Posts Tagged With: shanghai china

Happy New Year -2015

Happy New Year!

It is hard to believe Christmas has come and gone and we are already into 2015. Christmas this year we decided to go home and managed to keep it a secret. My parents were shocked and super surprised. Christmas was lots of good food and New Years Eve was more of the same. New years Day we were on a crowded flight back to Shanghai.

2015 will bring lots of changes, new things and last times… we decided not renew our work contract. We hope to see some new things and places as we embark on the last 6 months living abroad in Shanghai. There will also be many last times to savor and enjoy as we say good-bye to our adopted home.


This image is fitting as it is moving forward and looking back… our time of transition. As we ponder our time here and hold onto wonderful adventures and memories and move forward to our next chapter of unknowns. Let another adventure begin!

What are your plans for 2015?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, post a week, teaching overseas | Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Market For Everything

It seems like Shanghai has a market for everything. Want new clothes made, go to the Fabric Market. Need some electronics then the electronic market. How about souvenirs, luggage, knock offs? There is a market for that too. I have shown you Art Street, a sort of market for paintings. A class trip even brought us to a flower market. I needed new glasses, where did I go? The glasses market of course! Spread across the city there is a market for a variety of things, whatever your needs. I have stumbled on some, explored others and have many more to discover.


A market I heard about my first year here has been on my ‘do-to’ list for a while. We had visitors from home last week and they love shopping.  I decided we should take them to see more of ‘real’ China and explore a market that would be filled with sights, sounds, smells and crowds. The market in question was a bird and insect market. The market promised a variety of interesting insects, many of them crickets used for fighting. Small birds and other pets would also be housed here. Now it is not your Western Pet Store, so a warning of cramped and crowded conditions was mentioned in the description as I searched for the address of the location.


After a wrong turn we found our way jostled by people cramped on a crowded, narrow sidewalk. We eventually made our way to doorway leading to the market. Immediately cricket chirping deafened our ears. Pushy people came pouring in as we stopped and adjusted our senses to all we were seeing and hearing. Stalls and small storefronts no larger than a small closet lined the maze of rows of stalls. Our first section houses turtles, fish and crickets. At the next turn were small birds and bamboo cages. As we neared the end hamsters, guinea pigs and bunnies were for sale, housed in cages and small plastic containers or boxes.

Most of the patrons were locals with a sprinkling of tourists or western expats  like us wanting to snap some interesting photos. Most vendors did not notice or care, but some shooed us on saying ‘NO’ when they spotted us raise our camera. The market was not as big or interesting as the one we saw in Hong Kong, but a cool side trip not far from Xintiandi and YuYuan Garden. The address is:  South Xizang Rd, 西藏南路 From Line 10 get off at Laoximen. It is only a short walk from the metro. Turn right out of the subway away from the Bread Talk and Electronics store.

Stay tuned….

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tourist in My Own Town: Must See & Do

If you have a visitor come to your home town what is on your must see and do list?

That was the question we had to ask ourselves when fellow blogger Tina (Travels and Trifles) and her husband came passing through Shanghai almost 2 weeks ago. We were lucky enough to have the chance to meet up. We had a few hours one evening and had to decide what to show them that wasn’t already on their travel itinerary as well as impress them with something in Shanghai.

With working full time and not getting home until about 5pm each night it was tricky to plan something that could fit a time restriction and impress. One of our first great memories of this great city was seeing The Bund at night. Shanghai boasts many superb buildings, modern and older classical styles, on both sides of the Hungpu River. They were up for our plan and we set off one Wednesday evening. Our night started at the Peninsula Hotel at the end of the Bund for a drink on the patio bar. Spectacular views awaited us as we got acquainted. Next we strolled along the Bund and took in the view of the river, the architecture and interesting locals and tourists. Everything is lit up and the colours and sparkling lights are not garish, grotesque, or overdone. Instead they bathe everything in beauty. A broad walkway winds along the twists and turns of the river. We followed it for a number of blocks soaking it all in. If we had more time we would have done the river cruise… next time.

