Thursday, November 19, 2009

Incommunicato

UGH!  The blasted internet has been intermittent for the past six days - what's a girl to do?   President Obama stayed at the hotel attached to our apartment complex earlier this week.  If anyone wants to know an easy way to shave some funds off the national deficit, I have the answer.  Don't have the president travel.  What a production!  Three days in advance of his visit, the Centre was teaming with advance personnel and security detail.  Sorry, but seeing the secret service hanging out at the California Pizza Kitchen, isn't exactly an intimidating scene for me.  The people with cars in the garage had to move them out, and they closed our fitness center for two days.  They even had airport screening devices at the entrance to the hotel.

Didn't see anyone famous, but it was kinda cool to see all the activity, though disappointing to see what a major financial production each and every visit must entail.

Last weekend also included visits to two uniquely China locales - The South Bund Fabric Market and Jing'An Temple.

The Fabric Market is unreal.  Stalls upon stalls of places to have custom-made clothing sewn to your specifications.  Luckily, I had some good intel from a woman who was here over the summer on a couple reputable tailors, so off we went.  You can get tailor-made suits for under US $100, dress shirts for around US$13, etc.  I was struck by one dress designer who made the cutest wool dresses, and within minutes we were taking the neckline off one dress, and pairing it with the sleeves and skirt of another.  We'll see how this masterpiece turns out.

Nick ordered a shirt as a test, and we will be back this weekend to get measured for suits, and who knows what else.  I did experience the benefit of letting shopkeepers know that you've been referred to them from someone who has used their service as well as telling them that you live in Shanghai - you will get a much better deal that way.  A bargain shoppers dream.

We also ventured over to the Jing'An Temple which is just a few blocks from our house.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any brochures written about it in English, and we've been too lazy to look up info about it on-line, but it's a gorgeous 200-year old temple right in the heart of downtown Shanghai.  Such an interesting juxtaposition between the old Shanghai (and 200 years is actually new for a country thousands of years old) and the new modern city.















We're not sure why, but they were burning red bags and boxes filled with neatly folded silver paper.  Gotta research that.



And, the photo of the week:


I didn't realize that gruel was delicious, but it is at Deliciousgruel.  This place will not be making the Nick and Lu List of Places to Eat

Monday morning I ventured out to Old Town Shanghai and the Yuyuan Bazaar - a bit more of shopping heaven.  Picked up several Xmas gifts, so I won't disclose any items here, but fun - and I got a bunch of rainy day deals.  It was pouring and I was generally the only person in a shop, which was good for the deals, but bad for all the attention spent on me.  If I picked up something, I was immediately told, "Oh, I give you best price, cheap price, raining today."  And, then unless I said "bo yeo" which means "don't want" at least ten times, they would continue to reduce the price, and beg for a sale.  And you thought AmWay was pushy!  They should hire these shopkeepers.





Starbucks will be on the moon soon.  Here is a gorgeous old building with a Starbucks in it.  There was also a Dairy Queen just to the left of the SB.

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