Posts Categorized: People’s Republic of China

Big bus tours in Shanghai

From today, well known London double decker buses from The Big Bus Company will allow tourists a grand city tour of Shanghai. Whilst I was waving back at that bus riding sunburned crowd, seeing them take pictures of everything the bus drives by, I realized Shanghai is about as ready as it can get for the Expo.

 

Spring time in Shanghai

With a forecast of five consecutive days above 10˚C, the spring officially started in Shanghai. After months of boring weather it’s great to sit out in the sun again. The weather in Shanghai is crisp and with 12 degrees it’s finally comfortable on a terrace. Today we decided to eat lunch at the New heights restaurant on the Bund side to celebrate the birthday of our Japanese college Chieko and enjoy the sun for a bit. New heights has a great view on both Pudong and Puxi. I’m not really sure about the kitchen (I ate a simple hamburger), but the service was great. I really feel the new season started today, time for some spring cleaning!

Köttbullar in Shanghai

imageWhile I was studying in Sweden, I made a Chinese friend in my year. He studied logistics and implicitly wanted to work at Ikea. So he did: now, two years later he is a manager in the Shanghai branch, combining his language and culture experience with his market knowledge.

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I was hoping to meet him today, but frankly we came for one reason only: Swedish food. Especially Köttbullar (Swedish meatballs), Kanelbullar (cinnamon Buns) and godis (candy). Funny how cheap IKEA food can be such an attraction.

 

 

 

Shanghai Concert Hall

Attended a tribute to Beethoven in the shanghai concert hall with Pawel yesterday. I was there for two reasons: to hear the music and to see the concert hall from the inside. The western style building looks amazing from the outside. The music was good, and I was surprised with the mixed audience; a loud burp from a few seats behind me during the performance. But the mixed audience is what makes is nice to come to these places, it’s not too formal which is relaxing.

Building moved to different location A few years ago, the building was moved. To think that the 5,800 tons structure moved 70 meters is astounding. It (and many other buildings) had to make way for Yanan road, the city’s busiest highway. [Read how the building was moved, including a picture here]

 

Chinese new year, streets of Shanghai

Chinese New Year’s, something to look forward to, but also something to fear. As Chinese New Year’s is the biggest holiday of the year in China, it’s hard for a foreigner to get into the same spirit. After all, christmas and New Years are far behind us already. It’s kind of fun to spectate the celebration.

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nien (Chinese: 年; pinyin: nián), attacking livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect, they put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nien ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nien was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nien was afraid of the colour red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nien. From then on, Nien never came to the village again. The Nien was eventually captured by hong jun lao zu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nien became hong jun lao zu’s mount. (wiki)

The fireworks start at a quarter before twelve midnight, and continue until the fifteenth day of the lunar new year. This morning (I’m writing this new years day), the ‘explosions’ started again at 7.  Air quality – So interesting to look at @BeijingAir reports as the night went on. By midnight it was Hazardous, doubtless from the incessant explosions.

Expensive cars rotting away in a Shanghai Police depot

These cars are obviously being put to good use. Close to Xinzha road Shanghai, there is a police depot filled with (confiscated?) cars. Whilst the particular car in the picture doesn’t fit my taste, it should be quite an expensive car, but it has been there for months (obviously) and is covered by the dust by now. There are lot’s of pearls beneath the dust – BMW’s, Mercedes, Lexus etc. I wonder how these cars ended up as dust catchers underneath a shady bridge in Shanghai. Perhaps the owners were racing (Street Racing In Shanghai & Drifting In China), drinking (Shanghai Cops Catch 1200 Drunk Drivers in 10 Days) or is in jail? Is it a myth that one can buy the cars from the police after x years? (Like in the movies?)

Illegal Chinese medicine

When I was walking to work this morning, I spotted some items being sold on street by a merchant. When I had a look, I noticed they were Chinese medicine. I’m not afraid to take legal Chinese medicine, perhaps to cure a sport injury or fight an upcoming fever, but these items are quite something else.

Apparently, the items on the left are tiger penises (good for stemina?) and on the items on the right are goat horns. It’s also common to see tiger claws.

He laughed when I asked if it was okay if I took a picture.

Weekly groceries at a Chinese market place

imageWe visit a local market weekly, based efficiently underneath a highway. You can buy everything here, from kitchen equipment to fish. We usually buy our vegetables (biological!) and eggs here. This week I decided to take some pictures. You can find these markets everywhere across China. This particular market is developing fast. In half a year, the market closed down some under performing market stands, invested in lights to display the food better, a roof and floor, and now also facilitates a bakery.

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Suna mentioned what a week of groceries costs:

  • Full bag of Rice: 20RMB (2.04 EUR) (I could not measure in kg, since I don’t have weight scale at home)
  • Bag of Mushrooms: 8 RMB (0.81 EUR)
  • 2 Sweet potato: 3.7RMB (0.38 EUR)
  • 12 Eggs: 12.5RMB (1.27 EUR)
  • Carrot, tomatoes, paprika, onion, pumpkin: 15 RMB (1.53 EUR)
  • Total: 59.2 (6.03 EUR)

Spilgames New Year party

The crew of Spilgames is growing fast, this party, we had eight round tables full with people. The dinner was accompanied with speeches from management and our Sales assistant and Sound architect being masters of ceremony. There were lot’s of fun games during the dinner, for instance, I had to play a scene from a movie together with the sales director. After the dinner, we went over to the Karaoke bar where I sang a Chinese song 月亮代表我的心 together with the CFO – for the first time. I had been practicing a bit over the week to fine tune my Chinese. All and all a great party. Happy Chinese New Year to everybody, 新年快乐