Sunday, September 22, 2013

Friday in Shanghai

China has this interesting system for holidays.  They will give you the holiday off (Thursday, Moon Festival) plus Friday and Saturday as part of the holiday.  Even though Saturday is really part of what we call "the week-end" and not really a day off for the holiday.  Due to their kindness giving you three days off the companies and local Chinese schools work on Sunday.  So R had to work today, but got 3 days off, which were really only 2 days off, which I guess was really only 1 day off and a shift of the week-end.......So the moral of the story may just be - you get the holiday off and no more.  The boys were out of school on Thursday and our driver had the day off to spend with his family.  We decided to hang around our house and neighborhood.  

On Friday we walked the boys to school and then got to spend the day together!  The International school only had the holiday off and the normal week-end.  What a concept!!!

We went to Puxi to explore.  I've been wanting to take more and more pictures at different places.  We decided to head to Taikang Lu/Tianzifang and walk around.  The stores don't really open until 10ish so it was great to get there before the crowds.  The issue with a country holiday is that any tourist place becomes crowded.  And crowded means super duper crowded over here (think China ~1.3 Billion / Shanghai ~25 Million, these are from Ron's brain and not researched!)

Taikang Lu is an attempt to showcase old Shanghai alleyways and preserve old architecture.  The buildings have been converted to multiple shops, arts, crafts, trinkets & trash, bars, etc.  There is a sign outside of one store that says "NO PHOTOS" but they sell old Communist propaganda, so maybe you can take photos.  Something from there might be fun to bring home.

One of the other things you see throughout China is laundry being hung out to dry.  Behind the storefronts are homes.  Many of these places are rooms to sleep, bathrooms down a hallway that many, many families use, and a single kitchen.  Trust me when I tell you the picture you come up with in your mind as you read the word Kitchen is no where near reality.  And of course there are no dryers to be had, thus the drying the clothes outside.  It is a good reminder how lucky and blessed we are with everything we have in our lives.

I could really be giving you wrong information here, but I will try anyway!  At the entrances of the Imperial Palace and other important buildings there are usually lions guarding the doors.  There's a whole story about one being male and the other female and other details.  I will have to get that written down better at some point.  I'm guessing that the door hardware you see a lot is from these lions.  Here's an example of one of the many doors.

As we were walking around the alleyways a Grandma (assumption I know, but I'm probably right!) came around the corner with twin boys!  R still laughs because I was so excited to see this.  Not one little boy, but split bottom pants.  I have wanted to take a picture of the split bottom attire since we've gotten here/  In a country with so many people they do a great job of reducing diaper landfill waste!  Babies from a very small age are bare and unencumbered.  They are free to let lose whenever and wherever the mood hits.  We have seen so many interesting bathroom spots.  In the underground subway between station being held over a garbage can, the middle of a very, very busy pedestrian street over a grate in the ground, walking to the boys sports class with a little girl wide open to everyone peeing on a tree....  I could get into how gross some of the places are and the hygiene side, but I am truly trying to surround myself with positive people and reduce the negativity, since it tends to breed it...  Of course I don't love the free use of whatever and wherever, of course I don't like having to inspect grocery carts at the store because of you know what maybe still being there....but it is what it is and it is something I have wanted to document!  So I followed after the Grandma and the boys and tried like mad to adjust my settings and not lose the moment!
 And my favorite picture I've taken so far in China!  

After I got this shot I was super happy!  We stopped at Kommune and had Mojitos and did some people watching.  Always a favorite for us.  We decided to try and drop into a restaurant that has been in the local magazines lately and headed to the north end of the Bund near Suzhou Creek.  We haven't been to this area yet and had fun walking around.  Unfortunately the restaurant we wanted to go to was fully booked, darn holiday crowd! 

Many times and in really different places you will see wedding pictures taken.  These couples take pictures before their actual weddings.  If you google Chinese wedding photos you will see it is extravagant and costs a ton of money.  This end of the Bund was teeming with people being photographed.  I literally couldn't take pictures of all of them, there were that many.  Here are a few to give you an idea.

Love the yellow!  So bright and cheery.  My picture of a man in the large plaid suit came out too blurry to post.  
 Check out the left side of the bridge.  There is the couple in red and black and back behind them is yet another bride.  On the right side is a girl in peach.  Off the picture to the right were about three other couples waiting.
 And here are five different people and photographers vying to take pictures in the same spot.

We left there and headed to the Cool Docks area.  It's an area that is trying really hard, but just doesn't seem to be drawing the crowds.  It still has more of an industrial feel, but with new architecture.We stopped at a mexican restaurant for guacamole and margaritas and then headed to a BBQ restaurant for a rack of ribs.  They were pretty good.  Not as good as R makes, but good for our day out.

After being gone for the summer it was shocking to see how much further the new building, the Shanghai Tower,  had progressed.  When it is finished there will be over 120 floors. The "bottle opener" on the right was by far the tallest when I traveled here for work and when we moved here, now the new one has definitely surpassed it.  I can't remember where it ends up in tallest buildings in the world by the time it's completed (2014/5).  I want to say 5th tallest, which I'm sure was not the intention when it was started.

And since I haven't posted any signs on here yet, here is one that is in Mandarin and translated to English.  I am by no means making fun of it, since my rough, very rough Manadarin gets us around with our driver, but we do chuckle at the occasional sign.

I can't wait to go and explore more areas and take pictures.  I'm having so much fun learning my camera and trying it out.  We had a terrific day together!  It's always fun to have couple time, but it's also good to pick the boys up together and hear all about their day.

1 comment :

  1. Love, love, love the split pants twins! Great pictures and great blogging! Kim G.