Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18 2013: Shanghai, what's up with all your parasols?

Look at all those parasols!
I'm fascinated with Shanghai's obsession with parasols. What makes somebody leave the house, see the weather is perfectly amazing out, and think "today I'll take an umbrella in case of extra awesomeness."  Despite assurances that the weather would be unbearable and the air unbreathable, I'm finding it quite nice out (in 10-minute chunks walking between hotel and office).  Maybe this weekend I'll go for a bike ride to see just how nice it really is :)

Men and women alike all enjoy a good parasol
Went to dinner with a coworker and her friend. The friend works at the Shanghai office of a big American company, part of her project is to develop a Facebook app. The thing is that China has no access to Facebook, it's blocked by the Great Firewall of China. They seem to have found ways around it, which she says is completely legal. It sounds like it's not illegal to access blocked websites such as Facebook/Twitter/Youtube, it's just complicated.

Ordered Americano at McDonald's but
couldn't find anything to put in it. Asked for
cream or milk, a man in line translated my
request to Barista, this is what I got :)
The friend was talking about her American boss, a man in his sixties, who comes to Shanghai and walks all around the Bund, across the Huangpu River (note to self: find that pedestrian bridge), around PuDong - that's how crazy he is. I replied that I had walked that distance - or further - during previous trips to Shanghai. "Why do you people walk everywhere in the city?" Because it's a great way to see the sights, experience the culture, find things you didn't know existed. Don't you walk around when you travel? "Sure but here are so many people!!!" The Chinese middle class has just recently started traveling - and it seems they go to remote places to get away from crowded cities.

Sushi feast!!
I placed my first intentional raw fish sushi order. I think on my visit in 2012 some sushi was ordered family style and I might've had a bite - but this was the first time I opened a menu and picked a bunch of sushi. Tasty? you betcha! Safe? will tell you tomorrow!

Japanese gelato
Treated myself to some Japanese gelato. Most of the flavors were pretty normal, so I went for "Blackened Sesame", the mysterious "From Kyoto" (seems to have a strong green tea taste) and "From Okinawa" (Okinawa tastes like coffee). Treated the rest of my body to a run at the gym and a soak in the jacuzzi....nice!

Follow-up to a photo I took in Jan 2012
The Respiratory Financial Centre is still under
construction but now it's "breathing" smoke or steam

Correction: it has been pointed out that, based on Chinese translation, I actually ordered "Mochi From Kyoto" and "Premium Coffee".  The white colored "From Okinawa", which apparently I didn't actually order, translates as "Black Sugar."


The other Olga said...

I love the guy in the top picture, who's protecting his face with the bag :)

What about sunscreen? Is that popular?

Dave Grenetz said...

I didn't even notice that guy, hah. I could imagine your dad doing that with a briefcase, I've seen him wear a plastic bag on his head in the rain.

Will get the skinny on sunblock!!

Karen Wilson said...

Interesting. I remember reading something about people in China wearing full body suits, and even face masks, to the beach to avoid getting a tan. Getting a tan is supposedly considered low class in China.

Dave Grenetz said...

Karen that is super interesting!! Did you see that on Readig Rainbow? ;) I guess it reflects a difference between urban office workers and farmers. I had this in the back of my mine when I stopped by a tea shop to stock up on tea to take home. They were selling a bottle of a liquid that translates as Tea Seed Oil. I asked it's for cooking and the lady said yes... But also for skin. For skin? Like sunblock? I showed her the Chinese word for sunblock in Google Translate and she laughed and laughed. I tried a few more words and finally she agreed when I show her the Chinese word for salad :) So I have sunblock on my mind :)