Our First Holiday Weekend in Shanghai
It is Labour Day on May 1st in China and this is a public Holiday, similar to Labor Day in the United States just celebrated on a different day. It is also known as International Workers’ Day in some countries. In China it used to be a 7 day “Golden Week” or week long holiday. This changed in 2008 so three other traditional festivals could become national holidays. Interesting, right!?
So what it meant was Daddy had a 3 day weekend to spend with us. YAY! Three days of gorgeous weather and a lot of walking and exploring.
Saturday we had made plans with some friends. They have been in China for about 3.5 years and have two little kids (4 years & 2 years old) and a new little one on the way. Unfortunately, they are moving back to the states in just a couple weeks. That is just how it goes over here. People come and go often. Eventually that will be us, crazy to think about that.
Anyways it is always nice to hang out with people who have been here and can tell you things they know or have learned on their journey. This includes places to eat, things to do, where to shop, and how to just get around. These friends are great at that. I truly enjoy our time spent together even back in December when we visited.
We took the subway to meet them at the Fake Market, so they could pick up somethings before they headed back. This is located under the Science and Technology Museum off the Metro. It is a fun place to go, but you have to be able to negotiate (something I am horrible at- but Daddy does pretty well). We didn’t buy anything this trip, but we learned some of the good places to go for different things (like lululemon) and met some of the owners to the shops. This can be helpful when you go to look for something specific.
We then took a beautiful walk to Century Park(also known as “Holiday Park) and an even prettier walk through the park. It cost 10 RMB per ticket to get in(for Daddy and I)- this is like less than $1.50-so totally worth it. R loved running around with the kids and holding hands. The kids were all really cute together and did exceptionally well considering it was past lunch time and close to nap time- although nap time has fluctuated more and more when we are out exploring. The park is huge, it is the largest park in Shanghai. It is 140 hectares(if you know what those are) or 346 acres. There seems to be a lot to do. Boats to rent, and bikes, an amusement type park with rides, people fishing, picnicking, and even some sort of private event was going on in the center. There were different things set up as we walked through. It didn’t seem super busy or crowded for being a holiday weekend.
We went for late lunch at The Brew which is attached to the Kerry Hotel-Pudong Mall. This is another beautiful mall (that actually had stores I would shop at) and had a couple different places to eat including, The Cook, The Meat, and The Brew. We ate at The Brew. They have a few different craft beers-one called Dunken Donuts and was infused with 1000 donuts. The kids did so well and P even fell asleep in the stroller after eating. We were there for a couple hours just visiting, but also eating out can be quite a process.
Things that are different in China when eating out:
1. Food never comes out at the same time. So you may be eating while everyone is waiting.
2. You have to wave the waiter or waitress down to order, to get your bill, to do anything — They don’t come to check on you.
3. You don’t leave tips. (Hence # 2)
4. They don’t clear any dishes until you are finished and leave the table. This has something to do with status and showing how much you ate and to show what you can afford. — (You can also stay at a table for as long as you want and no one seems to mind.)
5. Many meals/dishes are meant to be shared with the table- more family style.(maybe why #1 occurs)
6. Water is often served warm.
It was almost 4:00 when we left and got off at our metro stop. Daddy wanted to show me a Chinese market that the people at work told him about. Remember the last post when I said walking on a particular street was a little overwhelming to me. Well this took it to a whole new level. Fruit and vegetable stands fine. The raw meet hanging from hooks and the stinky fish(some alive and some not so much), eels, clams, and who know what else, was maybe to much for all of my senses to handle. The flies were happy in there but I wanted to get out of there faster than you could imagine. Although we did buy some of my favorite oranges right by the entrance. They are ugly, wrinkly looking things but they are soo good and easy to peel.
Sunday we woke up without a plan. The joys of no yard/house work or projects- a huge change for us. We also haven’t found a church here in China. They aren’t exactly everywhere if you know what I mean. We took a long Sunday morning walk. We walk a lot and surprisingly R and P don’t really complain. Probably because there is always so much to look at. We found an area that had a number of expat bars and grocery stores about 15 minutes away. We then walked the opposite way to look out at the water.
We took the metro to a different area and it was the first time we were ever on that it was so empty. R thought it was pretty cool to look all the way down at the cars.
By the end of the day I think everyone was exhausted from all of our walking.
On Monday, we had a slow morning. Just hanging out and not on the go. I have noticed though that the girls get pretty antsy to get moving if we haven’t done something by like 9:30. So Daddy and I decided to go for a walk. He wanted to take the ferry across the water, the ferry is one block away from us. As we got close and rounded the corner I suggested we kept walking and try it another time. There were swarms of people. I mean everyone warns you- don’t do these things on holidays, or weekends, but we thought we would see. Instead we walked on by and went towards those tall towers near our place. Surprisingly, it was much quieter that way. We picked out a spot for lunch, the Blue Frog. It has a wide variety of food and is pretty Western, but they had a spot to sit outside and that sounded great. The weather was beautiful all weekend.
I promise I have had lots of Chinese food and have tried foods I wouldn’t normally and even ate food from tiny little restaurants that scare me- I have survived so far. But I am also ready to just eat at home, we have been eating out so often and that is not our normal — if we have normal anymore. The girls are doing excellent at trying new things. R is even asking for rice these days and prefers to have Chinese food, well unless Mac Cheese is an option. She also prefers to say “Cheese Chopsticks” when taking a picture now over her previous “Cheese Fries” smile.
P- She just wants to be as independent as ever and also has learned how to push her sister’s buttons. She also almost had her first trip to the Chinese Hospital. She dove head first off the couch and now has a cute little goose egg.
It was a great 3 day weekend and now I suppose I should head to bed. This week we are signed up for a mommy and me music classes and I am going to the hospital for my Medical Exam- It’s another one of those things I am required to do for my residence permit. I have only heard how awkward the whole experience is from others who have done it.- Can’t Wait! :)