Friday, 24 December 2010

iPod Touch photos

I've got a few minutes before I head off to play squeeze in the metro door with the rest of the sardines on my way to People's Square, so here's the rest of my iPod Touch pictures. When I got this doodad, I thought "coo, a portable camera thingy so I don't have to lug around my Canon." But really, it is a super-heavy music player, a grainy camera, and a small screen that isn't near big enough to use for any real purpose comfortably. My cheap Sansa Clip music player that I got off weighs a tenth as much, if that. Anyway, here's the pictures.

Work provides lunch to workers in offices in every country. One of the most popular is the Thai restaurant, and the rice goes before I get there (I wait until the queue is gone). Here's a grainy picture of whatever I scraped together from what was left, there was one spoonful of rice left. But there was coriander this day, which was a bonus and is not usually there.

2010-12-20 - Work lunch - Thaihouse

Walking to Burger King to meet a friend, I passed this Christmas tee-pee celebrating native Americans or something.

2010-12-20 - Jingan Temple - 01 - Lit teepee or something 2010-12-20 - Jingan Temple - 02 - Lit teepee or something

And at Burger King, they were late so I ordered something. So many things on the menu, and nothing satisfies.

2010-12-20 - Burger King - Spicy burger meal

Power Restaurant

This place is just outside the subway stop where I live. I got a bit tired of the mutton kebabs that were sold on the street there, and decided to wander in. They do not speak English and the menu is written in Chinese characters.

2010-12-19 - Power Restaurant - 01 - Menu Front 2010-12-19 - Power Restaurant - 02 - Menu Back

They give you a number and your receipt, and you go sit at a table to wait for what you ordered.

2010-12-24 - Power Restaurant - 01 - Table number

First my dumplings arrived. I have no idea how to eat these, often they are filled with juice and it squirts all over my chopstick hand. Still, at least that's better than squirting all over my clothes :-)

2010-12-24 - Power Restaurant - 02 - Delicious fried pork something

Then my "delicious fried pork something" arrived. I call it that, because I began drawing the characters on my receipt into my iPod app and that's as far as I got. It wasn't easy, the receipt is as grainy as these iPod pictures.

2010-12-24 - Power Restaurant - 03 - Dumplings

Power is cheap and tasty. I plan on stopping there often, but I'm going to try and spoil my dinner less. Looking at the below receipt, the dumplings were 4 RMB and the pork something was 6 RMB.

2010-12-24 - Power Restaurant - 04 - Receipt

Anyway, I have to stop posting pictures and get to studying my Mandarin vocabulary for the night and then head out to People's Square to meet up.

Supermarket snacks

I bought several snacks at either the supermarket down the road, or the corner store that is situated mid-block across the road.

100% something blueberry drink. I hope it's 100% blueberry juice.

2010-12-18 - Blueberry Juice

Blueberry yogurt. Better than a packet of potato chips, for sure.

2010-12-13 - Snacks - 01 - Blueberry Yogurt

And an innards shot so you can see the level of fruitiness.

2010-12-13 - Snacks - 02 - Blueberry Yogurt

Noodle Bar

Unspectacular hamburgers are par for the course in Shanghai. And nowhere do they make a more unspectacular hamburger than at Carls' Jr. Sure they make worse ones at McDonalds and Burger King, but I want something I appreciate eating more than I appreciate the idea of what it could have been. I often walk out of Carls' Jr and look at the noodle bars nearby and think how I should have gone there. So, this one day I zigged left to the Noodle Bar when I would have otherwise zagged right into Carls' Jr.

2010-12-04 - Noodle Bar - 01 - Restaurant

This is not my hand. But it is the menu on the wall beside the entrance to this restaurant.

2010-12-04 - Noodle Bar - 02 - Outside Menu

The ordered dish. It was okay, but it was just noodles in soupy water. You can get those out of a packet and cook them up in two minutes at home thanks to Maggi. Throw in some gristly meat and Robert is your father's brother.

2010-12-04 - Noodle Bar - 03 - Dish

Marks and Spencer christmas cake

A good piece of christmas cake and a cup of tea are my favourite part of Christmas. What better way to celebrate whatever it was the pagans did that was covered up with whatever it is that Jesus was supposed to have done. Christmas cake however, is not easy to find in Shanghai. However, wandering around Marks and Spencer to buy some socks and check out western sized shoes, I caught sight of a stack of these and chucked one in my basket.

2010-12-04 - Marks and Spencer - 01 - Christmas Cake

It was okay. In my book, finding a good christmas cake is rare, so finding one that is edible with the help of the royal icing that it has to be partly comprised of is better than nothing.
2010-12-04 - Marks and Spencer - 02 - Christmas Cake Slice
I went back last weekend, but they were sold out and only had some bullshit tree cake or some such thing.

Junk food update

I bought another batch of random items to snack on several weeks back.

2010-12-07 - Junk Food - 01 - Overview

The dried fruits were very cheap, like around 3 RMB a packet. In an ideal world, these would be unflavoured and would taste like the dried fruit they actually are. But in a world of Chinese taste preferences, these taste like.. they're coated in some.. well I don't know how to describe it. Kind of like a mix of floor cleaner and armpit, if I were to just pick a description that went for measuring the lack of appeal the flavour has for me.
2010-12-07 - Junk Food - 02 - Dried fruits

Now dried fish unflavoured is also good. But when you coat it in sugarish flavour, and other stuff, then it's just semi-moist feeling dried fish with sugarish flavour. The packet on the left was relatively untainted by flavouring.. so was less disappointing.
2010-12-07 - Junk Food - 03 - Dried fish

I like snacking on Sunmaid dried raisins. What's not to like with a mouthful of sugar in some form of carbohydrate? These were pretty innocuous, and I ate a mouthful before biffing the packet.
2010-12-07 - Junk Food - 04 - Sultanas

Chinese Character Learning

Managed to find a large cheapish pad of gridded paper for practicing my chinese characters on, at the supermarket over the road. Strangely for all the school stationary, there's nothing approaching the grid paper we have in European countries to learn mathematics on.

2010-12-09 - Hanzi Writing Paper

Christmas Present

The company I work for gives excellent Christmas presents. The first year I worked for them, they bought me a plane ticket home (pretty much from the antipodes of NZ). In subsequent years, the presents have been an Xbox of some sorts (swapped for in-store credit to get a Nintendo DS), a coffee machine (subsequently given to a friend unused when I left the country), a Playstation 3 (given to my brother as an Xmas present) and this year the following geegaw.

2010-12-24 - Employer Christmas Present
Employees were given the chance to upgrade (at personal cost) to other Apple doodads like iPhones or iPads. I opened mine with the intent to use the camera to take photos while out and about in China. Having downloaded a free Chinese/English dictionary app, I can draw characters I see on it and work out what them mean. The office announcement suggested useful scenarios like being able to video chat with other people wherever they may be in the office.. over the office wifi. Indeed, that does sound pretty swank.