Thursday, December 25, 2008



Made a trip into Puxi today to settle a hospital bill (having babies can be expensive). Here are some notes from the trip:

  • Instead of taking the subway to Xujiahui (Line 2 → Line 1) today I walked 10 minutes to the Xiangnan wet market and took the No 6 Bridge Line from its terminal station here in Pudong to the next-to-last station in Puxi. It was a nice, hour-long ride; I started reading the Xinmin Evening Post, but eventually put it down to catch the scenery: Huamu by Century Park, where we used to live; the school where the Pudong Bureau of Education put on its foreign English teacher Christmas party last week; over the Nanpu Bridge and past the old shipyards; along the river through some older neighborhoods; alongside Shanghai Stadium and Shanghai Indoor Stadium; and finally at Grand Gateway on Hongqiao Rd, where there is massive construction going on for Lines 9 and 11.
  • Had a late lunch at Prima Taste, the Singaporean place on 美罗城 3F (Metro City?), which I heard has opened another location in Raffles City. I was introduced to it by Michael Chan of SSIS, and I'm very thankful he did because their laksa is the best I've had in Shanghai (am I right?). Also had the chicken curry puff pastries, one of which dropped into my soup because after 5 years in China I'm still a klutz with the chopsticks.
  • A long time ago I ordered this thing called Velo that you can swipe at machines in subway stations around Shanghai and get coupons for discounts at KFC and other shops. At the time it was a new thing, and very few shops had signed on yet, and I had to pay RMB 15 to have it delivered to our house in Zhongshan Park, for which Jodi laughed at me. Now, two years later, Velo has found its second wind and is all the rage; they're practically being given away by the hundreds at little booths in subway stations and you can swipe for coupons at dozens of shops. Mine? Lost. Doh.
  • Popping out of the ground at People's Square, I was taking a picture of Venus next to the JC Marriot (one of my favorite Shanghai skyscrapers: the other two would be the Jinmao and that wavy one), when suddenly a blimp swung over the New World shopping center and into view. It had a giant LCD screen on the side and that was playing commercial ads. It was a bit further away by the time it got into the frame of my camera, but I snapped a photo anyway. I'll add the photo to this post when I upload it to the computer tonight. (EDIT: Done.)
  • A long time ago I wrote that it would be fun to take photos of the logos of American companies here in China that had retained their original style but had switched to Chinese characters, and make a quiz out of to see how many people could recognize. Today looking at the huge neon Hershey's marquee on Raffles City, I had the thought that somebody should take photos of stores of common American brands that had turned themselves into luxury brands when they moved to China and put them on the web and submit it to, say, Boingboing. I bet you could get more than a few hits. The list would include Pizza Hut, Haagen Dazs, Hersheys, Dunkin Donuts, Howard Johnson... who else?
  • Walking along Nanjing East Road on my way to Dunkin Donuts, a young girl (young? I'm getting old!) came down to RMB 300 for a massage and sex at a nearby hotel. Then she offered to come to our home in Zhangjiang! After switching into Chinese, we moved off the topic and she said she was a 服务员 (attendant?) at a local hotel working for RMB 1800 (USD 265) a month and that she was doing a little work on the side to earn some extra spending money. I have mixed feelings about that.
  • Dunkin Donuts is doing a buy-5-get-1-free deal right now, so my club card didn't get me a discount. Yes, I'm a DD club member.
  • Since I have journeyed out to Puxi a couple of times later in the day these past couple weeks, I've come back after bus service to my house stopped more than once. Because I've been alone, I could walk around and explore my options so I finally got worked out where the unlicensed minibuses that go to Xiangnan pick up their passengers: on the corner of Zu Chongzhi Road and Songtao Road, at the east end of the Zhangjiang subway station. Sometimes they wait on the south side of the intersection, sometimes on the north, but there will always be vans going to Yulan Xiangyuan on the south side so just ask one of the drivers advertising their services if they are going to Xiangnan and they will tell you where to go. In the evening the fare is RMB 3 instead of the usual RMB 2 like in the afternoons when buses are still running.
  • Tonight, I actually got home early enough to take the Zhangjiang Loop Line home. One exciting thing that I saw is that the trolley tracks, which are under construction behind my apartment and will eventually end up at Zhangjiang Station, come northward along Bibo Road and enter the Zhangjiang subway station area on the south side of the station, in between the station itself and the Shanghai Legend shopping center! So that is why there is construction going on in front of Shanghai Legend: it's not putting in more shops, it's for building the terminal station of the trolley line. Pretty cool, huh?

That's it for tonight. I'm typing this from school, where I just finished a cleaning session up in the observatory. I'm about to mop up and head back home, where dishes and laundry await me. Ciao.



At Dec 26, 2008, 3:08:00 PM, Blogger Sensei Michael said:

Absolutely correct, Micah! The best laksa in Shanghai is at Prima, but is still nothing compared to the real thing in Singapore - Katong Laksa!

And I have been using chopsticks for decades and still am a klutz at it...go figure...

At Jan 2, 2009, 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Lisa Movius said:

Prima has good food, but they charge you for napkins. So I mostly boycott (despite being in the building daily), and when I do go, I deliberately make a big mess. (Which is not hard to do with laksa.)

Always Cafe on Nanjing Lu used to have great laksa, but I haven't been there recently. (And their napkins are free.)

At Jan 2, 2009, 12:27:00 PM, Blogger Sensei Michael said:

Which place doesn't, Lisa? It's just whether they put them as a separate charge, or include it in the price of the food. :)

Coming to think of it, Secret Recipe also serves good laksa, but not as good as Prima.

At Jan 2, 2009, 12:51:00 PM, Blogger Micah Sittig said:

Well, I think the low-end places and the high-end places don't charge, but the middle-of-the-road places generally do. I got hit by the charge, but now I have a mostly-full tissue packet in my pocket so I don't mind that much.

Secret Recipe? I tried their laksa at the Jinqiao Carrefour location and swore never to go there again. It was like the fast food version of the dish: a spicy but somewhat tasteless broth, a small portion of very thick noodles, and very few "goodies" (shrimp, tofu, etc). In other words, I prefer Prima's too.


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