Tuesday, September 6, 2011

These guys fishing for cuttbow?

Walked to a Doctor's appt after school today and saw these dudes fishing.  If you look you can see the length of the left hand fellows 15'+ pole is nothing to shake a stick at.  Not sure what they were pulling out of there, and not sure that I'd like to eat it, but I do wish I brought my fly gear.  Equally interesting is the "wet market" directly accross the street from the river here sells all type of vegies and meats out on the outdoor venues.  The seafood section is the most interesting with more fish than a pet store and frogs, turtles, eels, funky snails, clams, and crustaceans galore.  I wonder if these dudes just walk their catch accross the street.  On the back side of the wet market is a row of about 20 noodle shops.  They just throw open the steel rolling door each morning and begin cooking.  The whole block is alive with aromas as the day progesses.  This is directly accross the street from the school.  The food is cooked both in and out of doors.  As evening rolls around the places start filling up and by dark it is alive with all ages  running around.  Everyone seems to be eating and there is plenty of food on the bar-b-que all evening long.  Little kids run around and grandmas and grandpas sit in chairs watching. All taking place on the sidewalk.  One shop will have noodles, another, rice, all with plenty of veggies and fixins' then the next shop they'll be remodeling with some type of gypsum and tile.  It's all closed and cleaned when I go to school in the morning and all back up and running by afternoon.  I keep thinking we live in a small town, (Zhudi Town) but after all, it is part of Shanghai and the bigillion folk that live all over the place.

Josephine had a play date with her friend Emma.  Bridget and I went to get her about 6:30 in the evening.  We grabbed a rickshaw - an electric powered bicycle with room for two in the back.  This has become our favorite means of transportation.  About 75 cents for a ride down JinFeng Road dodging traffic is well worth it.

By the way - this is what traffic is like on JinFeng Lu.  If you've ever skiied down Cranmer (or similar main artery blue run) at about 3:10 where skiiers and borders are everywhere and you're very aware cause there just is this flow of everyone going a different speed and trying not to get hit.  That is what traffic is like on JinFeng Lu.  There are big old cement trucks, minivans, sedans, motorcycles, and tons of electric bycicles, scooters, and manual bicycles.  All of them going their own speed and all of them using their own interpretation of what exactly a red light means...because it sure the hell doesn't mean stop.  People execute turns and THEN manuver around whoever is in the way.  You just need to keep your eyes open.

Bridget and Quinn got out of this electric bike the other day with bug eyes after crossing 4 lanes of traffic  in both directions by Methusala-esque pilot.

Anyhow, Bridget and I take the rickshaw to Forrest Manor which is a gated community of very large houses and the security guards won't let the bicyle on the grounds.  So we have to walk at the gate.  It is getting dark as we start looking for unit 2-136.  Within 20 minutes it is pitch black and we can't find a darn thing.  These roads wind and wind and the houses look larger and darker and darker and you can only find the address if you squint from 2 inches at the mailbox.  The signs are misleading but we finally find the house.  Once in, it is a lovely house decorated with Emma's grandfather's modern art work.  The family is from Denmark.  We grab Josephine and embark on the journey home.  Covered a few miles by foot as well as electric bicycle taxi that night.

We didn't get home until 8:45 but just in time to open the wonderful care package from Auntie Mari and Uncle Art. Lots of joy to be had - almost Christmas time.  Lots of Grand Lake goodies as well as plenty of items we've not been able to find in China.  What a great punctuation to a long day and and long week.

Bridget ran into a gal Marlene Hesse from Lone tree last week.  She and her husband Jim had just moved to Shanghai one month ago.  The have two daughters in 5th and 9th grade.  Small world.  They live about 20 minutes away and had us over for dinner last Saturday night.  He is a business man and is working on a number of projects.  One of the more interesting ones is with the Russian brothers from Daz Bog Coffee.  The idea comes from a US immigration law that allows access to a green card if you have a pre set business model with proven results.  Thus the move is to set up a few - not a lot - of Daz Bog coffee shops in Shanghai as a marketing tool to express to a motivated Chinese entrepreneur that if you like this coffee shop and you think you could run one in the US, you can get set up in a franchise and move your family to the US.  It helps Daz Bog find motivated owners of their franchise.

Land of Opportunity
It made me think about how relative the "land of opportunity" is.  Jim was promoting the idea that there are plenty of Chinese who would be interested in moving their family to the US where they would have access to a better life - run a business (Daz Bog?), have their children learn proper English, and have the opportunity to go to an American University.

On the other hand, I work with some teachers (a married couple) - good teachers - who are here because they were struggling to land decent jobs in the US with a strong administration and paycheck.  They come to Shanghai where they are paid very well as a teacher, can send their kids to a great private school and have opportunities they struggled to get back home.

September 16th 2011 marks the 99th year and the beginning of the celebration year of the first century of Shanghai American School.  It also marks Chris Rieber's and my 45th birthday.


jenn Matuschek said...

Hi! Thanks for the awesome post! i loved the analogy to Cramner, or any other blue run at the end of the day that is funneling skiers down the mountain!

And great observations on the meaning of the 'land of opportunity'. Really, it is all in one's perspective, is it not? So glad to see that while you all are cruising along on this adventure the universe has brought you on, that you are observing and reacting to your environment and the people....so cool.
love ya,
Aunt Jenn
PS Josephine is still there, isn't she? I haven't seen her on Skype for a month:(

Joan said...

I just love your observations. I can smell the food and almost taste it. You guys are so lucky to have this experience.

Anonymous said...

It's so much fun to read your stories and hear all about what is going on there!!! We miss you and can't wait to hear more!! Lara