Monday, September 28, 2009

Resident Artist

The school's art department does a fashion show each year and this year the students are supposed to use recyclable materials. Our dorm student, Jaruwat, is designing an entire outfit out of cardboard juice & milk boxes. He brought home part of his masterpiece last weekend ... I was pretty impressed! He's now working on pants or a skirt, plus a hat and a logo and just found out that he will be on the cover of the school's art publication which is something he'd really been hoping for. Props to Jaruwat for his creativity & hard work!

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Little Venice?

Shanghai has had many pleasant surprises for us ... one is that it is laced with canals and there are several traditional water villages within fairly easy reach. Friday, we decided to hop on the Metro and take a spontaneous trip to this one, Qibao. We had very little time there, but absolutely loved it and are looking forward to heading back when we have more than 45 minutes to explore!

After getting off the Metro, we had no idea where to go to find the actual water village ... we didn't have a map of the area and just started wandering in what seemed like the right direction. After a few blocks, we found this and figured we were getting close!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Walk on the Bund

The area of Shanghai that sits right along the river is simply called the Bund and contains a very cool collection of old banking houses built in Renaissance, Gothic, Victorian styles. They were built between the years of 1881 - 1942.

I snagged this picture (below) of a large mural in the lobby of the former HSBC building of what it looked like in its heyday. Pretty cool.

Today, the buildings are still there, but there is a ton more traffic and far fewer boats ... plus in preparation for the Expo which will be here in May, the entire region is under construction/renovation.

With the help of our (embarassing) guide book, we found an awesome cafe located in one of the buildings and had a quick bite to eat. The views from the cafe were great!

Outside some Chinese tourists had us take their picture, then insisted on returning the favor while they rattled off every song lyric and city they new that had anything to do with California (they'd asked where we were from). It was pretty cute. These lions are very old and somewhat famous. We aren't 100% sure why except for one story we heard that they were stolen by the Japanese at one point, then recovered by the US during WWII and returned to China.

And ... the official "bird" of Shanghai - the crane! These are everywhere!

Signs of reconstruction for the Expo.

And right around the corner, housing that appears to be in the process of being torn down to make room for all the new construction. I was appalled to see laundry hanging from the lower region, knowing its a sign that this building is still a home to somebody, and from the looks of the clothing, at least one child.

In yet another contrast, right around another corner was this lovely park.

Some fishmen in training! (Yes! They are fishing for goldfish!) And a young man with quite the tail of hair already started!

One final treat for the day was stumbling upon this beautiful church

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our own date

While on our "day-off" time last Sunday we decided to visit the Shanghai Propaganda Art Museum after church. On our way there we stumbled across a delightful cafe and enjoyed some coffee that seemed too pretty to drink!

Some of the cute streets we wandered across.

In contrast, and enormous villa and park just a block away.

And, finally arriving in the small, but extremely memorable Shanghai Propoganda Art Museum ... a collection of many original and fairly disturbing posters. Some proclaiming Mao Se Dung as a hero and savior to China, others cheering on anyone who opposed the U.S. and many others.

It wouldn't be China without a few random sightings ...

We came around a corner and I noticed that something smelled like watermelon ... it was in fact many, sadly crushed in the street after a tumble from their truck.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Date with Eight

On Saturday night, we had our first monthly weekend outing with our kids. They'd chosen to go go-karting (spelled with a "k" here) and out to dinner afterwards. What could be a typical American date-night. Although, most people don't take 6 teenagers with them on their dates! We only had 6 out of our 9 students which was really nice for our first activity with them. Everything went really well ... with the exception of one of our students ordering an alcoholic beverage to drink with dinner and then later trying to set her entire napkin on fire at the table!

Our chariot awaits (how many people get to go to date night in a school bus?):

Nuttanicha (from Thailand) and Michelle (from Italy)

Coco (from Hong Kong) and Jaruwat (from Thailand)

Ready to drive!

Nuttanicha, Michelle, Nuttanutcha (twin sister of Nuttanicha, from Thailand), Jaruwat & Jeff (from Hong Kong)

Students chose to eat at Element Fresh which Jaruwat had been talking about basically since the first week (he loves it!). It was in fact quite delicious!

A little carousing before hopping back onto the school bus and heading home ...