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Archive for the ‘Shanghai’ Category

First came Arm & Hammer, a baking soda from the 1860’s.  It is a registered trademark of the American manufacturer Church and Dwight and probably one of the most common products in every home in the USA.

Arm & Hammer

The most common and readily available counterfeit at wholesale stores and large supermarkets in China is ARM & HATCHET:

Arm & Hatchet

 And then just last week I found this 2nd generation counterfeit at a spice store in HaiYang.  The only thing better than Arm and Hatchet is ARM AND TOMAHAWK!

Arm & Tomahawk

 

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From the December issue of "that's SHANGHAI" ... What better gift to give yourself for Christmas?

I seriously just found this yesterday.  Haha!

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First of all - they are STAIRS. Second, I'm pretty sure you have to be on some strong sh!t to slide carefully down them...

(Another old picture.)  This was taken at a restaurant that will be front and center during the 2012 Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China….

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YOU HEARD ME.

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while – it’s from Shanghai back in December at week 15 in China.

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新年快乐. Xin Nian Kuai le.  Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Chinese New Year was celebrated on January 23rd this year.  Husband had the week off so we went to Shanghai to celebrate with some delicious Western food and delicious Western drinks!  January 22 was also my 28th birthday – so I was thrilled when the most populous country on the planet decided to set off fireworks and celebrate with me.  😀

The highlight of our trip was a traditional New Years Eve dinner at Huband’s Co-worker’s Wife’s family home.  In the time I have spent in China so far, this was my first visit to a family home.

Friend's Mama Cooking in the Kitchen

The only problem there was communication.  Her family, being mostly without higher education and living in Shanghai their entire life, spoke only Shanghainese, not Mandarin.  However, there is always one international language found at Chinese meals – and that is the language of alcohol.  The family broke out the beer, the wine, and the dreaded baijiu (white alcohol / mautai).  I accepted a little mautai at the beginning – but after the first ‘ganbei’ (toast), realized it wasn’t a good idea to be drinking rubbing alcohol so early in the night.  *bleh!*  The food was delicious and just kept coming…  Two of the most unique dishes we tried were pig tongue and pig stomach and they were suprisingly tasty!  Just LOOK at ALL THAT FOOD!!!!

New Years Eve Dinner

So you want to know about a Chinese home?  I imagine this apartment is pretty typical for the older generation living in Shanghai.  Small.  Very small.  The entire space was probably about 40 square meters and costed MORE than our home and property back in Pittsburgh.  When you walk in the front door, you enter the dining room…

Dining Room / Entry Looking towards Bedroom (also livingroom) entrance

To the left was a kitchen and a bedroom.  To the right was a bathroom and the master bedroom (which is ALSO the living room).  When we first arrived, the whole family was sitting on the master bed watching TV like it was a couch.  To them it was!  After dinner they invited us to sit on the bed and watch TV with them.  A nice gesture but we found the custom a little strange, not to mention we couldn’t understand the CCTV programming that was on…

Friend's Mama on the Bed (also the Couch) watching CCTV after dinner

Our friend had bought a cake to celebrate my birthday.  Let me tell you how funny it is to have people singing to you in two different languages on your birthday!  It was probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.  I’m not a fan of super-sweet icing, and (to my disbeilief) the icing was perfect.  The numbers on the cake are 28 AND 29, because I am considered 29 in China.  (They consider the first 9 months in the mom’s tummy as a first year… somehow…)  (To my brother – When a Chinese girl tells you she is 18, be careful, she may really mean 17….)

My Birthday Cake

Once it was time to leave, the 4 of us decided to try and find a bar to celebrate the rest of New Years Eve.  Unfortunately, since most Chinese go home for the New Year (much like us Americans do for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving), the vast majority of the bars in Shanghai were not open that night.  We ended up at Big Bamboo on Hong Mei Lu Entertainment Street.  Most of the bars and restaurants here were closed but there were still several open.

