Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bakugan and the Zoo

Sad, sad grizzly bear begging for junk. :(

We went to the zoo on Sunday. Trips to the Shanghai Zoo never fail to make us sad. The overweight animals look so pathetic begging for human food from all the dumb people that throw bread and junk food at them. But it was a nice day and we wanted to be outside. Timmy wanted to see "elphants & mean birds." We've been watching Horton Hears a Who over and over so he now like elephants and mean birds (vultures), but at the zoo he thought every bird was a mean bird.

This is Timmy imitating one of the mean birds.

On an unrelated topic, can anyone explain to me how Bakugan works? Scott's co-worker bought Timmy a set of little magnetic triggered exploding ball toys and I just don't get it. What is the story behind it, and the strategy? Any help would be appreciated. Timmy loves the toys. He even calls one that looks like a bird, Mean Bird Ball.

Clean-shaven Scott at the zoo.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Scott

So on Friday night we found a babysitter (hooray!) so that we could go out to dinner for Scott's birthday (he turns THIRTY on Sunday!). A few notes about this dinner: I have never paid so much for a can of coke in my life...40RMB = $5.84, ouch! But the food was delicious, we went to a German restaurant, and I think I'd go back despite the ridiculous price of a coke (and by can, I mean a can with no refills, oh how I miss free refills and fountain coke in the USA).

Anyway, after we ate we each used the bathroom, where for me 2 interesting things happened. Now I have been greeted by a bathroom attendant before, but never in my life have I had one actually clean the toilet seat before I used it. It was weird, in a nice way I guess, at least I know it was clean. Then as I am washing my hands I see a sign on the wall that I think would only be seen in China, "Please do not spit phlegm in here, for the safety and health of yourself and others." And they even spelled phlegm correctly. Ha, safety of others! If there hadn't been a bathroom attendant watching my every move, I definitely would have taken a picture of that one!

The old man himself, chillin' with T.T.

Friday, October 16, 2009

In The Local Laowei News

Timmy and I got our picture published in a local magazine, Shanghai City Weekend: Parents & Kids Magazine. They did a feature in October about an organization called "Peas & Pods" that I help out with. Check out the feature below!

The text is probably too small to read in my scan but it says: "The International Mothers Support Group was created in 2000 when three moms met to discuss the challenges of having young children in Shanghai. Today this self-proclaimed "community of international parents and children" boasts 400 members who meet in various baby and toddler groups in Puxi and Pudong. Newly christened as Peas and Pods, this volunteer-run organization now focuses on building a multicultural, all-inclusive environment."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cebu, Philippines...The Highlights

We spent a week in Cebu, Philippines at the Plantation Bay Resort with Scott's parents and our friend Lauren. It was sweet.

The pools were mix of some fresh water and some salt water, and there was a tiny beach that provided hours of entertainment when the tide was out. We discovered what we think is either a sea cucumber or sea slug, a blue starfish, endless crabs, at least one eel, etc. Timmy loved the water slide and swimming in general. He loves our friend Lauren and now thinks that any white girl that is not me is "Owen" (he had a hard time saying Lauren).

Timmy loved vacation.

We attended two luaus, complete with a roasted pig and, Lauren's favorite (heehee) "sexy male dancers in skimpy loin cloths" as the advertisement said. The food at the resort in general was okay, but nothing much I'd rave about. Although the donuts every morning were pretty good.

We took a day cruise to a white sand beach island called Pandanon Island. They roasted miscellaneous meats for us for lunch that were delicious. Then we went to a different island's coast to go snorkeling. It was awesome. The best snorkeling I have ever done. We got to feed the fish, so they came right up to us and I even got to see Nemo (clown fish) in his natural habitat. Cindy stayed on the boat with Timmy and they got to feed and watch the fish from there.

We ate lunch in this little hut on the island.

After all the worrying we had done the week before about earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, tropical storms and the like, we ended up with perfect weather. Timmy the whitest kid in China didn't even get sun burned!

Click here for the rest of our pictures:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vacation in Shanghai

After our whirlwind tour of Beijing with Jim and Cindy, we embarked on three days of tourism in Shanghai. We spent Thursday at the flower market and Pearl Market doing some shopping.

