Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Eats

We are in a city of horn honking and hawking, of cement and steel, crowds and quiet. I am still in Shanghai shock--in awe of the city. We've  been here a week. 

Easter evening is ending at home, but here Monday has begun. I have hosted Easter dinner for family and friends since the early 1990s. This Easter we are away. 

Were we at home, the Easter menu would include a ham, Southern corn, fresh green beans stir fried with onion and garlic, all the good sides and family. Grandparents, sometimes friends too gather around our Easter table at home. 

Here, we three made a trip to one of Rick's favorite spots: Liquid Laundry.

We had a good wander. Tulips are blooming.

And we came across a couple of cool statues on the street: a girl at a phone booth and some sort of hippo-elephant-snail creature. 

Liquid Laundry is near (or in) the French Concession area of the city. The gorgeous tree-lined streets, cafes and boutiques made for a pretty walk.

The restaurant was in full Gospel Brunch mode when we arrived: glorious. We ordered drinks while we waited for a table and enjoyed the music.

We ended up at a warm table in the window, a perfect observation spot.
Rick orderd a lamb flat bread with house-made lamb sausage and I indulged in avocado smash toast with crispy maple bacon.

The salt flake on the side presented well and added just the kick in taste. 

Collin ordered a barbecue, shredded pork pizza. Steamy hot and spicy with jalepenos and pickled cabbage, boy was it good.

We had a wonderful Easter brunch and a good five mile wander. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy Art Day

I'm We left Shanghai for Hong Kong late Wednesday. We entered the travelling time machine at 5pm Shanghai time and arrived at our hotel after 2 am. Note to future self: get a good night's sleep, then travel early in the morning next time. 

We did not have much get up and go until 10 or so the next day, my birthday, nor did we have any real plans. 

I'd read about arts month and discovered that our trip aligned with Art Basel, Rick and Collin were game for an art day, so off we went.

It is rainy in Hong Kong and cold (to me). I broke one of my cardinal travel rules by  forgetting a jacket but I did remember an umbrella. 

We stumbled into the Tourism Center to browse events and find our bearings and discovered Art Central, a modern and contemporary art fair with Asian flare.

The opening pieces by Art Central sponsor, Swarovski, are sound activated. A group of kids on an explore with school had great fun making the sparkling jelly fish move.
Like the kids, we loved the paper busts. They seem carved from a huge stack of paper--pages glued together sticky note style. The docent moved the heads like slinky tops. 

They were here and there through the show. With art, I have this theory: size and materials matter. It seems that extremes of size and materials ruled this show too.

There were paintings whose stiff paint peaks made their own topographies.

Incredible art. 

This project is titled "Horizon" and the figure below, "After the Vow." Telling.

I lucked into merting a Chilean collage artist, Tan Vargas. He shared his creative process and talked through a few of his big pieces. 

So much is story. 

The best story of the day happened at Art Basel. We headed there after Art Central thinking we'd buy tickets on site. The line for the line to get tickets was past the sixty minute mark. People had to queue outside to get a number to stand in the ticket line. Online, advanced purchase tickets were sold out. It looked hopeless, so I said, "let's just wander the hall, have a glass of champagne and see what we can see." So we did and we happened upon the Art Basel Miami booth. We got to talking. The kind man there, whose birthday was March 23rd gave us a VIP pass to the show! Score!

And oh the art... just awesome.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sounds and Silence

Qibao Ancient Town is a small, commercial water town: narrow streets, busy vendors. The range of sound surprised me. 

One minute were seemingly in a bubble of peaceful willow branches along the water way, a bit of quiet as the busy modern city street faded away.

Then down a few stairs, around a corner and sound surrounds us.

The market lane bubbled with hawkers shaking noise makers or yelling out specials. These eggs in a clay (plaster?) oven made me want to stop and sketch.

On the narrow market streets there are elbows and shoulder bumps and laughing and throat clearing and conversation: a sea of words I do not know. 

People called out over one another while eating squid or candied fruits from sticks. Meat sizzled. Yams steamed. Then we wound around again and found ourselves on a neigjborhood street behind the hustle.

Quiet, even the scooters, silent.

