Friday, April 27, 2012

SHANGHAI SLIM'S

Had a wonderful lunch yesterday at Shanghai Slim's. It was a perfect day, the sun was shining and I was looking forward to meeting some new people, and a lunch club seemed like the perfect place. When I arrived there were already three ladies there. The table was set outside in a lovely courtyard, I could have been anywhere as there was none of the old Shanghai charm, but still a beautiful location. The other ladies introduced themselves, one was an American, an Aussie and the third a Kiwi, so this was truly going to be an international group. The rest of the group arrived, 12 in all and the afternoon began. We were all brought a glass of wine to start off the lunch. A starter of mushroom soup with truffle oil, which was delicious, was served, and in the middle of the table were bowls of salad and warm breads. A nice touch. Another white wine was served. At this point we were told we had to guess which wine, and from where, we were drinking. Hadn't realised there was a competition. Anyway I gave it my best guesses. But by the end of the meal had realised they weren't quite good enough. Obviously some serious wine drinkers here.
As we were being served a red for mains I opted for the filet mingon. Again quite delicious. Realised this was the first red meat I'd eaten since arriving in Shanghai almost a month ago. I did enjoy it.
To finish another white wine and a soft and creamy tiramasu. Didn't like the wine with the pud, but each on there own merits no problem.
Had a wonderful afternoon, although not sure I recommend all that wine in the heat of the day, but as we were under shades it seemed okay. So good food, good company and a few follow ups, beginning with a supper next week with Kathy, the Kiwi, who is going to introduce me to someone who lives in my building. Although initial contact with new groups of people can be intimidating, the thing I always remember is that people are the same all over the world. People you will like, people you may not like and who may not like you, but somewhere there are new friends out there. Just takes a wee bit of effort to search them out. This effort can reap some wonderful rewards, and some life long friendships, which will not suffer from thousands of miles in between.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NEW WOK

My nice new shiny wok where I hope to cook up some delicious chinese meals, although edible will do to start. As the water appears to be off this morning there will be no cooking done today, probably just as well that I have a lunch club meeting at Shanghai Slim's. Never been before but looks good. Only drawback I see is how the maid is going to clean the apartment up for the weekend without water! Whoever thought that would be a problem for me, not me for sure. Life is so different for me here and is taking a little sdjusting to but I'm getting there.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MOVING IN





Hope you enjoy the view from my sitting room window!

TUESDAY
Moved into apartment with six large suitcases, some towels and bedding and enough china and crockery for two of us. Place is furnished, I wish I could say comfortably, but sofa is definitely a case of style over comfort and it is probably the hardest bed I’ve ever slept on, but, as it is only for a stop gap until our own stuff turns up, probably in around 6 weeks. I’m sure I can put up with it.

It's great having an apartment ready and waiting. A couple of trips earlier in the year secured us a 14th floor, 3 bedroomed, 2 bathroomed + study. Really happy with it. Especially the location. Right in the heart of the city.

After everything was dropped off we were taken, by Jack, our driver to do a big shop. Not used to someone opening car doors and sitting waiting for me but I’m going to have to get used to it, as I’m sure I will, as Jack will be my main mode of transport around town.

The shop was a little testing, and for my husband I think best described as traumatic! I was happy wandering around trying to work out what was what, and wondering what I could do with all the wonderful produce on offer. Strange though when you are seeing things which you have no idea, what they are or even what you would do with it. I have a lot to learn here.
However, with 2 overflowing trolleys and it costing about £200 we weren’t complaining. Hate to think what it would have cost at home.


We finished the day off in a restaurant around the corner from us. We were tired, hungary but very happy. It was a Chinese of course. Place was not pretty, but really busy. I was also a bit concerned to see, for the first time, dog on the menu. However, what we ordered was delicious, if a bit hotter than we had eaten previously. This will be a great little local for us, and it is cheap.
Exhausted we fell into bed and at that point realised how uncomfortable it was. Hey ho!

