427! I don’t ever remember seeing this number on my CN Air Quality App for Shanghai. It’s been days of awful air here in Shanghai, just awful. I am breaking down and getting masks for TG and LG and I. Till now I’ve been able to ignore the bad air days, but a week of crazy bad air has broken me. Thanks to Cate and Mark, I have a DIY air purifier which I just plugged in and hopefully it will do its thing. I hate to think we’re putting LG’s health at risk just by living here.
I always get a kick of running into my fellow Rochesterian Leehom Wang. Usually it’s on a bottle of Wahaha water, but yesterday it was in the subway.
I happened across these greens sunbathing in my alley. Hoping that my neighbors will teach me how they make pickled vegetables from them once they’re dried out. Also looking forward to my kimchi lesson with Cate!
Get up you lazy bear! At least that’s what I imagine that LG and Lulu are saying to this giant stuffed animal we found in the alley outside of Lulu’s home.
It’s officially winter, but since the temperature is more like fall, here’s a photo of our Sukkah, from back in October. What a wonderful week it was, eating outside almost every meal.
I found this book while visiting one of my favorite museums in Shanghai, the Propaganda Poster Art Museum. It lists all the traditional hand craft goods sold in Shanghai, where to buy them and what price they sell at. It’s fascinating to see these traditional tools and learn how they are made. Looking through the photos, you begin to notice details that you might skip over when you see them for sale in the markets. Like this scrub brush for instance. I’ve used scrub brushes like these for years, but I never noticed that on some of them the bristles actually spell out “hygiene” in Chinese!
I ran into this gentleman the other day. He’s in his 70s and lives out in a village on the far outreaches of Shanghai. He learned the basket weaving trade from his father. He spends a whole day making one of these baskets. When he has a bunch saved up, he’ll take the subway into the city and set up shop on a corner to sell. The baskets are his only income, so I was happy to buy one off of him for LG. When she grows up, there will be even fewer craftspeople making traditional goods.
This gallery contains 9 photos.
It’s fall here again, and LG and I are enjoying sites and sounds of the season on our walk to and from the babysitter’s each day. Here’s what our neighborhood looks like, from her viewpoint. Hairy Crabs for sale! Figs … Continue reading
My neighbor’s tiger lurking in a Suntory forest of potted plants.
My alley is sending me messages, loud and clear, through the my neighbor’s clothes hung out to dry. Their t-shirts speak to me, reminding me to enjoy life a little more…and shut up and fish.
For the past three weeks as I take LG to and from daycare each morning and afternoon, we pass a row of
thugs security guards guarding the gate to a giant empty lot on our street. They sit in a row, idly drinking tea and chatting. Meanwhile at the corner, uniformed men whose helmets read City Beautification stand guard. They seem benign. They smile at LG, and it would be easy to smile back. Instead I seethe inside and mutter at them under my breath.
They are the enforcers of an illegal demolition that left a couple homeless. The couple had been squatting for years in the burnt out remains of their former home after it was illegally burned down by a greedy developer, who later went to jail for the death of a couple in the fire. The government has been eying the property, and finally they just sent the bulldozers in. What was left of the remaining building is now rubble.
We live on one corner of that empty lot and have watched it grow wild over the years. Our kitchen window looks out over it. We once held a BBQ inside the gates before being kicked out by the guards. Our first dining room table was bought from a couple that moved out to the suburbs and was selling off their belongings.
What a depressing scene now, the rubble covered in netting. And probably by next year, construction for a fancy high rise apartment complex will begin. And saddest yet, this is completely normal in China.
Here’s what the scene looked like earlier this year.
If you’d like to learn more about the story, check out my colleague Rob Schmitz’s radio stories on Marketplace from March and from just recently.
Seizing Homes, Seizing Lives:The Anatomy of a Shanghai Landgrab
The Anatomy of a Shanghai Land Grab Residents Kidnapped, Their Homes Destroyed
there she goes!
Exciting times here in the nongtang. LG is on the verge of walking. Over the weekend she pushed her stroller for the first time and yesterday she took a few steps on her own. Today she did it again, but is a little afraid of falling on her behind. It is really sinking in for me and TG. A year in, LG is no longer our baby, she’s now our little girl.