Sunday, September 23, 2007


Shanghai is a great bicycling city. There are no hills. You think Texas is flat? It's got nuttin' on Shanghai. If the city ever floods, it'll be a nightmare because there are no highpoints. (Speaking of flooding, we were basically unscathed by the typhoon. Barely even rained - what a let down.)

Anyway, the point of all of this is that I bought myself a bicycle for my birthday. She's beautiful. Bright turquoise with a cute little basket and an even cuter little bell, which, unfortunately, sounds a bit like a sick frog when wet. We discovered this quickly after an afternoon ride in the rain.

And the best part... really, the best part... is that she came with a name. Ladies and Gentleman, meet... Alice. (there's supposed to be a photo here, but having trouble with the upload. A glitch from behind the Red Curtain, perhaps.)

The Little One and I went shopping Saturday afternoon in the rain. I came home with Alice, and she left with Homy. Not kidding. Homy - a shiny green number, also with a cute little basket and equally cute bell.

Joining us in our shopping adventures was the Ladykiller, my 6' 3" friend with red, red hair. He blends in well with the local population. HA. Anyway, he was supposed to bring his bike to get it fixed, but since the bolt that was missing was the one that kept the handlebars on he decided to leave it at home. After the big purchase, we all decided to go do a little exploring and get some lunch. Ladykiller assured us that he could just jog along if we kept the pace slow.

I want you to get a firm image in your head. Two white girls on bicycles with funny names and a big red-headed man running beside them down the back streets of Shanghai in the pouring rain. Did I mention we were singing theme songs from the Rocky films to keep the Ladykiller in the running spirit? Blending with the local culture. That's what you do when living in a foreign country. I'm sure we turned a few heads. Crazy laowai (foreigner in Chinese).

I'm trying desperately to post pics of the bike here, but it seems to be failing miserably. I'll try again tomorrow from work where I have fewer blocked sites. Speaking of pics, I've posted a ton of new photos from around Shanghai to my Flickr account. Check the link on the right.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Super Typhoon Wipha

Shanghai is bracing for the worst typhoon in at least a decade. We're talking category 4-5 hurricane levels here. They've evacuated 200,000 people and closed all schools. We were even given the blessing to work from home tomorrow, as the winds are supposed to reach up to 125 kph. YIKES.

So my big plans are thus: I'm going to haul my ass out to the other side of town and sit on the second row of an uncovered stadium and watch the USA vs Nigeria Women's World Cup soccer game that they have refused to cancel. The games tommorrow have been postponed, but not tonight's. I'm donning my raincoat, some quick-dry hiking pants, and my Tevas. Good to go!!

I'm a moron. I know.

Tomorrow, I will be hunkered down in my house, praying the huge wall of glass windows doesn't cave in on me. See you on the flip side!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wait... where am I again?

Occasionally, I forget where I am. It's fairly easy to do living in Shanghai, where there is a KFC on every corner, Starbucks and McDonalds a little less frequent, but still prominent, and even the street hawkers are hounding you in English.

I started this morning with a full-on breakfast, American Style, at a place called City Diner. Although it was a very international crew... German, Japanese, Chinese, Canadian, British, Swiss, and the few token Americans, it still felt a bit like home. The place just oozed of good old fashioned US diner food. Biscuits & gravy, home fries, Texas toast... huge portions, bottomless cups of coffee and all the good things that come along with that - like a full belly and a partial food coma for the afternoon. Yum.

From brunch we went to a Morroccan restaurant for a 2 hour African drumming lesson. This was without a doubt one of the hardest things I've attempted. My hands are still a bit on the numb side 4 hours later. I have to admit though, I had an absolute blast. Maybe my dream of being the drummer for the Go-Go's isn't dead after all.

I lost myself in the twisty windy streets on my way home and wandered into a massage parlor, where I spent two hours being thoroughly kneaded, beaten, and twisted into a variety of odd positions until I was nothing but a puddle of mush - all for a whopping $30.

So American breakfast with a crew from around the world, an African drum lesson in a Moroccan restaurant (did I mention the teacher's name was Moses??), and a lovely Chinese massage to wind things down.. I do love my life... but it does occasionally freak me out.