April 24th: Frogs and Transformers

21 degrees at 8am sounds like an ideal way to start the working day.  Add in 85% humidity though and you have a somewhat sticky journey to work.  And it’s only April; July and August are going to be entertaining months…

Tesco in China

So a weekend of exploring in the mid-spring heat took us to a few highs (afternoon tea overlooking the French Concession) and a few lows (my first trip to Tesco in about 5 years).  We knew Tesco would be a different experience to that in the UK, but we didn’t appreciate by quite how much.

Tesco Frogs

Frogs and Turtles for tea then.

It makes perfect sense to pick your own live frog or live turtle, or use your own fishing net (analogous to a shopping basket I suppose, but for swimming things) to select your preferred fresh fish. This is not a criticism by the way – it’s just a little alien to us.

A market seemingly run entirely by ex-pats provided a satisfying barbecued sausage lunch on Saturday (funny how we baulk at selecting a live frog but quite happily eat minced miscellaneous meat in casing).  We also bought a shedload of vegetables from one of the nearby street traders – a challenge not just because we don’t speak the same language, but also because the Chinese have their own unique hand gestures to indicate any number above 5.

An hour with the downstairs neighbours (if that’s the correct phrase) over a bottle of wine provided a relaxing way to start Saturday evening,  although watching the second half of the Arsenal v Chelsea match (0-0) in the Jing’An Big Bamboo wasn’t a particularly exciting end to the evening.

Transformers, robots in Jing'AnSunday saw us pick up the “Shanghai Walking Tours” book and head out.  The Transformers guarding the Jing’An Temple (an epitomic, but somewhat incongruous visual juxtaposition in modern Shanghai) weren’t in the guide book, nor were the drumming ladies, but both sights entertaining nonetheless.  The guide book took us down a few nooks and crannies we’d never have otherwise considered exploring, so was well worth the effort.  Finally managed a Skype call back home too, so an excellent weekend in all.

And I’ve never seen somebody so comfortable strolling the streets of Shanghai carrying a plunger as was Bronwen.  These 1930 houses certainly have character… and a lot to answer for.

Bron masterfully opens the gate

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