In response to some of your comments: James, I'll pass on the case law; I'm bored, but not THAT bored, thanks. To my old friend Bob, thanks for the compliment; I'll work on the book thing, although I don't know how many people would be interested in hearing my ramblings. Uncle Brian, I can't get into the engine of the scooter, but if I find a way in I will definitely take the gov off and let her rip. Sid, Tiffany and I are thinking about a trip to India for one of our mandatory "tourist" vacations, any chance you are going back next year sometime to visit the fam? Nadia, needless to say, Tiff and I miss you and JB too, hope you guys had a good Halloween without us, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
It's our third week in Shanghai and life is starting to feel somewhat normal. Getting daily necessities doesn't seem to be as difficult as it was a few weeks ago, watching (English) TV on our laptop is a big plus, and we have started using at least one of our two burners to cook some meals at home. The scooter has been really helpful for us getting around and, seriously, it is a lot of fun to drive (even if we have to push it up hills because it can't make it up them on its own)!
This past Sunday we went shopping for some winter clothes and we took the scooter. It got us around to a bunch of places in the city that we probably wouldn't have found if on foot, but it is much harder navigating through a sea of people than one might think. After riding for about 10 minutes, which only got us about 100 feet from where we started, we decided to start taking a video to document the challenge.
After looking for a way across, we finally decided that we didn't need to get across the road that bad and instead went to get something to eat. But, Tiffany did get some good winter clothes, and I got some great tea! I drink tea from time to time, but I like coffee better. However, the tea I got the other day is, without doubt, the best tea I have ever had, so I bought 50 grams. It actually isn't that much, but the lady wouldn't give me a better deal if I bought more, so I decided to buy the small amount and play hardball by walking out. I expected her to come running frantically after me to try and sell me the larger quantity. But she didn't, and now I wish I would have bought more tea. She drove a hard bargain, and I probably shouldn't have told her it was the best tea I ever had. Anyways, we are trying to come up with a name for our scooter and want to see if anyone would like to offer up a suggestion...
After we couldn't get across the street, we decided to get something to eat. So we drove around and found a neighborhood that had some great little restaurants. We settled on getting hot pot for dinner. These restaurants are all over the place, and getting a hot pot dinner is a lot of fun because it's more involved than a normal dining experience. They have these places in the US, too. But the way it works is you get a pot of boiling water that has coals inside a metal cylinder in the middle of the pot that keeps the water boiling. You order a whole bunch of side dishes (i.e., meats, vegetables, noodles, sauces, etc.) that come out raw. Then you start putting stuff in the boiling water to cook/flavor it and take it out to eat. So good. The street we went down had a ton of hot pot places, so I shot a quick video to show everyone the choices we had.
Now, I know what some of you are probably thinking: 'that doesn't look sanitary'; 'how can that be safe?'; etc. But, having worked in the restaurant business for 10+ years, I can tell you that I have seen much, much worse. Moreover, have any of you ever eaten at a County Fair, or possibly a food truck, lately? Think about it people...
Tiffany is doing well, and I know a lot of you want to know how things are going with her. So, without further ado, here she is: I'm really loving Shanghai. Its such a fast-paced, exciting city. Los Angeles feels very slow in comparison after being here for just a few weeks. I'm loving my new job, even with the crazy hours. I've gotten to work on and design some very fun projects. The hospital project is now over and I am very excited to see how it turns out. Hopefully soon I will be able to send out pictures of it. I've been learning to eat a lot of new foods while I've been here in Shanghai. My office serves breakfast and a afternoon snack everyday. So I've gotten to try a lot of new foods just being at work. Michael and I have also been going out to lots of different restaurants to try new foods. So far we've had Indian, Italian, American, Shanghainese, Hot Pot,Vietnamese and others. However, I still can't eat turtle or frog. I just can't bring myself to pick a frog or turtle out of a cage to have killed so I can eat it. I would rather take it home and keep it as a pet. So, I'm excited to see what the future has in store for us. I can't wait.
I wanted to follow up and show everyone the design that she worked on over the last few weeks and is finished. She isn't mentioning it, but her supervisor and other people in the firm have been giving her lots of compliments on her renderings. For those of you who don't know what a rendering looks like, I was able to sit down for an exclusive interview with The Architect to tell/show everyone about it:
I am still looking for a good activity to keep me busy, but in the meantime I have spent time venturing out in the city (but still not "sightseeing") and writing about my experiences. I thought I would share a couple of observations. First off, I should let you know that one of my favorite things to do is people watch (though not in a creepy way), and one of my goals while over here is to compare life here and in the U.S. One thing I have seen a lot of is people, particularly couples, taking long, slow walks along the streets that don't seem to be intended for exercise. I'm not saying people/couples don't take walks in the States, but I didn't see it very often while living in Los Angeles. It's really interesting, and if I spoke Chinese well enough, I might go up to a couple and ask them where they're going next time. The other thing I have been intrigued by is this little old lady that lives in a building about block away. Because we have a nice view from our apartment with windows that open up, I often lean on the railing and look out. Almost everyday, I see the same lady sitting with her chin on folded arms looking out at a plant that she puts on the air-conditioner just outside of her window. She puts it out in the morning, stares at it for hours (sometimes hanging her laundry right beside it), and then takes it in at night. It happens almost everyday, and I am very curious to know what she finds so interesting about that plant.
That's what we have been up to for the last week. Hope everyone had a good Halloween and enjoyed a happy election day! I have a friend who told me just before we left that, as a small business owner, he wanted the election to produce congressional gridlock so that nothing gets done and his business wouldn't have to deal with the uncertainty of new laws, regulations, etc. So, Eric VZ, I'm glad you got your wish.
Please follow our blog and keep the comments coming, we love hearing from everyone! As I mentioned last week, I will do a short segment at the end of the blog called 'Maybe It's Just Me' to tell a quick story that could only happen in China.
Maybe It's Just Me
A couple of Friday's ago, Tiffany and I were walking home from a responsible night at an Irish pub down the street. As we were walking home, we noticed there was a sobriety checkpoint at the intersection closest to our apartment. Being the Lookie Loos that we are, we stopped to see if anyone would get pulled over. Sure enough, five minutes later two guys in a jeep got pulled over after blowing into a breathalyzer. When the driver got out of the car, we could visibly see how drunk he was and hear him slurring his words (despite the fact that I couldn't understand him in the first place). The interesting part about this story isn't that the cop refused a wad of cash the guy pulled out of his pocket in front of a very busy intersection and crowd of people watching. Rather, the interesting part happened when the cop pulled the guy over to the side, wrote him a ticket, and let him stumble through traffic back to his car and drive away. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the point of a sobriety checkpoint is to make the road safer by getting drunk drivers OFF the road?!?