Shanghai Nights

Shanghai Nights – View  towards Pudong                                  ***Taken by CTB 2010


Sitting on top of the patio looking over this fantastic city we have called home for the past 3 years I am still amazed that we are living halfway around the world… in China of all places. A place I never thought I would visit, never mind live. The frustrations of the TIC (This is China) attitude was starting to get to me recently, but then this made me stop and realise what an opportunity, adventure and dream we have had. We are doing something few get to experience. Being able to share our love for the city and show them a small part of our place that has been home made it even more special.

The Bund - Shanghai

The Bund – Shanghai

So I ask again… if someone comes to visit you where is the one place you have to take them? This month’s theme for Tourist in Your Own Town was inspired by having a visitors. The theme for this month’s Tourist in Your Own Town “Must See and Do”

The first weekend of each month I will post a theme for ’Tourist in Your Own Town’. You can participate by:

  • doing your own post on the theme
  • add a hyperlink in your post to link your post back to this one
  • put your link in the comment section below so others can read yours
  • tag it “Tourist in Your Own Town” and use it in your title
  • anyone can participate and I look forward to learning more about where you live and getting inspiration of somewhere to visit next J


Stay tuned….

Categories: post a week, teaching overseas, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , ,

Lady in the Moon

As a child we heard silly stories that the moon was made of cheese or there was a man in the moon. In China they have a legend about a lady in the moon.

The story is about the holiday that is held in September or October on a full moon. It is a time of celebration and the second most important holiday after Chinese New Year. Families get together and have a large meal together and it is a time to celebrate the harvest. Very similar ideas to our Thanksgiving holiday, one of the Chinese teachers told me. The legend is about a lady who had to live on the moon and her husband was still on earth. The story goes she flew to the moon and wasn’t able to return. The moon is bright is round on this day so her husband can see her from earth.

Mooncakes are one of the traditional foods eaten for the Moon Festival. Moon cakes are flakey pastry most commonly filled with bean paste or an egg, which symbolises the full moon. Occasionally there are other flavours. I have had lotus and pineapple, which were my favourite. I also tried the bean and a black sesame. However, my all time favourite mooncake is ice cream 🙂 This year I was given some ice cream mooncakes as a gift. Each one was  a different flavour… chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, caramel… and the centre one was vanilla with a cheesecake like bit and an orange coloured sherbet in the centre, which I think was passionfruit.



This relates to LavendarLadi’s suggestion on her recent post to talk about legends…

What legend or story can you share? Post your link below and over at the above link for Lavendar Ladi’s blog.

Stay tuned…

Categories: teaching overseas, Tourist in My Own Town, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Doors and Passages: Pixelventures Photo Challenge

In 2008 I took a photo of an old wooden door with brass details in a church in Cuba and ever since I have been drawn to interesting doors. The more they are weathered, with faded peeling paint the more interesting. I participated in a similar photo challenge earlier this year (see Knobs and Knockers), so instead of reposting those photos click on the link to check them out.

Here are my latest additions as we head into another great photo challenge: Doors and Passages set by Pixelventures Photo Challenge through Bastet and We Drink Because we are Poets.


We have been back in Shanghai a week now and back at school for 5 days. I have been working late each night to unpack and set up my classroom, but the other night I was kidnapped asked to go to a book fair in Puxi. It was being held in an old building at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. I love to read and I have quite the collection of books, but it was the building that captured my attention. The books were mostly in Chinese so I passed my time by looking at all the beautiful details on the ceilings and pillars. I would have guessed it was a few hundred years old, but it was newer than that. It was completed in 1955 to show friendship between China and Russia.


The doors were floor to ceiling and full of iron work, colours and design. The passages from some rooms to other were spectacular with coloured ceilings with inlays and fancy lightening designs. I am so glad I always carry a camera in my purse or I would have missed this fantastic masterpiece.


Don’t forget you can always participate in these challenges. Follow the link above to find out how, or to see more examples.

Stay tuned….

