Page 4 of soooze Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Shanghai February 11th 2010

I wrote this blog a few days ago and then I shelved it. I got nervous about publishing it because I thought it might be taken as a criticism of my host country. It's not. It's just my observations and my reactions to a few topics. Also, I talk about some icky stuff so if you are easily offended, just close the window and go on about your business. You have been properly advised. I promise the next blog will be all things goodness and light. And maybe some rainbows. I am going to Bali to turn 40 after all. Earlier this week, my friend Brian sent me an article he’d read about Shanghai’s crackdown on pajama wearing. Yes it’s true, and I’ve read about it here in the local news. The Chinese government is very ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai February 2nd 2010

Emily's second grade class recently went on a field trip to a local wet market. Wet markets are where you go to buy produce, sometimes fruit, meat, fish, and often other food items like nuts, seeds, flour. The purpose of the trip was for the kids to do the shopping, buy some vegetables for a class stir-fry and transact in local currency with local vendors. The market is very close to the school and we were able to get there through a normally locked gate our school guards opened for us. It made me appreciate the school's location and the value in a simple walking field trip such as this one. I was glad to help with the outing because this is my most favorite part of living in China. Seeing the kids speak Mandarin, bargain, ... read more
the broccoli sisters
shopping is fun
snack break

Asia » China » Shanghai February 1st 2010

The last week or so has been all about music. As these events and activities were transpiring, I thought to myself this will be a themed blog for sure. And here we are. I started it all off with a writing assignment about music in the international schools in Shanghai. I talked to and emailed with music directors around town about what makes their music program special. The article was heavily edited which made me question my ability to take feedback, but I got through it and checked that off my to do list. Perhaps because of the article, I made the previously promised effort to find Emily a guitar teacher. I Googled "Guitar teacher Shanghai" or something similar and found a teacher online who was available to come to our apartment. Then I had to ... read more
sole food
concert hall
unauthorized photo

Asia » China » Shanghai January 27th 2010

Going to the bank in China is part adventure and part torture session. And because it’s so unpredictable, it tends to be somewhat newsworthy. No trip to the bank is ever the same, at least for me. Here are a few of my recent banking experiences for your amusement: Transferring funds We had some issues with the online payment option so I tried to pay the landlord directly by going into the bank. We have the same bank as the landlord, and I have previously transferred a hotel deposit to someone in China by going into a branch of his bank, giving the teller cash and his account number, and it went fairly smoothly. I even saw a printed confirmation with his name on it to ensure I had given my money to the right person. ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai January 12th 2010

Shanghai is busy preparing for the big 2010 Expo which opens May 1 with 70 million expected visitors. There has been nonstop construction since we arrived in 2008, and supposedly, that will slow and perhaps even pause/end when the Expo starts. I am interested to see if that’s the case. A very famous food street, Wuliang Lu, near Mark’s old office, has been torn down and beautified. These changes are sad to watch because they are erasing historic parts of a very modern city which I (among many food fans) would rather see maintained alongside all of the new. Ironically, Krispy Kreme is now open just down the street from the former food street. Even in my own neighborhood, we noticed a lot of cosmetic updating. The slummish housing next door is getting a dramatic face ... read more
subway spotted
remodel of neighboring  apts

Asia » China » Shanghai January 10th 2010

Having left Santa Barbara on Thursday at 3:30pm we got back to Shanghai at about 4pm on Saturday. We spent a night at a hotel near O'Hare (genius on my part which Mark later conceded was a brilliant idea after at first saying "why aren't you just going home for the night?") Why? Because I had 2 kids, we arrived near midnight, it did indeed end up being a snowy night which would have meant transportation from the airport challenges--and it cost roughly the same in dollars to stay at a hotel as a trip to and from the airport would have been. I am a planner and a preventer of problems and this is why we stayed at a hotel. Like I said, genius. While I prayed mightily for good travel karma (5 seats with ... read more
at the airport restaurant
white mac attack
relaxing at the hotel

North America » United States » California » Santa Barbara January 4th 2010

I have not had a lot of free time while on this trip home to the US. The free time I have had was often without consistent Internet access--stealing signals from neighbors while leaning against the window gets tiresome--so I have been on a blog break of sorts. Never a bad thing, to take a break and reflect, but then I fear I will forget to write down my observations and the key experiences that really are all still part of the great China Experiment. It's been three plus weeks, but here are some highlights. We flew home without real issue and I was saying prayers of thanks the entire flight back. The kids each had 2 seats (coach) and I was sandwiched in the middle but they slept and never fought and I was grateful ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai December 12th 2009

I am packing frantically but the record would not be complete if I didn't share the following bits from our December in Shanghai. Nathan took his first Kung Fu test about a week ago and passed it...the whole thing was quite intense. They made the kids do a lot of work and demonstrate their skills in front of an audience of parents and a panel of Kung Fu Masters. Nathan had a serious look on his face the entire time but smiled when he got the pass sign from the Master. Phew. I was inspired to take some classes of my own after seeing him in action. Next year. Emily chose not to do the test. She finished the classes with Nathan (because I made her finish) but she didn't want to do the test. That's ... read more
hot dog on the train
me and the guys
how the other 95% drives

Asia » China » Shanghai November 28th 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 - Shanghai, China Last year, I triumphantly concocted a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday and it involved some odd substitutions. It was quite memorable, quite enjoyable, but it was not quite the same. This year, after much soul searching and much consternation over the budgetary implications, I decided that I just had to do it. I had to buy the $100 bird (technically more like $130 but it included delivery and came with stuffing, gravy and the elusive cranberries I cannot find anywhere here in Shanghai. I know it’s absurd to spend that much on an imported turkey, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I wanted to do it right this year. Since Mark was out of town on Thursday (made it home late that night) and the kids had school (not a holiday ... read more
DIY onion topping
flowers for the table
pretending I cooked it

Asia » China » Zhejiang » Moganshan November 24th 2009

We spent the past week with our friends Lisa and Rikard from Stockholm. I met Lisa a year ago in Shanghai. We studied Chinese together and became fast friends…you know when you meet someone you are meant to be friends with? It’s even more special when you find these people a half a world away from both of your homes. Lisa brought her love, Rikard, with her this trip and we all had a great time together. Lisa showed Rikard her favorite spots and we introduced them both to some of our favorites too. They came stocked with Swedish food and drink and we ate and drank our way through the generous stockpile throughout the week. Personally crafted muesli and homemade bread were my favorites. Our final weekend together was spent in Moganshan. This was our ... read more
bamboo forest
train trip to Hangzhou
R & E

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