The coolest thing on Chinese holidays are fireworks!   I’ve heard they are banned in Shanghai, making them “illegal”, much like driving on the wrong side of the road is “illegal”, also like blowing past red lights, driving on the sidewalk, speeding, smoking in stores, and pretty much disobeying every common civilized country’s code of conduct.  But in China, if you’ve lived or visited here, you know they are mere suggestions of conduct… It is only suggested that you drive on the correct side of the road… Police man sees you, no problem…  So!  Alas!  We saw many fireworks – VERY CLOSE UP!   I think back to Pittsburgh where any of the township’s fireworks are very safe…  everyone stays very far away from ground zero… by law…   HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.!!!! …   Watch my youtube videos from Chinese New Years….

More to come…. takes an eternity to upload from China….

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It’s a long overdue post, as usual, sorry.

It’s now half-way through January, but I wanted to keep my passionate loyal readers on edge for an exciting new story!

My brother arrived from South Korea on December 23.  He is doing research for his PhD in Electrical Engineering at university in Suwon, South Korea(Brother, please post the name – it has at least 20 letters and I can’t ever remember it!).  (Don’t ask me about it – he’s much smarter than I am!)  I took a ‘Company’ driver to Qingdao to meet him at the airport.  Seriously, the only thing worse than flying to your destination, is PICKING UP someone who is flying.  I always assume the flights in China will be late.  Since we’ve been here in September only 1 out of 8 of my flights were actually on time.  Point being, my brother’s flight was late, and we arrived much too early at the airport for my taste.  By the time we left the airport, it was dark… Brother asked what was ‘out’ there along the highway to Haiyang…. farms… farms… farm…   …   …   …  Eventually we arrived at the expat village and got into our place.  Husband had a managerial phone call that night, but that didn’t stop Brother from turning on the XBox and starting his video games….   I said, “ahhhhh….. just like HOME!!!!”.  That was the point.  I wanted to have Christmas as much like HOME as it could be – for all 3 of us.  I know our families suffer with our absence as well – but they have a much larger support system.  We have other expatriate friends here, but family is not something you can replace.  Brother was able to come, and because he is ridiculously similar to Husband’s younger brother, he sorta played two roles… BOTH of our younger brothers.

Christmas weekend was pretty uneventful.  All I wanted was to have the two most important men in my life to rest and enjoy themselves in a way that felt like home in Pittsburgh.  I’m pretty sure they did just that.  Basically I spent 12 hours a day on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in what is (kind of) a kitchen… and they played XBox and watched movies.  To me this was perfect.  They were happy and I was able to provide them some sort of “home feeling”.

Brother and Husband enjoying Christmas

Our Christmas Tree – purchased from Metro in Qingdao…

Chinese-bought Christmas Tree

Chinese-bought Christmas Tree

This was our Christmas dinner.  Some of the sides were leftovers from Christmas Eve, but still tasted good.  We had a leg of lamb, potato salad, leftover Boulder Chicken (Husband’s favorite), salad, veggies and spinach-artichoke dip, pineapple, and Champaign.  I can’t ever reproduce what my Mom and Grandma, or what Husband’s Mother can do, but with the limited resources in China, I think I did a pretty acceptable job!  Further, I KNOW that Husband and Brother appreciated it!  🙂   And THAT was all I wanted!

Christimas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

After Christmas, the three of us went to Qingdao for two nights.  Personally, I knew I needed a few days to rest from the hours and hours in the kitchen!  While here, we toured the Qingdao Beer Museum.

 Brother and Husband at Qingdao beer museum

Brother and Husband at Qingdao beer museum

For New Years, we all went to Shanghai.  I figured there was no better place to get a taste of the West than Shanghai.  We stayed at a hotel in the French Concession area – which I had heard about, but never seen.  It was awesome, a good mix of East meets West.

We managed to eat dinner one night at M on the Bund – this place has one of the best views of the Pudong District of Shanghai.

 

Husband and Brother at M on the Bund

 

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