Archive for the ‘Shanghai and environs’ Category

Shanghai art museum

September 11, 2007

Orange RolloWent to the Shanghai Art Museum this weekend. The boys started whingeing shortly after we arrived. “It’s booooooring,” and “I’m boooooored” covered the art like wet burlap sacks. But just as we were about to pack it in and take a culture raincheck, we went up to the third floor and were pleasantly surprised by, of all things, a silk exhibition sponsored by Hermes. The exhibitors did a fantastic job of creating a new place within the museum. There was ethereal music, dramatic lighting, rooms with different character and distinct feels, etc. The boys really got into it.boys art museum

Aidan said, “Pop, this inspires my art.”


Weather report

September 3, 2007

A rainy cool front is pushing through Shanghai, where the temperature has fallen about 25F (14C) from just a few days ago, and I’ve got the sinus headache to prove it. Despite the pain in my skull, it’s a welcome relief from the near constant 100F plus (38C plus) temps we’ve had since mid-July.

At this time of sinusoidal unrest, special thanks are due to my Auntie Fran for the copious supply of Flonase. It helps amazingly much.

Adventures in Expatland, vol. 1

August 28, 2007

We live in an apartment complex on the eastern side of the Huangpu River. The Huangpu bisects Shanghai from north to south. East Shanghai is referred to as Pudong, or east of the river; the west side is known as Puxi (west of the river). Our place is about 2 miles (3k) from a shopping center called Zendai Thumb Plaza and about 4 miles (6k) from another shopping center called Green Court.

The apartments and villas immediately surrounding these shopping centers constitute what I call Expatland. They’re where the highest concentrations of Western expatriates live in Pudong. Contained within each of these two shopping centers are the gustatory banes of our existence — the Moon River Diner and the Blue Frog. Both are American-style burger joints.

As pleased as we were to discover these places within our first few months of arriving, Lisa and I have come to dread them because the food is just so bland. At first, we were excited because the kids were not adjusting well to China and the familiar food and friendly, English-speaking staffs kept us coming back despite the decidedly American meal prices. Playgrounds outside, coloring paper and sauceless pasta inside add up to happy kids. What more can you ask for?

But the kids haven’t discovered the concept of ‘too much of a good thing isn’t good’ yet.  Their persistent unwillingness to explore different foods despite our best efforts, combined with our fear that Rollo is just too danged skinny for his own good, has severely limited our eating out options.

What I can’t complain about is the kid-friendly atmosphere. The boys really love both places and they almost always find other kids to run around with outside. That leaves Lisa and me to nurse our drinks, nibble our soggy salads, fantasize about the Chinese, Thai, Indian, and other foods we’re not eating, and enjoy 30 to 45 minutes of happy, distracted children playing outside at the end of lunch or dinner.

Shanghai Gongqing Forest Park

August 25, 2007

Forest Park boysWe went to the Shanghai Gongqing Forest Park today. It’s on the northeast side of the city, butting up against the skanky Huangpu River. The park is huge. In four hours we only covered about a quarter of the place. The lads had a great time. They learned the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees, chased some live frogs, mourned some dead ones, and at the end, got to go on a bouncy castle–a ubiquitous feature in Chinese parks and plazas–and eat ice cream.
Wedding 1 The big thing to do at the park seems to be to have one’s wedding photos taken. We probably saw 10 to 15 couples in full wedding regalia at different parts along our walk, each being followed by a cameraman, videographer, and various friends and attendants. At one point, there was a three couple pile-up at a popular spot near a pond. Several soon-to-be newlyweds (I think these photos are taken several months before the actual wedding) cooled their jets on a warm summer day as another couple posed on a small pier. Of all the couples we witnessed, the only bride we saw with a smile on her face was one who had just hopped off a golf cart and was heading out of the park, presumably back to a nearby 2