Edit Blog Post
Published: December 1st 2017
Mary in Shanghai
Looking across the river from the Bund to Pudong, the financial centre of Shanghai.
…and fruit flies like bananas…hard to believe I will be home in less than a month. I think this China trip has gone by the quickest of all. I’m really not sure why, but maybe it’s a combination of being totally at ease with what I do here and, to some extent, with China itself. China is always going to be a mystery regardless of how long you spend here as a foreigner, but at least some of the mystery becomes less, well, mysterious. Overall, the Chinese people that I am in contact with, even if just for a few minutes, have been great. Gentle, generous and genuine. (How’s that for alliteration?)
As a ‘for instance’, I have been going to a restaurant by my supermarket for dumplings or noodles from time to time. The husband and wife team are lovely and insist on presenting me with little ‘extras’ or giving me 14 dumplings instead of 12, which is way too much, but very kind. I suspect they think I need feeding up. How wrong could they be? Anyway, last time Kevin (no idea if that’s his actual name, but he looks like a Kevin) came over with a plate
of chicken feet. Now, I promised myself that I would be little more adventurous with food this time as I am a bit of a weenie when it comes to the unknown of food. So…I sucked it up and had a gnaw on a chicken foot, so as not appear ungracious to Kev. Well. Suffice to say, the feet remained free of me eating them. Using my usual combination of hand waving and goofy facial expressions I communicated to Kev that the feet would be more or less untouched. The time before he gave me some hot salty peanuts: they were great!
Speaking of supermarkets, they just installed a barber shop right inside the store itself, well, just at the entrance, but actually in the store. When I say ‘shop’ it is really a kiosk with a sink, some fixtures and a couple of barber chairs. At the kiosk entry there is a ticket machine. You feed it 10 RMB either with cash or it scans the wallet ‘app’ that everyone has on their phone that instantly sucks the funds out of your bank account or you swipe a credit/debit card. The machine spits out a ticket and then
Shanghai: chaps playing checkers
Just up the street from our posh Shanghai hotel. You only have to walk two or three minutes from the money and glitz of 'new' Shanghai to see 'normal' China.
you wait your turn for the barber. So when I went, there was no-one else around (a cunning ruse on my part)—of course, as soon as my turn came, which was almost instantly, a grinning crowd formed to watch the old foreign guy get his grey hair cut. More fun than a barrel of monkeys, apparently. The barber carefully places a paper collar between your neck and shirt collar, so the stubbly bits don’t end up going down your back and itching and driving you nuts before you can get home and change your shirt. All you guys know about that, right? So that was cool. But the really
cool part comes when he’s finished cutting. I thought it was time to go and went to get out of the chair. The barber gently but decisively pushed me back and opened this heretofore unnoticed closet thing and out pops out a hose with what looks all the world like a drapery attachment, and then basically vacuums your head and neck to remove all the cut hair. Nifty, eh? And all for 10 RMB! Oh…that’s $2…no tax, no tip.
As some of you may already know, Mary came out to
It really is just recycled...
Urinal in Bund Brew Pub, Shanghai
China on school business (no, honestly…) and was able to spend a few days with me in Shanghai and Jinhua, which was great. It was both a welcome break from school and my adequate but cheerless apartment, and also being able to spend time with Mary. We stayed at a posh Hotel in Shanghai: Les Suites Oriental
right on the Bund which was awesome, and I would recommend to anyone. Not cheap by Chinese standards, almost affordable compared to Vancouver however, but great service and impressive property in the way the Chinese seem to do so well. We did the usual touristy things including wandering along the river on the Bund and the obligatory sunset cruise, both fun stuff. One of the highlights was discovering a little pub on the sixth floor of a hotel just off the Bund: Captain Bar
. Great vibe, lovely servers and decent beer. Something a bit surreal about quaffing a few pints of Tennants while scoping the illuminations of the financial district and Pearl Tower across the river in Pudong, which really is the face of modern day China. Dynamic, Ultra Modern and Exciting. Sorry to say, but it makes Vancouver look a like a
School cafeteria lunch
Braised pork belly in soy and ginger with bok-choy and rice. About $3. Very delicious.
bit of a backwater…
We then headed down to Jinhua (300+kmh high-speed train) and stayed at the Wanda Realm Hotel for a couple of nights, also quite posh and also excellent. Unfortunately the weather was a bit gloomy in Jinhua, cold and misty with a hint of winter in the air, but no worries. We were both bagged by the time we got to Jinhua (just being in China is exhausting) so not really motivated to go too far from the hotel to find food. One night we invoked my theory that the further you are from home, the more likely you are to eat food that you never would at home. Hence Crispy Spice Chicken Burgers, Fries and Pepsi at the KFC in the mall next to the hotel…
Speaking of the Wanda Realm Hotel, I was also there this past weekend at the invitation of ‘The Government’. Eh, you say? A guest of the government? Sounds ominous…Sunny from The Jinhua Polytechnic College Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges Office for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Affairs
(no, really…) called me (during class) all in a breathless tizzy telling me that I had been 'selected' by ‘The
Government’ to attend the Founding Ceremony of Jinhua Federation of Domestic and Overseas Talents
organized by the Founding Conference of Jinhua Talents Development Federation
which would precede the 2017 Jinhua Development Summit.
Anyway, to cut a long, long story short, apparently, I was the only foreigner from the Polytechnic to be ‘selected’ and I am on the Federation Register as ‘Founding Member: Number 132’. Who knew? The event was mostly speeches (in Chinese. Obviously) and included a three-hour multi-course traditional banquet at the Wanda Realm Hotel and a Chinese Opera performance at the new Opera House. Around 500 guests at the banquet and 1,000 delegates at the Grand Opening Ceremony the next day…Very much an honour to be selected, but still not sure why me…?
On a more sombre note, Ringo is dead. Ringo was a giant cockroach (the ugliest Beetle…geddit…), about the size of regular Yorkshire Terrier, that lived in the scary drainpipe in my equally scary shower. I swear he was here the last time I was in Jinhua in 2014. I found his lifeless carapace a week or so and dutifully flushed him with considerable ceremony, albeit respectfully toasted with a properly cold tin
Students on campus
Spotted this on the way to lunch.
of beer (Coolday: It will brings lovely refreshments to your “Cool Day”
). RIP Ringo.
Tot: 0.074s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 11; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0081s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb