Friday, January 28, 2011

Some Chinese Food Photos

Another cold wintry week has ended.Not that the immediate days look any brighter or warmer.Saturday is forecast to hit a maximum of 4 degrees celsius up from -2 in the morning.Sunday's low is minus 3 up to a sultry 4 degrees again.Not that it's the coldest place in China by any means.Harbin in Northern China which is currently holding its Snow Festival is a balmy -26 to -18 degrees celsius.The shot above of roast duck and the two photos below were taken on a recent outing to a restaurant in the Puxi District of Shanghai.

The big event of the year has been gearing up for the last two weeks or so namely the Chinese New Year which falls on February 2 and 3rd this year.Migrant workers can be seen dragging all manner of boxes and parcels onto trains and buses as they begin their journey back to their hometowns.Laden with goods and presents for their families which they bought from supermarkets and stores bulging with liquor,tea and biscuit gift packs covered in rabbits, which is this years animal according to the traditional Chinese calendar.
Some of those leaving literally had to queue for days to get a ticket which may only be a standing ticket on a fifteen hour trip.In some instances,people were queuing in lines for a number to enable them to queue up in a shorter queue to get a ticket in the next day or so.
The local CCTV TV station reported that more fast trains were being put on to provide a better service for those returning home.Unfortunately the cost of the faster trains is out of the reach of most of those workers returning home.As someone told me during the week putting on faster trains with more expensive fares is only exacerbating delays and problems of ticket touting and overcrowding as it's reducing the number of trains that those wishing to travel can afford.
The shot above shows some steaming spare ribs in a spicy sauce.

The Chinese New Year includes almost a week of statutory holidays and already the air is rent with the sound of firecrackers exploding.Businesses,not just supermarkets and chain stores,are having sales and special offers as people prepare to celebrate.
One luxury hotel is offering a dinner package for eight people at 388,888 rmb for New Year's Eve.The price includes a dinner of 10 courses featuring shark fin and white truffles as well as one night's stay in a presidential style suite and transportation.
The final shot shows a dish of fried rice liberally mixed with egg,shrimp, bacon and mixed vegetables.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snowy Shanghai

The last couple of days have been very cold.Snow and sleet and a chilly wind have kept temperatures hovering around the zero celsius mark.According to the local Shanghai Daily newspaper Shanghai is experiencing its coldest winter in thirty years with the average temperature at 1.9 degrees celsius.

Certainly not the best weather for travelling at the start of the Spring Festival or waiting in line for a bus or train ticket back home.The two shots were taken from my new abode early yesterday morning.You can see the low rise apartment blocks below liberally coated with two or three centimetres of snow.Not enough to build a reasonable snowman but enough to be annoying and a hazard to motorists and pedestrians when it later froze at night.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chandeliers and Bats

There are numerous reasons why I have been unable to blog recently.I don't think there's anything as desolate as an abandoned blog.Cut off in mid flow .Often no reason given for the sudden exit.Empty,unused bytes hanging in hyperspace.
My excuses stem from the fact I've had to move apartments.Not only was the old apartment cold,it has a family of bats living in the roof cavity.

I first became aware of these nocturnal squatters when one flew in the kitchen window and started doing laps round the living room one balmy summer night.I thought turning off the light might calm it.Quite forgetting of course they can see readily enough in the dark.Anyway it stunned itself against a door and I gingerly picked it up and put it on the window sill.Like Lazarus it came round and flew off.Returning several minutes later to scramble around,above my head in the roof cavity.

I couldn't remember anything in the lease about bats- not that it mentioned the fact the hot water could equally scald or chill you in seconds nor any word of a leaky rusty washing machine when I signed up.
Things came to a head when on several occasions a bat fell into the shower stall while I was showering.The picture shows the rather bedraggled bat on the shower floor.I don't know who was more shocked.
Anyway with the coming freezing temperatures together with the increasingly annoying nightlife an opportunity to move presented itself.

So Christmas Day which was a day off I started shifting my stuff across to the new apartment.The new place is in an apartment building about twenty years more modern than my former low rise building.The apartment faces south so catches the early morning sun and being higher up is less noisy and warmer than my previous abode.I can still hear the ambulance sirens from the local hospital at all hours and the road traffic is audible but bearable.

There's still the problem of poor water flow from the taps and the shower temperature is at best lukewarm and tepid.And the dust and air quality remains a problem even up in the nosebleeder apartments.The dust seems to gather in coats and it's not your ordinary household stuff.It smears and leaves marks.It has a gritty,oily,greasy industrial element to it.

One of the odd decorating touches is this chandelier in the photo above that dominates the living room.It was dusty and grimy but a few hours effort cleaning each individual plastic part restored it to its former shiny glory.

The other reason for the lack of blog is China Telecom.They cut off my internet connection in the former apartment a week before I was leaving it then took three weeks to reconnect it at the new place-which involved them coming around twice when I was at work despite having given them instructions when I was available.

I also forgot to mention that my faithful Apple G4's screen died on New Years Eve.Being eight years old parts for it are unavailable so I had to decide if i needed a new computer and which one to buy.But that's another story...