Monday, September 10, 2007


This was a good weekend.

Friday night we hung around at home, made spicy Japanese curry for dinner, installed new graphics drivers on the computer to finally get 卡丁车 (Popkart: Crazyracing) working, and went to bed at a decent time.

On Saturday I spent the morning at barCamp Shanghai, at the Tudou offices on the Suzhou Creek: Luyi Chen's China Web 2.0 talk, Mountain's Wikipedia talk, Eric Eldred's Creative Commons talk, chatting with the Yupoo marketing guy, dropping in on KK's photography session, skipping out on what surely a delicious lunch for "repast" with Joon at Steak And Eggs, dodging Zola's camera, touching bases with Alex, David, Aether, and some new acquaintances... Left energized and met Jodi at the Super Brand Mall for a Macanese dinner at the Lisboa, one of my current favorites. Back home, we put Charlotte to bed, then stayed up till 2am watching Disturbia.

(I'm watching Modulations as I type this and Mixmaster Morris is wearing an Astroboy T-shirt. Rock.)

This morning we slept in a little, cleaned up the house, and had warmed up curry with fruit for lunch. After lunch, we set out on some errands: while Jodi window-shopped in the People's Square subway station I took Charlotte to the pet market to pick up some chinchilla food for Poopy and take a tour of all the pet shops: rabbits, chinchillas, lizards, flying squirrels, turtles, dogs, cats and pigs! I met Jodi back near the subway station and we cut through People's Square, where we witnessed the oft-referenced 相亲 corner, where parents come to try to hook up their too-busy-for-dating offspring with a suitable a boyfriend or girlfriend -- by the looks of it, though, the problem often isn't a lack of time but incredibly specific and exacting standards regarding prospective mates. Ah, Shanghainese parents...

Having exited the park near Raffles City, snacked on a BBQed squid skewer, and payed off our credit card bill one day late at the China Merchant's Bank, we walked down Fuzhou Road looking for dinner. We happened to wander past the second-hand English bookstore (the only one in Shanghai?) on Shanxi Rd near Fuzhou Rd, so picked up some recent Newsweeks and a couple of kids' books. We were despairing of finding a fresh, quality place for dinner, but managed to luck into a great place, which reminds me that I have a few to recommend and since I now realize that no matter how good my intentions are I'll never write these up for Shanghaiist, I'll put them here:

Chanko: a sumo-cuisine place, owned by a Shanghainese who spent 13 years in Japan training to be a sumo wrestler. I recommend sitting at the bar, ordering a hot pot, and supplementing it with deep-fried skewers made before your eyes by the old Japanese guy behind the bar.

Prince of Persia: Iranian food, this place has a dinner buffet, nightly live music, and will put mini-flags of your home country and Iran on your table while you dine. You'd better like eggplant, but if you do it's pretty good.

Xinwang Teahouse: an endless menu of Hong Kong/Cantonese dishes and dim-sum, in a colonial era office building whose interior cleverly mixes classical and modern design elements. Also, the overall best restaurant bathroom I've used in Shanghai: urinals not visible from outside, foamy soap from a wall dispenser, a motion-sensing faucet that works, and paper towels for drying hands.

Xinwang is where we ended up tonight, completely on a whim. The waiting staff was attentive and showered Charlotte with pleasantries; the food came quickly and was delicious, especially the beef-wrapped enoki mushroom hotpot and milk tea. We're definitely going back to this place.

Jodi was beat by the time we reached home, so we just vegged eating popsicles and looking at dogs for sale on auction site, then she snoozed while I put Charlotte to bed, do some prep work for school tomorrow, clean up a few things around the house, write this weblog entry and play a few games of 卡丁车 before hitting the sack.


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