relate to.  Ya know an equal, a compadre, a bro?  But NOOOO.  This is the worst kind of insult.  

    He's a little white rabbit.  His name is Marvel (he is so not). He has these long pink ears, and this little poofy tail.  He doesn't say anything.  NOTHING.  I tried to reach out to him cuz I'm that kinda guy, er, dog.  Deep down I'm a peacemaker, a friend to all.  And I get no response.  Just a smug superior look.  He looks down at me from his penthouse up high and just wrinkles his nose.  Always with the wrinkled nose.  I just want to bite it! Dude, my ancestors ate you guys for lunch so put away your attitude.  

My girls have been brainwashed by him.  Emily & Katie feed him special food by hand, they even give him food from the big magic box in the kitchen.  Vegetables and fruit.  I never get food from the magic chill box - never!  MomLucy is the worst.  Everyday she puts a special box with wood chips in his cage, it looks fluffy and cozy.  He doesn't care, he even does his worst kinda business in there.  How can she not see how he really is.  He's getting all the love and attention that I used to get.  My daily quota of petting and loving has gone down drastically.  I think I am depressed.  I have nothing to get up for.  My days just run one into the other…..I have nothing….life means nothing….
bunnies r evil

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Afternoon in Tianzifang

Tianzifang is an area of Shanghai that was previously an artists' colony.  Now Tianzifang is a maze of alleyways and narrow pedestrian walkways full of tiny shops, galleries and restaurants.  The buildings all have brick and stone doorways in the Shikumen style which is the signature architecture here in Tianzifang.  We went on a Saturday afternoon, and it was hot and crowded.  Lots of tourists, but also many young Chinese.  We did have a really great lunch at New York Style Steak & Burger.  It's interesting in Shanghai you can find little restaurants tucked away in corners that make really decent International food.

so crowded
We found New York Style Steak & Burger at the end of a narrow, winding alley.  
If you asked me to find it again, there would be no way.  

spicy shoestring fries - yummy
We went to the Teddy Bear Museum in Tianzifang.  The space was packed with antique stuffed bears in glass cases and newer bears to purchase.  Lots of young women and families.  They also have a restaurant upstairs, you can sit with your bears and have a beverage.  Really.

This shop had a line in the front.  They sell drinks in IV sacks.  Twilight?  I don't get this…
Fruity drinks in IV drip sacks

Why is this is a thing?
None of these make me want to go there and buy.  Really,…really? 
Old Shanghai to protect skin to taste, huh?…

more than a toilet delicious & happy
Durianything…no thank you…
hand-wash sink outside at Teddy Bear Museum
stay classy… 
don't think i would work here

Friday, July 11, 2014

Marvel the bunny

Marvel is Katie's 3rd grade class pet.  Katie's teacher, Ms. Chase is returning to the US this summer for a visit, and we have volunteered to baby-sit,…er..bunny-sit Marvel.  We picked him up on the last day of school, and he has a comfy spot in Emily & Katie's room.
     Marvel's story is that this last Easter, Ms. Chase was at an event that had a petting area with the baby rabbits.  Marvel was being poorly treated by some of the kids - ear pulling, squeezing, etc.  So Ms. Chase asked if she could adopt Marvel.
     Marvel is really cute and very, very curious!  He loves jumping and playing behind the curtains.  He likes to sit on the window sill and look out, and likes to play with anything plastic.  We all take turns feeding him blueberries (he loves!) and playing with him.
     I don't know what's going on with Buddy.  He is really wanting to smell all Marvel's stuff and dig his nose into the wood chips in the litter box.  Marvel just glares at Buddy, and Buddy whines and whimpers.  He'll watch while I feed Marvel lettuce through the open cage door.  Then he'll woof pathetically.  So we keep them separated most of the time.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fathers' Day and end of another school year

     Fathers' day was celebrated with yet another brunch, this time at the Pudong Shangri-La near the Bund.  This was one of the more expensive brunches we have gone to.  The Shangri-La has many of the same food stations as the other hotels, but as expected, it was all just a little nicer.  The champagne was better, the desserts were more elaborate, etc.  The Indian food station had a real tandoori oven roasting hairy crabs.  The sushi was high quality, and the oysters served raw or baked.  The Shangri-La is definitely one of the top brunches in Shanghai.

 The cookie display was a model of the Great Wall of China with 
cookie lambs on the wall - how appropriate!

Baked Alaska on dry ice
Cold Chinese dishes
tandoori oven
oysters with mignonette

 Emily & Katie finished school on the 19th of June.  The last week was filled with fun and parties, but also lots of goodbyes.  Most of their friends were heading back home for the summer, and a few friends were moving away permanently - some back to their home countries, others to another relocation.  Both girls handled it really well, but still a little sad.  They know that is just part of life here.

Emily & her friends
Congratulations Emily!