Categories: Photography, post a week, reading, Tourist in My Own Town, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BIG: Weekly Travel Theme

We had BIG dreams when I decided to take the job in Shanghai, China 3 years ago. When we arrived our eyes were even BIGGER as they were open in awe and anticipation. You see I grew up in a small town that hovered around 15,000 people and then slowly rose to 25, 000. From there I moved to a small city with less than 100, 000 people. We now found ourself amongst tall highrises, fancy architecture and 23.47 million people plus expats like us and migrant workers. Now that is BIG !

Check out the skyline of this BIG and beautiful city… which is forever changing and growing.

Shanghai Skyline taken along the Bund Feb. 2012

Shanghai Skyline taken along the Bund Feb. 2012

When we first arrived in 2010 the tallest building was the Shanghai World Finicial Centre, or as most Westerners call it here the Bottle Opener, with 101 floors. It is still the tallest in China and the third in the world, but not for long. Last year we started to see the changes in the skyline as the Shanghai Tower slowly creeps higher and it will take the title of the tallest building in China and second in the world.

Sept. 2010 View from our apartment hall.

Sept. 2010 View from our apartment hall.

These photos were all taken in the same location (just different zoom distances) and on different dates. Hover your mouse over the pictures to see the dates.

The skyline is BIG and the buildings even BIGGER.

This is my response to the photo challenge BIG set by Where’s my Backpack. Check it out if you are interested in seeing more examples of this theme or finding out how to join in the challenge.
What is the tallest building where you live?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, Tourist in My Own Town, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Unexpected: Bastet’s Pixelventures

We made it back to Shanghai, China after a long flight. We left a cooler than normal Canadian summer to land into China’s hottest summer in 140 years. This was expected, although our bodies immediately reacted to the heat and humidity. Luckily the air conditioning is working well.

Our first night home and we were tired, so we turned in early after very little sleep on the plane. The flight had constant turbulence, which was not expected. It was hard to sleep with the constant bumping and rocking. The next morning we decided to head out early to beat the heat and head for our favourite place to grab breakfast. Much to our disappointment we found it was closed for renovations. We should not be surprised since turn over rates are very fast in Shanghai as things come and go. Some places close for renovations and a few weeks later open sparkling and new, others close and are new establishments.

The heat was starting to rise, so we headed to another coffee shop in the plaza that was still closed, so much for being early birds. We continued through the plaza finding an open coffee shop with limited breakfast foods. Not wanting to trudge through the heat, which was becoming very oppressive, to search for another place we decided to stay here and make the best of a small snack. We were the only patrons and were quickly served coffee latte,  caramel cappuccino and 2 ham turkey croissants (don’t ask as I am still confused by this meat combination). When my coffee arrived I was surprised to see a happy smiling face… truly unexpected. John’s coffee wasn’t decorated. Coffee art is highly unusual here, but this little surprise brought a smile to my face; it was a nice welcome ‘home’.

Good Morning Sunshine :)

Good Morning Sunshine 🙂

What surprised you today?

This is my response to Bastet’s Pixelventures theme Unexpected. Be sure to follow the link to see more or find out how to join in the fun.

China is always full of surprises and unexpected adventures… this one was a happy surprise. Be sure to stay tuned because there will be more ‘unexpected‘ adventures and surprises as we head into our last year here in Shanghai.

Categories: post a week, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

Being short I rarely look down on things 😉 but here are a few examples with a bird’s eye view for this week’s photo challenge.

Looking down from the World Finicial Tower in Shanghai, China from 101 floors up over the Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower and Huangpu River March 2011.



Looking down at the surf  lapping my toes in Cuba, Summer 2012.



Head over to see more or join in the challenge at Word Press – From Above.

Stay tuned… there is always more 🙂




Categories: Photography, post a week, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

As you know my husband and I live in Shanghai, China. Before we came I worried about the language, culture shock and all things foreign. It was on the other side of the world from where home was and all that is familiar. To our surprise Shanghai is very modern, many western people  live here, and western items and cultures have a place here. Since this is our 3rd year here less and less is foreign and more everyday life. There are always a few things that still catch our eye and make us say ‘shaw-ma’? (what?) and do a double take. When I thought about this post I wondered what could I show you that was different from what I have talked about before and something that was still a little new to me. What could be rare and maybe not in other places in the world, or made it (or was common) to North America?

