Shanghai – yes it really does have the same population as the whole of Australia

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Night view from apartment

In the words of my 3yr-old son as he viewed Shanghai for the first time:  ‘Wooahhh’.  This is indeed one big city with tall buildings and lots of cars with drivers who seem to like using their horns and ignoring pedestrians.  It seems that scooters taking short cuts over pavements is totally acceptable.

We arrived late Thursday night and after looking at the streets below and the high rises around with a mix of both shock and awe from the 34th floor apartment, we slumped into bed.

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baimizhou/rice congee

My first meal was a breakfast of rice congee with fish and ginger.  I was surprised to find goji berries floating on top.  I know that they are grown here, but I’d always used them in sweet rather than savory ways.  I wonder if they weren’t added simply for color?… the dish certainly needed it although I’ve since learned that you are supposed to add condiments such as some nuts and pickles to this dish.

Our first day was under the rain (apparently the rainy season has officially begun and will last for approximately 3 weeks or so).  We had to go to International Travel Healthcare Centre to prove that we are healthy.  It was somewhat amusing to see foreigners lined up in hospital robes waiting to be ushered from one room to another and back again.  After that we decided to check-out a local market where we saw all sorts of things to buy and presumably eat, such as string bags full of live toads, tiny wriggling eels and chou doufu (‘stinky tofu’) … sorry, didn’t have my camera with me.

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dousha bao (sweet steamed bean-paste bun) another breakfast treat

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Tian Zi Fang

We have  visited some  parts of the Former FrenchConcession/Huangpu district with the help of Thomas our relocation agent.  We adored Tian Zi Fang – a collection of little lanes with artists and tea/coffee shops.  We also loved the more traditional streets lined with soup vendors, vegetable stands and bicycles.  Our children’s school is in this district so we’ll be looking for housing in this area over the next few weeks.  The next 3 days are Dragon Boat Festival holidays – which sounds rather exciting but I believe it’s primarily an occasion for families to get together – so disappointingly there will be no dragons.  We took the opportunity to go and visit the ‘Old Town’ with it’s tranquil Yu Gardens.  We also visited a fabulous antique market and finished it off with a great Sichuan hotpot (huoguo) meal where we plunged vegetables – such as the delicious lotus root – and meats into a boiling broth and then fished them out before dipping them into a variety of sauces and condiments (such as sesame paste, chilli sauce, fresh coriander ….monosodium glutamate!)

Shanghighs‘ this week:  discovering new food, some great contacts with other ex-patriate families (some play-dates are set for this week), plenty of opportunities to stop-breathe-remain calm  😉

Shanglows‘: kids being sick and waking-up at 3am every day, rain, not speaking the language, the kids asking to go ‘home’ or to see their friends, missing the comforts of home and routine……. more about ‘comfort’ next week.

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Images from Old Town/Nanshi – still not sure what those eggs are covered with.

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4 comments on “Shanghai – yes it really does have the same population as the whole of Australia

  1. Jenny McClure says:

    So happy to see your post, I’ve been checking everyday! Mason and Callie miss their friends terribly, Kristine moved in over the weekend and they walked right in the (open) front door thinking you had come back. She does have a GIANT new wall fountain in the front, so I expect she’ll see a lot of us! We send our love and are looking forward to hearing about all your adventures and would love to see pics of you all 🙂

  2. Good luck! We are looking forward to the next post.

  3. Kedsunee says:

    Ça fait plaisir de te lire et d’avoir de vos nouvelles! Vous nous manquez. Ça me fait encore tout bizarre de penser que vous n’êtes plus à SB. 😦 Ça doit être fascinant de découvrir plein de nouvelles choses! J’espère que Blanche et Antoine d’adapteront bien vite, ainsi que toi et Sébastien, biensur!

    Aujourd´hui C’était le dernier jour de la preschool pour Crystal. Ils ont fait une parade, et c’était trop mimi. Cependant, ça m’a rendue bien triste de quitter cette phase pour avancer dans une toute nouvelle. Mais quand j’y repense, cela n’a rien de comparable aux changements que vous vivez en ce moment!

    À bientôt pour d´autres nouvelles,
    — Kedsunee

  4. Jerome et Christelle says:

    Un grand coucou de la part du “géant” et de Cricri… Et bien, dire que nous nous disions pourquoi ne pas retourner vous voir en Californie… Ce sera Shanghai, qu’à cela ne tienne!
    Quelle belle manière de raconter ce changement, j’aime beaucoup tes réflexions sur pourquoi partir … Très inspirant!
    Un énorme bisou à Blanche Antoine et Sébastien et merci de nous faire partager ces moments de votre vie!

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