Wednesday.
Holiday here today, Tomb Sweeping Day................
So, for us it was good. A chance to explore the city around our apartment. We were amazed at just how central we were .We began by visiting our local market. Managed to buy bags of fruit and vegetables, very cheaply. The people were amazing and kept asking us to try things. I could see durian fruit on sale, one of the smelliest fruits around. Fortunately was not offered it. Whew!
First attempt a success. I think I’m going to like shopping there. For today I stuck to fruit and veg, decided against any of the live produce on offer. Mainly fish, shellfish, turtles, frogs and chickens. Another day perhaps.
And yes these are live frogs for sale, for food!



Well, another successful day. Tomorrow reality will begin. My first day alone and Robin at work. This is where my new life really begins.

Monday, April 23, 2012

ARRIVED in SHANGHAI



SWFC building, 5 minute walk from apartment. At present tallest building in China.



Saturday 31st March we arrived in Shanghai. The sun was shining and already it felt as if summer had arrived here.

Lots of thoughts were going through my head, as they had been since the decision to come here had been made. What would it be like to live here, how would I cope with the language, which would make even the simplest of tasks difficult? Deep down I knew everything would work out, but I have to keep reminding myself that this visit is not like the other times we were in Shanghai, this time it’s going to be our life for the next few years.

Sunday we had to go and buy a few things for the apartment. It was quite a strange experience. An assistant follows you around the stores, however, unlike at home it is to help you shop, not to check you aren’t stealing things! It is a bit weird, and I guess I will get used to it, but it kind of throws you. I felt I rushed and ended up forgetting a few things. Another trip needed.

Lunch with friends, yes we do have friends here. We lunched with the couple whose wedding we had attended last year. OK so just 2 friends but hopefully those numbers will improve in time.

Monday.
Robin off to work. Breakfast in hotel then off on a solo wander around this part of the city. This is a new area to me, and is close to where our apartment is, we move in tomorrow. That will be a big day. Anyway day didn’t pan out exactly as planned.

First waiter seemed not to have understood breakfast order, although he repeated it to me. Ended up with what was brought, plus what I had ordered. Still not too sure how this happened.
Then ATM wouldn’t pay out money. Don’t know why. Didn’t want to try again in case I lost my card. This is when the language is a huge stumbling block. Although instructions are in English receipt given out isn’t. A little disgruntled I then attempt to cross a very wide road, and although there are lights, there are some vehicles which seem to have right of way against the lights, and bike and motor cycles do as they want! I will have to work on my road crossing skills I think.




By mid afternoon it was already 26c so I returned to hotel, took a shower and nap. I knew that on waking I would feel much better and ready to take on the next challenges, of which I am sure there will be many, that is what I both enjoy and dread about living in a foreign country.

FIRST TRIP


July 2011 saw me on my first trip to Shanghai. My husband had been making regular business trips, but this was to be my first time.

We were going to attend the wedding of a colleague. So it was with great excitement I stepped on to the plane. 11 hours later we touched down in a hot and humid Shanghai. It was still only 9-30 am but the thermometer was hitting high 30's!

A trip to the hotel, a snatched few hours sleep, and it was on our way to the wedding. I had already realised with the humidity I would be fighting a losing battle with my hair, no point in fighting it.

So off we went. My husband resplendent in his kilt, little did we know that this would result in more photographs of him being taken than of the bride and groom. Added to that, a blond with, shall we say ample cleavage, was also a rare sight in this part of the world. Never been photographed so much in my life!
Have a weird feeling I may be on some website somewhere lol

The wedding was fantastic, you can read a full account of it on
http://thecelticcook.blogspot.com/search?q=shanghai+wedding

I was quickly fell in love with the city. People were kind, the place was so alive, full of energy and the energy was rubbing off. At night with the city lit up my love affair with Shanghai was almost complete. I can't really explain it, it just happened.


So now here I am, 8 short months later living my dream. An unexpected offer of a transfer for my husband set the wheels in motion. What was once just a dream was about to become a reality.

Will it live up to the dream? Watch this space.