Monday, November 26, 2007

On Friday night Jodi and I went to check out the cleaned-up Wujiang Rd, but before we did we ate dinner at a place I'd had my eye on for a while. It's called "Hungry Steak and Humburg", and it's a Japanese-owned franchise located just outside the Nanjing West Rd metro stop, close to Muji. They have hamburger steak combos for RMB 35-45, steak combos for up to RMB 150 and a selection of wine which I am completely unqualified to judge. We had an order of QQ牛肉饼 as appetizers, which amounted to three pretty tasty beef croquettes. The interior decoration is pleasant, the place is small, and unfortunately smoking is allowed. Still, we decided it's the kind of place we'd come back to. The total came to RMB 90 for two, without drinks.

The abridged take-home menu:

Hungry Steak and Humburg

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jodi and I had a great day today. She finally decided to put work off her mind, so we took the whole day to do pretty much nothing important. In the morning we slept in, and Jodi's parents went off for a day of fun on their own. Approaching noon, we packed up Charlotte and fed her during lunch at the Lanzhou noodle place -- cummin beef on rice for Jodi and green pepper beef on rice for me. We subwayed to Xujiahui and took a short walk past the cathedral to the Shanghai Observatory to check if it would make a good field trip for my students; it was closed, today being Sunday, but the security guard gave us a phone number to call tomorrow and suggested changing the trip to the Sheshan observatory, also an option.

Off the distance we saw a saw a tall building that looked like Tiananmen (or a Tibetan Buddhist temple, I reckoned) on the top few floors so we wandered over that way. Turns out it was still under construction, so we just kept walking. By then we were at the entrance of the exclusive Xujiahui High School. Stepping inside to admire an old concession-era building -- badly in need of repair and restoration -- we stopped to watch an informal soccer game and discovered an adult recreational table tennis league tournament happening in the gym.

After picking up a can of Dad's Root Beer in the basement supermarket of the Grand Gateway, we took the 44 to Yuyuan Rd, stopped by Jodi's classroom, and walked to Zhongshan Park. At the Cloud Nine mall we changed Charlotte's diaper at the kids play area, fed her a bottle and picked up a couple of boxes of rice powder at Carrefour. We're on a budget this week (paycheck Friday!) so we hopped on Line 2 towards home.

Back in the neighborhood, we hopped over to the impromptu night market in front of the 农工商 supermarket to grab some dinner from our new addiction, the 麻辣烫 Sichuanese "poor man's hotpot" and BBQ skewer guy. Jodi dialed up Anna to come have dinner with us, but as we were sitting there enjoying our soup, the police came by to rough up the street vendors and tell them to pack up their stuff. The police threatened to come back in half an hour and cart everything away, a threat made credible by the couple of forlorn pedicarts in back of one of their caravan's trucks. This meant that when Anna arrived the soup man would only give it to her to-go, as he wanted to pack up and leave, but we convinced him to let her eat with us because we were almost finished. We stalled for a while so that the BBQ guy could come out of his hiding place back in a gated neighborhood and deliver the skewers we had ordered before the police came, but eventually got kicked out when the soup guy realized our ruse. We were finished anyway.

SleeperJodi went over to Anna's house, and I drove Charlotte past the crowds dancing on the square in front of city hall. Home, bath, bottle and bed later, I'm enjoying the root beer and catching up on the internet. Good night!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Last night after the Thanksgiving party Jodi and I took her parents and Charlotte to the guy by the 农工商 supermarket that roasts skewers of all sorts of stuff for a late night snack: beef, chicken wings, lamb, cilantro wrapped in tofu skin, and pieces of Xinjiang bread toasted crispy with cummin and red pepper, grilled up fresh in front of our eyes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

St Ignatius cathedral in Xujiahui had an open house this afternoon showcasing the in-progress refitting of the church building's windows with stained glass. Volunteers gave guided tours, and Father Thomas Lucas was available for informal chats about project's progress and technical details. Jodi and I walked around admiring the stained glass, reading their stories -- each window was accompanied by a framed explanation -- and snapping pictures. Here are some of the best:

I can't wait until 2010, when the project is slated to be finished. When we arrived at 2:30pm today, the sun was rolling in through the upper windows and splashing the cathedral's white knave with tides of color. When completely finished it will be a wonder to behold.

What are the most popular BBSs for Shanghai internet users? I bet Sam Flemming knows the answer to this one. So far, I'm guessing the 上海热线 BBS and PChomeBBS.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

This morning on the Century Park metro station platform there was a man in a blue Best Buy vest passing out ads for the iPod Touch, computers, high definition TVs...

Only he wasn't passing them out himself; he was actually sitting on the floor stuffing them with one-page Gome ads for washing machines, refrigerators and water heaters.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Wow! Language acrobatics!

Happy Halloween from the SMIC School science department:

SMIC School science dept