We followed that up with picking up our friend Lauren from the airport and dragging her out to a fancy dinner at Kathleen's 5 restaurant on top of the Shanghai Art Museum. It was Jim and Cindy's wedding anniversary so we had to go out and celebrate. There was a great view of the city from the rooftop atrium. As we were eating building after building lit up with neon and LEDs. Some of us were not sure exactly what we were eating, namely Jim, but our best guess was some kind of internal organ like an intestine. It was an interesting evening.

The view from the atrium on stop of the Shanghai Art Museum.

Friday was the official first day of the holiday here in China and we made the dumb mistake of trying to go to Yu Gardens. I think every Chinese person in Shanghai was there. We left after 10 minutes of insanity. We went and did more shopping, got our hair washed and then had a huge Chinese dinner with our friend Lou Yun. We were in a private room with a huge lazy Susan full of too much food. Again Jim ate something odd, a chicken foot.

Lauren and Cindy experiencing the hair wash, complete with an ear cleaning for Cindy!

Saturday was a trip to the fake market on NanJing Lu to get some final gifts for people back home. We also took our guests to the grocery store to see the insanity that it is. After some spaghetti at home and relaxing we headed to the airport for our midnight flight and the beginning of the real vacation...Cebu, Philippines!

Lauren and I bought matching Uggs at the fake market.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Beijing Day Three: The Summer Palace

Our last day in Beijing we had just enough time to make it through the Summer Palace before heading back to the airport to return to Shanghai. There were ornate statues, hundreds of paintings on the ceilings of the walkways, a big lake, a guy writing mystery messages in Mandarin on the ground with water, crazy topiaries and lots of people - typical China. :)

Scott's parents, Jim & Cindy

Scott and I with one of the beautiful statues

one cool peacock.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Beijing Day Two, part Two: Peking Duck and the Communist Reign

On our second night in Beijing we had made reservations at the Grand Hyatt's restaurant called Made in China. We had read that this was a great place to experience eating Peking Duck, a famous dish from this city. So we show up at the Hyatt just before our reservation time and are greeted by the concierge who says we cannot enter the hotel. We explain to him that we have reservations and he says he will need to check with the restaurant. He comes out and explains that the government has taken over the hotel and only government officials and VIPs are allowed inside. He offers to make us a reservation somewhere else. After waiting for a taxi for almost 30 minutes to get to another restaurant, we make it and eat some delicious food at a super swanky place. Crazy government.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Beijing Day Two: Great Wall, Great Fog, & The Olympics

Our second day in Beijing took us to the Great Wall. The weather that day was not optimal for viewing much farther than your hand in front of your face. We had a good morning on the Wall with Timmy doing some physical therapy on his healing, no longer casted leg by climbing for a while. We were planning on taking the toboggan down the wall, but it was closed due to the rain. We got to wear some sweet ponchos though.

Timmy climbing the wall.

Diaper change on the wall.

After the Great Wall we headed over to the Olympic park to check out the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube. The whole place was pretty amazing. We self-toured the inside of the Water Cube. Although really neat, time has already started to take it toll on the weird plastic-y material that its made of because the place looks a little bit dirty now. Again we wished the fog would break, but it was still a great experience.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beijing Day One: Tiananmen Square and One Long Noodle

We arrived in Beijing on Monday morning and began our site seeing in Tiananmen Square. Being that it was three days before the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, the place was buzzing with preparations for their monster of a parade. Red flags everywhere and little silver marks on the ground where thousands of people would be standing for the festivities on Thursday. Timmy got in on the Communist pride action, see above.

We attempted to then go to the Forbidden City, which is located next to the square. The entrance that faces the square was blocked off for the parade route and we assumed that meant we could not go inside. We realized later that we needed to enter from the other end, oh well, I guess we missed out on that site.

We decided to go for an early dinner at the Noodle Loft. We had seen this restaurant on Discovery Travel and Living channel, on Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations. It is famous for its long noodles. Scott ordered the dish called One Long Noodle. Literally it is one noodle that is probably between two and three meters long, all wound up into one bowl. Pretty cool. The rest of the food was pretty good too.