Socks are on.

IMG_1869From one day to the next, the weather has suddenly turned slightly chilly.  I suspected something was about to happen when this lady appeared on the streets a few weeks ago.  She is making winter bed quilts by hand from what looks like wool or silk.  I haven’t learned the words for either of these  yet so haven’t been able to ask her.

I’m terrified about what’s in store:  I’m not sure if there is a tad of exaggeration in their stories, but people here swear that in the depths of winter it is often colder inside Shanghai houses than outside!  Not only is the climate very humid during winter, the housing also lacks any insulation due to some government decision to not make it’s installation mandatory in this part of the country.  We will just have to wait and see.

Warm roasted sweet potatoes-  which are often cooked in large oil tins – have also started to appear on street stalls

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And then there are paper bags full of warm roasted chestnuts that the kids enjoy munching on their way back from dance lessons:

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My daughter decided that she’d like to take some ballet lessons (principally to be with 2 of her class mates from school). My son loved the class too. Unfortunately this class is for 5yr olds only so he has taken up taekwondo for younger folk instead.  Actually I thought I’d signed him up for kungfu….but the message was lost in translation I suppose!  However apparently taekwondo is actually a more suitable sport for younger martial artists.  I’m not sure about this now as one of his teachers mentioned today that he appeared to be practicing his ‘moves’ uninvited on some of the other students.

IMG_1927‘Shanghighs’: Um, I’m lost for words ….

‘Shanglows’: …. equally!

‘Shangunusuals’: This (left) is a typical scene from out the front of any hospital: a number of stalls selling ‘stuff’ (that’s ‘dong xi’ in Mandarin).  Speaking of which, I met with the knee specialist from HongKong last week-end and it looks like I’m going to try some physiotherapy and see if that helps with this pesky knee pain …… although the specialist seemed to be intimating that it is not uncommon to start having problems with one’s joints at my advanced age.

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Hungry folk waiting for their Chinese ‘fast food’. People tend to eat their lunch rather early (11:30-12:00) followed by dinner ideally at around 6pm so as to allow for digestion before bedtime.

Back from Cambodia

We thoroughly enjoyed  our recent visit to Cambodia.

In a nut shell: we spent a few days in Phnom Penh and the rest of the week in Siam Reap (and between those two cities).  The food was great (somewhat similar to Thai cuisine but less spicy), the weather pretty good (given that it was currently rainy season), the people friendly,  the roads and drivers rather scary and the sights were fabulous ….. take a look for yourselves (sorry about not editing the photos….but ‘done is better than perfect’ right?):

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Temples of Angkor Wat (one of the MANY)

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‘Floating Village’ – these people’s homes were standing in water.

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Fresh water fish is a common ingredient and here is some drying in the heat.

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The fresh fruit juices were amazing.

Here are some of the ingredients responsible for the delicious curry dish called amok:

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This was my favorite breakfast – noodle soup.

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Some other specialties: coconut rice cooked in bamboo.

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In the small town of Skuon….deep fried spiders………I’m afraid to admit that although I consider myself pretty bold when it comes to trying new food…. I declined this one.

There was a national buddhist holiday during our visit during which people were taking food to their local temples in a very festive mood.

There was a national buddhist holiday during our visit during which people were taking food to their local temples and were all in a very festive mood.

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The children absolutely adored riding in the tuk-tuks.

I always find that time spent discovering new lands, foods and culture also opens up the door to re-discovering/re-evaluating one’s daily life back home.  During this vacation I reflected on our new life in Shanghai and ‘recharged my batteries’…. I feel much stronger and ready to enjoy our time here and to handle the challenges that present themselves.