I decided to show you Hot Pot. What is that you ask? Well it is a way of cooking and eating… a very social and communal way to eat a meal. I was first introduced to it last spring and I was hooked. A large pot of broth is brought to the table and there are many flavours to choose from like your standard beef and chicken broth, but also more unusual like mushroom and fruit. Once you pick your simmering broth you pick what you would like to eat… the choices include a variety of meats, seafood, vegetables and noodles. The water comes to a boil and you place your thinly sliced items in the pot until they are cooked. A selection of sauces, spices and oils are spread out in a smorgesbourg bar style fashion. You pick the ones you like and after your food cooks you add it to the small bowl of sauce and eat it. The food cooks within in minutes. Large plates come to the table so everyone can share and cook what they want. Some hot-pot places do individual pots, but most hold 1 large communal table pot for everyone to use.

individual hot-pot and all the trimmings

As us westerners are still getting the hang of chopsticks slippery food often falls back in or gets lost. Fishing around for it with two thin sticks cause some giggles and fun as everyone may dive in and help you find your missing morsels. A few weeks ago one of the coordinators from school hosted a hot-pot and invited everyone from work to go since this is a rarity and unknown in so many other places. This particular restaurant in Shanghai has been voted number one. Its popularity is easy to see as the waiting area was crammed with people and a line up was out the door. Thank goodness we had a reservation.  To entertain the waiting crowds origami, games, shoe polishers and manicures await to help you pass the time. I even think there was massages available! Can you imagine going to your local restaurant and instead of having a few drinks at the bar you were pampered as you passed the time?

Hong Kong Style Hot Pot with ‘chimney’ in the centre

Amazing… some foreign things do not have to be strange or bizarre, but amazing and getting out of our home countries and experiencing things make life more interesting and exciting. What foreign custom would you like to adopt?

One last plug for the Canadian Blog Awards… they close Nov. 1st. I would appreciate your vote for best expat/travel blog… you can do that here. Thanks and figers crossed I move onto round 2!

If you would like to participate in this weeks photo challenge or see more things foreign check out WordPress.

Stay tuned… there is always more!

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, Photography, post a week, teaching overseas, travel, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Capture the Colour: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow & White

I have been so blessed this week. I was awarded two awards last week (super sweet award and beautiful blogger) and as luck would have  it I opened my in box to find another nomination this time for the  Capture the Colour Competition organised by Before I had the time to respond I was nominated again for Capture the Colour! Talk about lucky 🙂 So thank you so much Marianne over at East of Malaga and to the Island Traveller at This Man’s Journey for their generous nominations.

So how does this award work? Well it is a photo challenge of sorts and it has five categories, one for each of the colour – red, blue, white, yellow and green.   Each category winner will receive an iPad3, and the overall winner will receive £2,000 to be spent on travel… sweet!


This picture was taken during a tea ceremony with flowering teas at a traditional tea house in Shanghai, China.


A small green thistle before its purple flowers opened. This was taken in Canada this summer.


Blue is this elusive colourful lizard in Cuba. Each trip to Cuba (this was our third) I have tried to get a snap of this colourful creature. Once I got a blurred shot from a distance, but nothing more than that. This trip I saw them numerous times and I was determined to get my pic! They are very camera shy. I stalked the things for weeks and always had my camera close. Patience finally paid off.


The hint of yellow from a little girl’s bucket at the beach in Cuba. I used this picture last week in the silhouette photo challenge and got many compliments, so I thought it would be a good choice for yellow.


I wanted to include things that were different and maybe unusual… can you guess what this is? Hint it was taken in China. Give up? Did you at least try to guess? It is the silk threads from a silk worm. The cocoons are soaked and then the threads are unwound. The threads are surprisingly strong!


I knew the challenge was ending soon, but had no time to go to the main site for all the details. I waited for the weekend and I just got everything together to enter when I discovered it closed Aug. 29th. 😦  If the challenge was still open I would also nominate some great blogs. So instead enjoy the photos and check out the links to the other great sites 🙂

Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, post a week, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , ,