How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


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Shanghai: Day 12, Part 1 – Flight to Wuhan

We had a leisurely breakfast with nothing on the schedule for the morning. Although a five-star, our hotel was situated too far from the Bund and the waterfront attractions for wandering around on our own.

Sue walked around the neighborhood and bought a pair of shoes. RJ and his wife went out and explored as well. Lots of real life to discover behind the scenes after all. I stayed behind, caught up on e-mail and repacked my suitcase, which had become heavier.

The poor live on one side of the street and the better off on the other:

As we traveled by bus to our lunch destination, I caught sight of a duo hanging off a skyscraper washing windows. You read that correctly: no scaffolding only a rope to secure them from falling as they swung in the wind. What kind of Health and Safety rules are there for workers I wondered?

Chinese saying:

Red lights are a suggestion; crosswalks are just a decoration.

Crosswalks and lights are ignored and no-one is ticketed for not stopping for pedestrians. Jaywalkers cross in the middle of traffic or at crosswalks, proceeding no matter what the suggestion or decoration. Two hundred people are killed a day in China due to traffic accidents.

Quick Facts:

  • Population in China: 1.3 billion
  • Beijing: 20 million (capital)
  • Shanghai: 23 million

We arrived too early for lunch at a moored ship—Sea Palace Floating Restaurant—and were the only patrons. The waitress might have put on a less stern face. She led us to a table where we waited longer than usual for our meal. Until this occurrence, once seated the food arrived within minutes. I looked around, we chatted and took advantage of the Happy House.

All tables had seating for ten. Down the length of the ship, I counted 10 tables in each row, times four rows across. As we finished eating, I noticed the restaurant had begun to fill up in earnest.

Lunch:

  • Baby bok choy
  • Breaded white fish
  • Chicken with green and red peppers
  • Onions and pineapple
  • Mystery soup
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Beef with red and green peppers and onions
  • Sweet and sour chicken with red and green peppers
  • Curried chicken and potatoes with red and green peppers White rice
  • Watermelon slices

When  food is left over, we wondered more than once what’s done with the remains. Were they thrown out like in North America? I’d always been under the impression that the Chinese wasted nothing.

After lunch we drove to Shanghai Pudong International Airport to catch China Southern, a domestic flight at 15:55. According to our trip schedule, this was supposed to have been a morning flight. Check-in was smooth this time. None in our group were pulled over for additional security check(s).

WiFi and a charging station stared at me at our boarding area. I tried to logon to the internet but couldn’t switch from Chinese to English, the only language greyed out in the list. I wanted to check if my daughter had answered the morning’s e-mail. This ticked me off a bit: handy but untouchable with 55 minutes to kill before boarding for a two-hour flight.

 ~ * ~

A Special Treat:

 RJ continues to share photos. His wife Bonnie sent me this link. Prepare to be mesmerized. Make sure you have your heart medicine handy. Grab a drink and put your feet up.

~ * ~

Next on November 28, Wuhan, Day 12, Part 2 – Cruise Ship

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


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100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups – Week #155

Come join the fun; click below for instructions:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week155/

This week’s prompt:  … READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! … + 100 words

100wcgu-72

ROCKET MAN

Sydney stared at his news-printed hands and pant knees. Palms half-way to his lap, he froze. Rising from the floor with a loud sigh, he headed to the kitchen sink. Hands scrubbed, he grit his teeth and pulled on an earlobe, a habit from childhood when trouble brewed. “Dang-blasted contraption.”

The front door slammed and shoes clattered on the hardwood. Mabel’s nose poked around the hallway corner ahead of her. “Easy-peasy, right?” Her chin and smile wobbled.

Red-faced, Sydney held up the extraneous parts, his comb-over slipping.

“It’s a steam mop, not a rocket ship. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!”

When have they made sense?

 

© 2014 TAK


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Shanghai: Day 11, Part 6 – Dinner and a Show

When we arrived at the hotel for dinner, a clamor for the small elevator ensued. We had eight bodies crammed into this inadequate space, but something wasn’t right. Someone piped up Sue was missing. The rest of us continued on the restaurant (7th floor stop), and Jackie returned to street level to find her. At the last minute, Sue had decided to change her shoes on the bus and hadn’t noticed we’d all left.

DINNER:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Tomato and egg drop soup
  • Noodles (delicious, cannot guess flavour)
  • Potatoes with chicken in dark sauce
  • Sweet and sour chicken balls with red and green peppers
  • Eggplant in some kind of sauce
  • Breaded fish
  • Thin, pizza-flavoured crescent biscuits
  • Baby Bok-choy
  • Cut up orange for dessert

(Can you believe I hadn’t taken a picture. Yes, I’m surprised as well.)

Dinner finished by 5:45 p.m. but the bus wasn’t due until 7:00 to take the group to The Plaza at Shanghai Center Theater (10 minutes away) for the 7:30 Acrobatics Show. Sue and I took our time walking up and down Nanjing Road West, as well as some side streets to kill time (the opposite direction of our afternoon shopping).

We came across a shop named I Found guessing this might be a second-hand store, but didn’t enter to investigate. I don’t know if they have used clothing stores in China. Why wouldn’t they?

I can’t recall if this was some kind of educational building / center we passed. Railings surrounded it about every six feet alternated with six or eight feet of brick wall. In the railing, which looked like a gate, tiny 3-inch flower pots had been packed in tight, row on row, between the railing up, down and across. What a stunning presentation. I’ve never seen flowers grow perpendicularly.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Bone weary and foot-swollen, too long on our feet for one day, we stumbled back to the hotel to meet the rest of our group. Already it was dark. I mentioned to Jackie, our guide, I hadn’t noticed gas stink or big city smell from the many cars on the busy road–no smell of pollution at all. “See,” he said, “you can’t believe everything you hear.” The statement sounded defensive. Hmm.

The Plaza at Shanghai Center Theater is an impressive building. Masses of buses and hordes of people surged forward well and without incident. The numbers were mind-boggling. We were one of umpteen tour groups in attendance. I asked Jackie how often the theatre had a show. Every night tourists crammed the 990-seat theater to the rafters. How many tours, I wondered, visit on an constant basis?

Images Plaza at Shanghai Theater:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=images,+the+plaza+at+shanghai+center+theater&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=WDVdVIXJHoqtyASqmIBo&ved=0CBwQsAQ

We had first balcony, first row, center seats. Fabulous. Someone asked Jackie about the cost of the tickets. Depending on the seating, between $56.00 to $116.00 Canadian per person, he said.

The 90-minute show consisted of an astounding dozen acts. Other than Cirque de Soleil, you’ll never see such fluid, seemingly effortless movement, amazing costumes and attractive performers. Among them:

  • A young lady in a giant hoola performing graceful moves inside them:
© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

  • Unicyclists
  • Jumping through hoops (See YouTube below)

  • A wordless comedy sketch
  • A grown male and a young boy, supposed, toys did awesome contortions, again fluid and dazzling. Control of movement and upper body strength were the major players. (See YouTube below)

  • Female (sea nymphs) performed underwater dances. Talk about smooth as liquid pouring into your glass
  • A mature woman wearing a top with tight lace sleeves closed the show flicking card hands all over the stage and into the audience. Her set closed when she tossed multitudes of oversized playing cards onto the stage. On and on. Where had they been hidden? How did she do that?

The Bund in the distance, as seen on the way back to the hotel:

Special note:

I’ve written we saw no pollution. Check out this blog. This lady has been living in Beijing for some time. Her story is a little different from mine. Maybe we simply lucked out and missed those bad days.

http://herschelian.wordpress.com/

~ * ~

Next on November 21: Shanghai, Day 12, Part 1 – Flight to Wuchan

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


72 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups – Week #154

Check this out to join:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/100-word-challenge-week154/

The prompt this week is … Remember … + 100 words

100wcgu-72

THE MARCH

Among the captured soldiers, Stefan raised his chin, elbows thrust wide. In front, Henio, hands on head likewise, relaxed his elbows forward. The butt of a rifle slammed his shoulder. His hand slid to an ear. The firearm discharged like a cannon; he soared into the air.

“You—move!”

Face and uniform slimed and splattered red, Stefan grit his teeth and stumbled. I will not mark my trousers. He blinked fast and swallowed. Remember me, wife. I’m sorry.

The captives trudged through the giant electrified gate.

A rifle barrel jabbed his neck. “You, right. You, left.”

Bless me Father.

“Move. Now.”


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Shanghai, Day 11, Part 5 – Nanjing Road Shopping and Stories

Tummies full, we left the restaurant around 12:45 and the weather had become humid.

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/shanghai/west-nanjing-road.htm (what’s on offer)

The shopping is pedestrian-friendly  with an occasional trolley / mini tour bus. Prominent other than McDonalds and Haagen-Daaz, were expensive big label stores. I wondered how the young couples afforded their clutched brand-named shopping bags.

The English Group 8 turned down (yet another) museum tour which added more (boring) shopping time. This time Sue and I struck out together. Four hours to kill. My poor aching feet.

On a shabby side street a couple of blocks from Nanjing Road, I bought a bottle of Dynasty wine in a grocery / variety store ($10.00 CAD / $8.00 USD). Not one corkscrew was in stock. I borrowed from Sue as I had siphoned all the cash out of my wallet for the silk-filled comforter and pillow before lunch.

If we needed the Happy House, Jackie advised any large hotel would accommodate us. Our choice was the Sofitel Hotel where, upon entering, we found ourselves facing a security guard. Nervous, but avoiding eye-contact, these fine western ladies strutted in as if we belonged and ended up (confused) on the garage level. Ph-ew the gas fumes.

Sue spotted a glass elevator. A tall Caucasian man, briefcase clutched, got on behind us. He had come from Michigan on business eight years before and considered himself a local now, his return to the U.S. doubtful. He pointed us to the closes ladies’ washroom.

Shopping Nanjing Road  (pictures galore)

Out on the street again, Sue spied a Haagen-Daaz restaurant. The timing couldn’t have been better for a good sit with ice-cream. We entered with Sue in the lead. A waitress stopped me at the door and said wrong way. The lineup at the opposite end of the restaurant was where we must enter. Oh? Back out to the sidewalk and the other door we trotted to join hordes of others. It didn’t take long, though, before we were seated.

We waited—and waited some more. Three young girls who’d arrived after us had already been given menus. We waited. With the earlier rush over, I chalked this up to bad service. We wondered about foreigner abuse, as well. A girl finally came bearing water glasses containing lemon wedges and menus. We didn’t touch the water.

At length, a waitress toddled over and took our order. One scoop of ice cream (chocolate with pralines) cost 33 Yuan each ($5.50 USD). We waited and waited for our order to arrive, but I didn’t mind. It was a relief to take a load off and sit.

Our bill took forever to come. I wondered why not go up to the cash with our dish to show what we’d ordered and pay. At home we’d have done this no problem, but Sue, usually brave about most things, wasn’t comfortable doing so. In the end, we did so anyway, but the cashier appeared frazzled. His rhythm had been broken and he made us wait. Again. I now owed Sue 83 Yuan, (not quite $14.00 US).

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Two things I noticed while we window-shopped. Beggars were uncommon. We had been discouraged from interacting with them. I noticed only two: one a disfigured man shortly after the bus dropped us off; the second, a miserable old man who shook a rusty tin can in our faces wanting a donation while we sat in a park. He rattled the meagre contents however we ignored him. He scowled and moved on, but sneered over his shoulder. I hoped he hadn’t put a curse on us.

Except for few citizens over the age of 40 or 50, most everyone on the street appeared to be under 25 or 30.
~ * ~

Next on November 14th, Shanghai, Day 11, Part 6 – Dinner and a Show

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


91 Comments

Story in a Flash

THE SHACK

Swollen blueberries begged to be plucked only in sporadic patches. Soon Rita stripped all the fruit and wandered away from the railroad tracks in search of more. Birds twittered over each other and heat bugs whirled and clicked fast and loud as if anxious, and stopped—dead quiet. Stilled a moment, they began again. Craving quiet time, Rita had chosen to go picking on her own for the first time. She gazed about the perfect August morning: the sun edged higher,  cloud-stripped, the sky expanded. No humidity pressed against her.

Credit: Microsoft Clipart

Credit: Microsoft Clipart

A magnetic energy pulled her further. Stones and twigs crunched beneath her runners. Tall grass tickled her bare legs. She didn’t give her car a second thought. Amongst the trees, an extraordinary mirage emerged. Streaked crimson ponytail stock-still, Rita crept forward. Charming. Is it real? Her eyes squinted and rounded without her consent. In a compact clearing surrounded by a thicket of trees an enormous barrel lay on its side: weather-beaten and sun-bleached, but solid. She breathed in the fragrant scent of ferns even though the enormous tamarack and stately birch obscured the sun. A smaller than average door graced the barrel’s upright lid. On top, a rusted chimney pipe stuck out like a tired blossom stuck into a hat.

Head tilted, Rita circled the structure and listened. She discovered windows on either side, but too high to peek inside. In the back a drowsy vegetable garden snoozed, plants stretching towards the sun.

Am I dreaming? Rita halted and waited, but for what? Swallowing hard, she gripped her half-filled basket, sidled up to the door and knocked as if afraid to disturb the occupant.

“Hello, is anybody there?” No answer. She waited a beat, turned the knob and peaked inside. Wow—Ohmygawd.

She stepped inside, up onto the wide-planked floor. A shelf-like bed hung supported by chains beneath one window, a thin pillow and blanket in place. Beneath the other window, pressed to the wall and on its side, a large cable spool gleamed in the sunlight. A Tale of Two Cities lay open and face down on top. Impressive. Two thick tree stumps, well sanded, had been hallowed out like club chairs. Against the inside lid at the back of the barrel, hung row upon row of floor-to-ceiling shelving. An assortment of mismatched plates, chipped pots and pans, tattered books, colored stones and woven-grass baskets populated the long planks of wood. A scarred pot-bellied wood-stove stood guard over the humble room, its chimney pipe cold and crooked as a one-legged spider.

“I’m lost and hallucinating.” Rita peered right and left and back once more. The logical thing is to sit and wait. “Whoever lives here must come back—sometime.” She munched on her berries, eyes heavy, and climbed onto the bed. Maybe a nap…

* * *

A dark silhouette crossed to the bed with the stillness of a ghost. “Hmm.” A Cheshire smile widened, eyes hooded and akin to a Black Widow with a fly.

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