I thought I’d share with you a brief description and some images of our new neighborhood. We live in the Former French Concession (which is also known as Xu hui). It has tree-lined avenues and some 1920’s French-influenced architecture. It’s a very attractive area where modern meets old. Below is a classic example of this….. a hip modern cafe just down the street from a traditional yummy steamed bun (baozi) vendor
We live in a house which has it’s own courtyard down a tree-lined lane. To access the house you need to walk through the kitchen and eating areas of the neighbors which is awkward and quaint at the same time. It is very typical here for the kitchen to be separate from the living quarters and for several families to share the same cooking area/sink. Below is the courtyard which serves the 6 families (mainly elderly couples – all Chinese) plus the entrance gate to the courtyard. There are some other expatriates living in the lane I believe – distinguishable by satellite dishes attached to their outside walls. Although we do have a TV with satellite dish provided the children haven’t turned it on once since we arrived (unlike the 2 long months we spent in the hotel!)
Above is the entrance to the lane (with one of the 3 guardians who….. well….. ‘guard’ the lane in their own manner on a rotational basis. One of them has taken it upon himself to improve my Chinese pronunciation – good luck to him!) plus a photo of the street which the lane runs off – Yueyang Rd. There are some subway/metro stations close by and the metro system is really very simple, clean, cheap and efficient (but to be avoided during peak period). Although we have a driver (Ben) and a car at our disposal I’m looking forward to exploring this part of the city on foot, taxi and subway (and just asking Ben to help us get to far-off destinations – in any case we have to give Ben an hours notice if ever we want to go somewhere which is often not very practical)
Below is our local corner store where we pay our gas and electricity bills and buy water if we’ve run out and also the local ‘recyler’ who arrives early and seems to have a large collection of cardboard and plastic and other miscellaneous items by 9am.
Below is the entrance to the local market and some of the stalls within – meat stored at 40degrees celsius, pickled vegetables and fresh noodles. We also have a less-fascinating, more ‘modern’ supermarket 5 minutes away on foot.
And if we’re hungry, there are plenty of options for street food just down the road.
When school starts in September it will be a 15-25 minute walk away – depending on enthusiasm. The outdoor pool is also about a 15-25 minute walk, which is where we spent this morning.
‘Shanghighs‘: More experimenting with local ingredients (more on this next week)…
‘Shanglows‘: stepping on a cockroach barefooted (ahh the pleasures of humid climate). Worse than this (if that’s possible) was saying goodbye to our dear friends who are returning to the USA. I have a feeling this won’t be the first teary farewell over the next few years.