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September, 2009

  1. Un chien ami pour Bernie

    September 30, 2009 by admin

    Because my poor, sad French is still way better than my Mandarin.

    I don’t want to make Adele or Lucy jealous, but this little black beauty lives across the hall from us.  Her name is Charlotte (sharrrrlote) and she speaks french AND english.  She came over and hung out with Bernie and I for a few hours.



    Someone was sad after she left…


  2. Over the Moon (cake)

    September 30, 2009 by admin

    During the National Holiday coming up is the Mid-Autumn Festival.   The festival is linked to the mythical Moon Goddess of Immortality.  According to ancient Chinese custom, the Emperor should offer sacrifices to the sun in spring and the moon in autumn.  The Moon Cake has played a big role in the Mid-Autumn festival since the beginning.  And let me tell you, there isn’t a scooter, bike, van or rickshaw not carrying a load of moon cakes this very minute.  They are on sale everywhere and they are packaged in beautifully decorated boxes.   The cakes come in different flavors but are round, dense cakes typically made with lotus flower seed (think fig newton) and yolk (usually from duck eggs and that probably doesn’t make Jenny very happy).   You’re supposed to cut off a piece and eat it with some tea but I ate my first one whole.  Whatever.

    Here are the moon cakes Ken and I have received to date.  The biggest box is filled with ice cream moon cakes from Hagen dazs.



  3. Happy Meal

    September 29, 2009 by admin

    I just wanted to post Ken and I eating a delicious meal at a restaurant we stumbled upon while riding our bikes.  It’s called Ginger Indochine and the owner said she opened it just a few weeks ago.  It was soooooo yummy!

    All Smiles


    Curry Noodles


    Very Full Girl


  4. FYI

    September 24, 2009 by admin


    October 1st marks the beginning of National Day holiday for the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  The PRC was founded on October 1, 1949 where there was a huge ceremony at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

    It’s a really big holiday for the Chinese.  Many people will be going home to see family and many will be coming to Shanghai for a holiday.  Shanghai is decorating it’s major streets and will have a parade and several days of fireworks around town.   Many expats leave town…but not Ken and I.  We want to be out there partying hard with the other 13 or so million people in Shanghai.

    There’s a landmark close to our house which always has many tourists but I’ve only recently discovered what it was.  It located in what is called a Shikumen house* .  The landmark is the spot where Mao Tse-Tung and his 12 delegates convened the first meeting of China’s Communist Party on July 23, 1921.  They’ve now turned it into a museum, First Communist Congress Museum, and inside there are wax figures of Mao and his delegates depicted in a similar way to the last supper.  I know, it’s like Madame Tussaud’s on opium (The wax figure thing has always creeped me out).  Here’s a pic of the museum.


    *Shikumen Houses are black brick style buildings with arches over the entrances.  They were built in the early 1900’s by local chinese developers with a mix of Western and Chinese architecture.  They typically had small gardens built on the inside, away from the noise of the streets.  Many used to house several families at a time with the landlord living in another section.  Some were built very shabbily and many didn’t have toilets with running water .  Today, you will still find several families living in them.  Some of the nicer one’s have been restored but many more have been torn down or will be soon.

  5. In the News

    September 22, 2009 by admin

    The headline in today’s Shanghai Daily News reads:



    “The nation’s quality regulator said they were among 154 imported food and cosmetics items that failed to pass muster”.  “Frozen chicken from the US and cookies from Denmark also had flaws”.

    I’m going to let the chicken thing go otherwise I will be writing for the next hour, but cookies from Denmark??? Did they have too much love and care in them?  However, interestingly the article continues that orange juice from Pepsico (read Satan) got turned back and Pepsico issued a statement that they got it from Brazil and that the orange concentrate WAS below par.

    So they knew the stuff was bad AND they threw Brazil under the bus.  People, you better check your orange juice back home.

  6. My Very Own Haibao

    September 22, 2009 by admin

    May, Ken’s assistant, got me my very own Haibao keychain.  I caught a few pictures of him playing around the house.

    Hide and Seek


    Morning coffee





    I know, I know…I need to get a job.

  7. Sunday in the City

    September 20, 2009 by admin


    Ken got a new bike so we went for a really nice ride around town on Sunday.  I really love Sundays most because the city takes on a slower, more relaxed pace.  We stopped for lunch in the French Concession and had yummy paninni’s.


    On the way home we stumbled upon a Thai Food Festival…too bad we had already eaten!


  8. Tai Weekend

    September 20, 2009 by admin

    On Saturday, Ken and I decided to hire a guide to take us hiking in the mountains.  We went to the “East Mountains” just outside of Suzhou City, about a two hour drive from our house.  The mountains overlook a lake called Taihu Lake, (Tai meaning “bigger than big” and you know I’m going to be using THAT word a lot) and according to our guide Max, this is the third largest lake in China.  It was a pretty warm day and the first 45 minutes were uphill so Mama was sweating bigtime.  You start the hike through a small village which was really interesting to see except for the composting smells.  Combine that with the heat and humidity and a weaker soul would have passed out.  oh my.

    Base of the village


    Here’s Ken and Bernie on the way up, passing an empty resort house. Our tour guide Max is at the right.


    We’re halfway up in this next pic and came up to a small temple.  Bernie was really hot so he went inside for a rest with a stranger.


    It’s hard to see because of the marine layer, but below is a cemetery.  Our guide explained that there are no cemeteries in Shanghai because of a lack of land so people have to be buried out further in the country.


    We made it!  At the top of this mountain there is a larger temple where a few monks live.


    If you look beyond my sandwich you can just the see the lake and a small island in the background.  We gave the tourguide a sandwich and he said he really loved our american sandwich, especially the cheese.  The chinese don’t eat cheese.   However, I do eat cheese, and that would explain my Taibutt.


    Rare Wild Chinese Mountain Goat  (I picked a good harness color for this country)


  9. Coco Chanel is turning over in her grave

    September 18, 2009 by admin


    Four girls, Four counterfeit bags.  Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, they’ve got it all here.   But that’s not what I wanted to discuss right now.

    Saturday night when May and I were in People’s Square, the big park that houses restaurants and museums, parents come and mingle with other parents to set their single kids up on dates!  They post signs about their children’s assets, i.e., Master’s Degree in Business, where they went to school,  height (which is apparently high on the list), age and sometimes they have pictures.  The parent’s each discuss their children and if they agree, they set the two kids up on a date.  Who needs

  10. Ernie Bernie (with Betty Davis Eyes)

    September 18, 2009 by admin


    Ken came back from his trip to the US carrying an extra duffle bag just for Bernie.  He brought back his favorite bed, two bags of dog food, dog treats (and my face lift cream that doesn’t seem to be working).  He also bought me my very own digital camera, probably because he hasn’t seen his since we got here!  He’s the best.