August 22nd: Beijing Bikinis

The man in the photograph perfectly demonstrates a clothes-style I’m reliably informed is referred to as the “Beijing Bikini”.  Since it’s so bloomin’ hot outside, rolling up one’s top to allow the air to cool one’s belly seems an eminently sensible idea (a fashion unique to men in China it appears).  Having spent 2 hours exploring some of the older areas of Shanghai with Bron and Rachel in the heat of Sunday afternoon I was inclined to join in.  But fortunately for the locals, my t-shirt tan remains intact.

A box of insects

Boxes of insects. And feeding bowls.

There are those far better qualified than I to comment on how animals are treated in China (yeah, copout).  Instead, it was with quiet bewilderment that we stumbled through the huge plant/insect/animal market on Xizang Lu.  Five months in and sometimes I feel we’re no closer to understanding certain elements of Chinese culture.  Crickets in tiny cages; insects in small plastic boxes with what appears to be feeding trays filled with salt; lidded metal pots containing other mysterious insects.  All available for you to take home today.

So from bees to pies;

From the ridiculous to the sublime:

Glo London does probably the world’s best steak pie.  Guaranteed to take at least 2 days to digest, but well worth the effort.   The visiting family Burgess, now in week four of their visit to east Asia, had apparently had sufficient intake of local cuisine to necessitate a trip to a British-style gastro pub/bar.  We joined JB, his wife and 2 kids on Tuesday night for the most comforting of comfort foods in an attempt to avoid any further weight loss.   The food was excellent; my only complaint being the lack of British beers on offer (Guinness did the job though).

Monday’s attempt at comfort food was somewhat less successful: the lump of meat in our fridge clearly labeled in English as “best bacon” turned out not to bacon waiting to be sliced, but instead a chunk of uncooked ham.   At least that’s what we now think, since slicing it and grilling it seemed to turn the meat into pure salt.

Old streets of Shanghai

Old streets of Shanghai, with the new just appearing in the upper left.

Park near The Bund

Bron and Rach near The Bund. In bamboo world.