Fakes, Focus and Flies.

FAKES – In my last post I mentioned that fake antiques are common-place here. What I didn’t mention was the availability of modern-fakes. It is possible to buy practically everything here – both the real version, and a cheaper ‘copy’. Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Cartier… and Vitamix!  I’d been lusting after this powerful high-speed blender – otherwise know as the ‘Total Nutrition Center’ (pictured left) for years but the $7000rmb price tag made me gag.  Enter the ‘Tatol Nutrition Center’ (pictured right) which is admittedly less attractive in appearance, but at around 700rmb I couldn’t resist.


FOCUS – It’s the end of June already. At this time of year I am usually wondering/despairing about how much/little I’ve achieved of my  New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I haven’t even written any down.488374_424096594294367_742468717_n

SO finally I’ve resolved to focus on just one thing that I can control (theoretically) and which I believe will help with every facet of my being and that is TO SLOW DOWN. Living here should help me focus on this:

  • I talk too fast….. trying to speak more Mandarin will help with this.
  • eat too fast…….using chopsticks 100% should cure this one.
  • walk too fast…..so I’ll just start walking at the pace of a 4-year old on his way to school 😉

IMG_3570FLIES – Speaking of focus, Chairman Mao certainly had that. He focussed on some ‘interesting’ projects such as ‘The campaign against the ‘Four Pests’ which was initiated in 1958 as a hygiene campaign to exterminate mosquitoes, flies, rats, and sparrows.'(Wikipedia)  It turned out to be rather a disaster, especially due to the eradication of the sparrows – who were targeted as they supposedly ate too much of the rice crops. As it turned out, sparrows actually spent more time eating the bugs that devastate rice crops and ‘The Great Famine’ ensued. I’d heard about China having no flies and was pleasantly surprised to find that there are indeed very few….. but they are on their way back – as you can see in this fly-catcher which I spotted this week:

Shanghighs‘: After weeks of negotiation (literally) we have an apartment to move into at the end of July. Hooray!

Shanglows‘: Our son Antoine caught a ‘tummy bug’ this week and couldn’t go to school …. as is evident in this photo: IMG_3739Shangunusuals‘: Could this be the McDonald’s of China? IMG_3219


Old stuff


IMG_1642Around Shanghai there are a number of markets dedicated to selling artifacts from the distant past (or not so distant… as some/many? – can be modern fakes).IMG_1644IMG_1316

We found this huge warehouse of furniture and bric-a-brac in the middle of no-where. Unfortunately the owner was savvy and the prices were exorbitant. In any case, exporting relics from China can be a very complicated business with strict laws to follow.IMG_3116



You could always take one of these little figurines as a souvenir!





Shanghighs‘: Speaking of old stuff, thanks for the birthday wishes 😉

It’s official, I’ll be flying to Australia soon with the kids for 3 weeks.

Shanglows‘: June rain

Shangunusuals‘: Still on the theme of old stuff, while there is doesn’t appear to be a very clear official recycling program here nothing goes to waste: There are bicycles and electric scooters circulating around town with little loud speakers attached which are used to describe which items they are collecting (old computers etc..) People who have something to get rid can sell their goods for a nominal fee and everyone is happy.

Back from France…..and we’ve been here one year.

I hadn’t been back to France for 3 years and I hadn’t left Asia for a year so I appreciated the week-long trip to Vendee (west France) last week. We attended the wedding of one of Sebastien’s cousins. Saturday morning at 11:00 guests met at La Mairie (town hall) for a civil wedding

DSC_1485followed by drinks then a four-course meal (seven-course if you include cheese, fruit and trou normande/digestive), then a live band with dancing and all the while there was something that doesn’t really happen in Australia… lots of entertainment provided by the guests which included singing, home-made videos, games… DSC_1587 ..then at midnight the guests danced under a huge heart-shaped brioche and at 2am onion soup was served (but we’d left by then!). On Sunday there was a buffet lunch plus some more entertainment (including a video of the bucks and hens nights). Phew! IMG_2082 DSC_1217


Speaking of weddings, here in China it appears that modern couples have done away with the traditional red dress and every week-end we see brides and grooms having their photos taken around town in fancy white gowns and black suits.



Whilst in France we took the opportunity to visit the Arcachon basin with the largest sand dune in Europe (Pyla).With the kids staying with their grandma for a couple of days Sebastien and I were able to take a 7-hour walk along the coast, through the pine forest and finishing at a little cabin by the water front where we enjoyed a platter of fresh oysters and a drop of wine.DSC_1247


Blanche really enjoyed looking for pignons (pipi shells?) and we enjoyed eating them… as well as eating freshly grilled sardines, and crusty baguettes and creamy cheese and ripe summer  fruit….DSC_1288

Shanghighs/lows/unusuals‘: We have survived a whole year in Shanghai. Have I managed to ‘nurture joy, lightness and space’ as was my intention 12 months ago? Hmmmm I have to be honest and say that those are not the first words that come to mind BUT I’ve had fun writing these blog posts which have helped me maintain a healthy curiosity.


Another ‘Shanghigh’ – a new discovery: wontons served in delicious sesame and peanut sauce.