Wow, 10 posts and we're barely through March! I gotta step it up a bit ...
Date Taken: March 22nd, 2008
Ah Internet, how awesome you are for bringing people together for such purposes as book clubs, political discussions, scientific research, and bashing the ever-loving crap out of one another with pillows. Shanghai wasn't the only city to celebrate Worldwide Pillow Fight Day 2008, but it's where I was so that's where I went and took pictures. And my Shanghaiist post is the #1 Google result when searching for it! Rock on.
Here's to 2009!
Date Taken: April 6th, 2008
These picture were taken on my first visit to Moganshan Lu, a small warehouse/art district in northern Shanghai along Suzhou Creek. People speculate wildly about the Chinese art scene, but if you come here you'll be assured that it's booming. There are tons of contemporary galleries, some small and some large, displaying sculptures, handicrafts, paintings, photography, and a lot more. It's a really relaxed place with a cafe or two that you can relax in while browsing. It's really easy to kill an afternoon here just walking around and looking at all the fun stuff. You don't even have to buy anything.
On my first visit there I spent some time walking around the back of the complex, where I climbed some stairs as high as I could go, just exploring and going wherever I felt like it, and took the first picture you see above. Because it's artsy, the area is filled with foreigners, so most people around can speak decent English. It's a very relaxing time. I remember I spent some time reading in the larger cafe and feeling so peaceful; in fact it was probably the first time in Shanghai I felt at peace like that.
Date Taken: April 12th, 2008
This is the remnants (actually, we weren't done yet) of a dinner I had with my co-workers after our quarterly party. One woman had organized a scavenger hunt, so we met up at my apartment, agreed on the rules, read the items, and off we went! My team won, of course ;-) It was really fun walking around and talking to strangers, holding babies, taking pictures of random stuff like celebrities (who were easy to find on the cover of DVDs) and convincing a security guard to sing a song for us. Haha. Afterwards we all went to dinner at, um, well I can't remember the place, but the food was amazing. I remebered I hadn't taken pictures of food yet, so I did and you can see the results above and in the full set. As you can guess, even though there were like 11 of us, we couldn't eat everything and there was a lot of leftovers.
One thing I really like about China is that, as you can see by the Lazy Susan, most eating is done family-style. This is a great way to try out new foods with little risk; just sample some of what your friends ordered! Everything is very communal. And not only that, but the waiters bring out the food as it's ready, not all at once. This means you might accidentally fill up on the first 3-4 dishes because you've forgotten that you ordered 3-4 more! So when those come, you're like "Oh shit!" Haha. I do that a lot ;-) It also affects how you order food. In China, one person usually orders for everyone. So instead of the waiter going around the table and asking each person what they want, they just hover by one person and quickly write down the order. That same person usually pays for everything, too. But it's okay -- you rotate who pays, so it's understood that if you pay this time, someone else will pay next time, and it's all good. Very congenial. When I'm eating with expats, we usually go dutch though. We pass the menu around the table, and each person orders 1-2 things. It's really great and, again, a good way to try foods you never would have otherwise. I'm going to miss it; or maybe I'll just eat all my meals at Bucca di Beppo. But then I'll gain like 50 pounds :-(
Date Taken: April 20th, 2008
Hangzhou! This was my first trip in China. I rode on a train with two co-workers. It was amazing. (The trip, not the train, haha.) The thing I remember most, apart from the beautiful West Lake and Lingyin Temple, was the smell. It was the first time since arriving in Shanghai that I smelled flowers and fresh-cut grass. I remember it very clearly as we veered off the path around West Lake and into a park. That, and I realized that I hadn't really seen the sky in 4 months. Not when there was always super-tall buildings around. In Hangzhou it seemed so vast!
More here (but not all of it, because I got lazy and never posted about Day 2, haha).