Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Soofish restaurant

Walking home from the Jing'an metro stop, I was pretty exhausted from the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum fake market bartering. So I decided to order something from this restaurant that I pass every other day.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Soofish restaurant - 01 - Store front

The waiter pointed to the greens page, and especially this item. I don't know what it was, but I have seen the greens in the Chinese supermarket back home. It was pretty tasty, and only mildly spicy. I figured it was time to learn how to take pictures without using the flash, so this picture turned out a little dark.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Soofish restaurant - 02 - Peppered greens

Originally for a main dish, I ordered spicy eel. But the waiter came back out after five minutes, opened the menu and pointed at the eel. I was a little confused for a bit, then I realised that they can't have had any in stock so confirmed it in Mandarin. I wasn't going to eat the "Fucked Bullfrog", so I chose some kind of mutton and pepper dish. These restaurants must all have the same menu, as they have the same Engrish.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Soofish restaurant - 03 - Peppers and mutton

This was extremely good. The peppers were mild chillis and sichuan, the latter really added a nice edge to the dish. I can't positively identify this as mutton, it they may have switched it for pork for all I know.

Science and Technology Museum fake market

I wanted a shoulder bag so I wouldn't have to carry things around Shanghai, so I headed out to the fake market at the Science and Technology Museum. It's under the ground between the museum and the metro stop.

Arriving a little earlier than the advertised opening time (10 AM), I headed over to check out the museum. There was a long water feature fountain thing cascading in front of it.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Science and Technology Museum - 02 - Water feature length

And a huge queue of sorts. That put paid to any idea of heading in and taking a look today.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Science and Technology Museum - 04 - Queue

A close up of the fountain, with the Expo mascot Haibao in the background. The HR girl from work suggested he looked like he was advertising toothpaste. I concur.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Science and Technology Museum - 05 - Water feature section

Haibao up close. The kids were trying to climb him, but otherwise seemed to enjoy their picture being taken in front of him.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Science and Technology Museum - 01 - Haibao statue

The dragon globe statue looked more China to me.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Science and Technology Museum - 03 - Dragon statue

Behind the dragon globe statue you could see doors. These lead into the market, and further beyond the metro. I headed in and bartered and bartered and bartered for a shoulder bag. An okay looking canvas-type shoulder bag from the largest mall at Zhongshan Park was 599 RMB, and the selection there was very limited. Pretty much all the shoulder bags there were synthetic and sporty.

I bartered down to about 60 RMB for similar bags as the one shown below, before the sellers gave up on me. So I offered and stuck to around 65 RMB ($13.00 NZD) for this one. I also bought a leather belt, but I cannot remember how much I bought it for. The bartering process was extremely tiring. It basically consists of the seller whining at you and continually offering a succession of nominally lower prices from the exorbitant one they first offered.

2010-10-05 - Shanghai - Science and Technology Museum - 06 - Shoulder bag

Junk food update

Decided to try the other flavours of Milka chocolate that were on the shelf at City Shop. First up was Zartherb, it sounded like it would add a spring back in my step.

2010-09-30 - Shanghai - Junk Food - 01 - Milka zartherb chocolate

Looked and tasted like mediocre milk chocolate.

2010-09-30 - Shanghai - Junk Food - 02 - Milka zartherb chocolate innards

Then there was the white chocolate.

2010-10-01 - Shanghai - Junk Food - 01 - Milka white chocolate

Nowhere as nice and sickly as Nestles' milky bar. White chocolate should remind you of condensed milk... this was just white sugary stuff.

2010-10-01 - Shanghai - Junk Food - 02 - Milka white chocolate innards

Another day I felt like some potato chips, but wanted something that seemed healthier. So I grabbed some sweet potato chips.

2010-10-04 - Shanghai - Junk Food - 01 - Ubi sweet potato chip packet

I couldn't eat these. The flavour was identical to the scent of musty clothes from my suitcase. Binned.

2010-10-04 - Shanghai - Junk Food - 02 - Ubi sweet potato chips

Shanghai buses

I'd never taken a bus until a week ago, but I had to meet a friend. So I asked a few questions of a coworker, and learned that it was 2 RMB to get on the bus no matter how far you went. So armed with this knowledge, I located a suitable bus and hopped on it, taking a seat somewhere near the middle.

Just as the bus took off, a Chinese man hopped in getting squashed by the door in the process. Inside, he reached to get his public transport card out to swipe it as the bus driver took off. The force of acceleration pushed him back, so that he fell on his backside on the bus steps. For the next ten seconds, unable to get up he tried to strain against the force of acceleration reaching futilely to get his card close enough to the reader. It was like a bad comedy, and I couldn't help but be amused by the sight.

Halfway to my destination, the bus driver had to pull to a sudden stop when the bus in front of his did the same. Behind me, I could hear someone slam into something and cry out. Oooof! It sure sounded like it hurt a lot, but there was no fuss raised, so it can't have been too brutal.

This shit wouldn't fly in New Zealand.

What I did not learn from my coworker however, was how you get off a Chinese bus. There are no stop buttons, like there are in every other country I have lived in. Apparently they stop at every bus stop, you just have to stand up and get ready to hop off.

When I got to my destination, I ended up sitting in a park for an hour or so. The mosquitos here are vicious. I took a survey of how many bites there were on my legs the next day, and there were eighteen. Everyone else has started wearing jeans and longer pants, so I guess that's a wise move and it serves me right for wearing shorts.

Different cultural norms

When I was taking taxi rides out to the other side of the city every two weeks, I would go down the same curving scenic road. The footpath on the side we drove was lined leading up to a wall with grass and then garden. The garden in turn was lined with men standing in full view taking a leak on the wall (I recall seeing three along it in one day).

I was walking along the road past the fronts of shops and homes, and a few of the houses had a small section of lawn, which is pretty unique as most buildings face up to the footpath. On the lawn was a toddler squatting and taking care of business.

Last night, walking home from the nearby metro stop I reached a main-ish street corner I needed to wait for the traffic lights on. Cue another Shanghai experience where a tween girl was squatting and going to the toilet on the far side of the rubbish bin. I step there every other day! Remind me to never wear my shoes into my apartment :(

Different country, different cultural norms I guess.