There are such contrasts here. Old and new, quiet and clamor, Western and Eastern. The background sounds really stood out to me today. 

"Lady, lady, hey lady, hello Lady," there is a lot of that on certain streets. And in the metro stations the loud speaker's repeating announcement in Chinese blurs conversation and blends with horn honking as we walk toward exits. 

Toward home and a quiet evening of paper and books. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Go with the Flow

We had planned to go to the wall today: a surprise trip to Bejing Rick and Tom planned but we had to push the plan back. There is a smog alert and our travel friends have bronchitis, so next week. For Collin and I, this is a go with the flow sort of vacation. 

Collin and Instarted the day with a visit to the gym. The treadmills and ellipticals had large screens. Collin had never run on one sonIngave him a wuick treadmill lesson. Of course the one I demonstrated on was all in Chinese, but he hopped on one that was in English. We had a courtyard garden view for our run: lovely.

Then it was off to Shanghai Railway Station to have glasses made. Three floors of frames and optical shops: so many choices. All of the Disney folks here see Summer, so we did too. I of course loved these:

I ordered bifocals (the black pair), distance glasses (white frame) and perscription sunglasses. 

How much would you pay for three pairs of perscription glasses plus a pair of plus Ray Bans (for Collin)? 

I bet you guessed high. I paid less than $150. I may visit Coin, Michael, at Science & Tech for readers too. Coin is  only a stop away from our apartment. Shanghai is full of friends' recommendations. 

After glasses, we navigated the metro to Century Park. Oh, the air: perfumed! Violets and cherry blossoms and pansies and tulips and poppies and bamboo and willow--newly leafed in spring green.

I wish I'd brought the art bag with me. The gatdens clamor for me to paint and sketch them. Tomorrow, I want to slow down and draw while we're out.

We wrapped the afternoon up with market stops and then returned home to meet the guys for burgers at Blue Frog. Monday it's two for one burger night. 
Here we are at the boys' favorite corner table: the fish bowl. 

The burgers rival Clermont's Crooked Spoon.

 I had "the Gourmet" which was topped with avocado, tomato, lettice, lime, cheese, basil-ish mayo and a roll of prosciutto. 

Collin had a Montana which sat tall topped with two onion rings, bacon and bbq and fully dressed with lettuce, tomato,and pickle.
Western food and wonders abound.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

City Tour

Thank you to StaceyBetsyDanaTaraBeth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for 
creating community and valuing teachers' writings. This is post 18 of 31 for the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Join us at Two Writing Teachers

Rick gave us the new arrivals tour of Shanghai today. We started at the Nanpu Bridge fabric market. Rick and Collin each ordered shirts made. Fancy shirts with contrasting fanbrics lining the collars and cuffs. 

I ordered an orange coat and a couple of skirts with mixed patterns. I did not see a way to buy fat quarters or loose fabric for quilting, but I'm keeping my eyes peeled. Linda helped me with the coat and fabrics.

I ordered this dress--smoth, heavy knit--with a dropped waist. It will be ready next week.

From the market we headed on the train to the Bund. One side of the river is old Shanghai and one side new.

First stop, the Fairmont Peace Hotel. Oh, it smells gorgeous inside-- some blend of citrus and bergemont. 

We walked the hallway of fame and read the placard histories. 
Once on the street we walked along the river a bit. The flower wall is a bloom with Johnny Jump Ups and Pansies.

We left the river-side park to explore the "real China," Rick said. We wound our way through noisy, back streets on our way to Yu Garden.

Lots of laundry and fish in buckets,
and vegetable markets
and alley ways-- all new and strangely wonderful.
Built in the 1559 during the Ming Dynasty of slick stone and rock, Yu Garden, in the old city of Shanghai, houses many pavillions. Rick nooks, water ways and flowering trees wind through the ancient garden. 

From the garden we headed back to the river to lunch at Paulaner, a German Brauhaus, on the river. 

The pretzel tree was fantastic. Rick and Collin enjoyed the duck-fat spreads. We walked for seven hours today; pollution was light and the sun was warm. What a wonderful landing tour Rick gave us. Tomorrow we're heading to Bejing.