December 2, 2008

2008 in Pictures: Part 2


Date Taken: January 11th, 2008

This photo is of me displaying the first bottle of water I successfully ordered in Chinese! I'd been trying for almost 2 weeks to accomplish this task. I finally did it when Tim and Laurel took me out to Di Shui Dong, an amazing (but stomach-pain-inducing, unfortunately) Hunan restaurant in Puxi. So of course I had to celebrate :-)

The jacket that you see me wearing is the "cold weather" one that I purchased in Austin before leaving for Shanghai. My, how my concept of cold weather had changed in the 3 years I'd been living in Austin. I quickly got rid of that jacket, and hat, as the temperature dropped and the snowstorm hit. Instead, I bought heavier ones.


Date Taken: January 11th, 2008

After lunch, I walked down to Garden Books, this amazingly Austin-y bookstore just a couple blocks from Di Shui Dong. I remember that Tim and Laurel had some other business to attend to (framing pictures), so I was on my own. They were like "Walk three blocks here, turn right here, and go forward. It's on your left. You'll see the sign." I was a little scared to be walking around downtown Shanghai on my own with zero language skills (apart from being able to order a bottle of water, of course), even though I had his cell phone number. Lots of things can happen, right? Luckily I made it to Garden Books okay, and with a sigh of relief, I walked inside.

The place is really calm and cozy. The place is two levels; on the bottom level there are lots of business books, travel books, books about Shanghai specifically & China in general, design books, art books, cookbooks, and so on. They have shitloads of books about selling to this ever-burgeoning Chinese market. There's also a decent-size cafe with plenty of seating just for sitting down and reading (although you have to buy something to be able to sit down), and the food there is pretty good. The funniest part is upstairs, where there's a small but well-stocked (I think) section of books in German. Who'da thunk it?? Every time I tell someone there are a lot of Germans in Shanghai (there are!!), I use this section of the bookstore as evidence. I even found a German copy of A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Like I said, it feels pretty cozy, and having a great English-language bookstore in the city is a real plus. Before I leave I'm going to go back there and buy a big fat coffee table book full of lush, gorgeous Shanghai pictures (to complement my own, of course).

home 010 apartment

Date Taken: January 11th, 2008

This is one of the views from my apartment, which is on the 18th story of a 25-story building. In my complex there are in total about 25 25-story buildings. Each floor has three apartments. If you do the math, that comes out to 1,875 apartments. Take a reasonable guess of 3 people per apartment and you end up with 5,625 people in my complex. I dunno about you, but that seems like a lot. I joke that all of downtown Austin could fit in here. And there are lots more complexes of similar size dotting the area. Keep in mind that Shanghai has about 20 million people in it! Now that is including all the little boonie-towns in the suburbs, but still. It boggles the mind.

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