Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday 2/28: End of the beginning of the year

Today was a short day, or I guess a long day depending on how you look at it. Work project in the morning didn't go as smoothly as expected. Actually it went great so we decided to move ahead with Monday's portion, which took longer than expected. Had my first breakfast outside of the hotel at Azul, a tapas place recommended by a coworker. The set 2-course brunch was super, had tapas-sized portions of a stack of blueberry pancakes, eggs benedict, cappuccino, and TWO mimosas (they brought the second, completely unprovoked by me, to apologize for slow service).
NOTE: sign on right is for an eye and ear clinic.

Back at work, finished up another phase of the project. Success!

Took the metro subway to visit the old synagogue from 1907. Shanghai was one of the (few?) cities in the world to accept Jewish refugees in the time leading up to WWII, this part of town is where they lived. The apartment buildings on the left side of the road leading up to the synagogue - and on the right side of the road after the synagogue - have been demolished to widen the road in time for the Expo (similar to a world's fair) that starts May 1- but all construction needs to be finish by April1. Needless to say there is 24x7 construction going at breakneck speeds throughout the city.

The ghetto of that time is now a park with people practicing tai chi and beautiful sounding songbirds locked in cages.

Tried to find the artist colony called M50. Sure I could've taken a cab, but isn't more fun to walk around and get lost? Even if you don't find your destination? I got super close, and just knowing that is enough for me! It was getting late and I still had much to see and do!

The president of the our Shanghai IT consulting company TXTed me to "take metro to people square ,meet you at raffle city 1f starbucks". I know how to get to People's Square, so I figured I'd guess the rest when I got there. Where is the Raffle City, I wondered. Is it a really huge bingo parlor or something??

As I emerged the metro subway, there were signs saying which exit to take for various destinations, with Raffles City being one of them. Maybe something is lost in translation, but apparently it's just a funny name for a mall, like Franklin Mills or Stonestown.

As we were walking around downtown on the way to the lantern festival, I remarked how cars will honk at you while you're crossing the street on a green light. I wanted to know who has the right of way, but for him it is a much simpler scenario "They have the honk," he said. So poetic.
There must've been thousands of people packed into the streets surrounding the Yu Garden for the last night of the new lunar year festival. The sky cleared just in time to see the full moon - so two weeks ago when it started must've been the new moon. I get it! My favorite things to see: hundreds of lanterns, many with Chinese word puzzles written on them. People lighting paper balloon kites that carry candles and sending them off into the night sky (we saw something like this in Haifa for the secular new year). Lots and lots (and lots) of people setting off fireworks and firecrackers. Stuffed moon-shaped meat dumplings we sampled in a restaurant row. A hilarious English menu in a Hong Kong style restaurant where we had dinner. This was the funniest item: Queen of fresh pigeon casserole bacteria. My friend said "they meant fungus, not bacteria". Either way, still funny :)


The other Olga said...

On the picture with the vats -- are they making moon-shaped dumplings?

Dave said...

yes, they are hot and juicy!!

Phil said...

I was fascinated to learn of the ghetto established by Shanghai for Jewish refugees of or leading up to WWII! Too bad they are destroying it. Are they preserving any aspect of it for posterity?

Dave said...

It seems they are doing what they can (within reason) to save it. They need to widen the road, so they are snaking/angling the widened road around the old synagogue (left side of the road is widened leading up to the synagogue, right side is widened afterwards). The bulk of the ghetto itself was demolished decades ago, but there is a memorial and a museum (seems to be a remnant of the ghetto, it was closed when i arrived Sunday 5pm) in the park.