Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A BIT of SUN in WINTER

The past few days have been pretty bleak here in Shanghai. Grey overcast skies and drizzling rain. Days to get things done around the house. So thanks to the depressing weather I am now proud owner of the tidiest drawers and cupboards in the building. Okay, I have no idea if that is true or not, but I am feeling very smug about my accomplishment.

So when I woke this morning and saw a glimpse of sunshine from behind the curtain I knew a nice walk was on the cards. I had a couple of bits to buy, so by taking the long way round I could combine necessity with pleasure, and a bit of much needed exercise too. It was 3c but without wind I knew it would be a pleasant walk.


It was so nice to see first signs of Spring with buds appearing on the plum trees. Traditionally this is the first tree to bud, and with this comes the promise of Spring. It's a few months away, but nice to see a hint of it right outside the doorway.


Around the next corner was evidence that it is still winter despite the sunny skies. The trees are wrapped up keeping them safe from the nasty elements of wind and frosts. This happens all over the city. Must keep many people busy.

So off I set on my way passing very familiar sights. My regular route, which I hadn't taken since I returned before New Year, was still reassuringly familiar. The car wash boys were busy at work. A whole team of guys who never seem short of a car to wash. As they wash them quite literally in my path I often have to detour around them. Today I was very surprised to see them hard at work on a Rolls Royce! A car which is far more common here than you may think. A lot of money around this city.




A stop at my favourite coffee shop, Gloria Jean's for a warming cup of coffee was next up. I like going here because the staff are welcoming and friendly and understand my Mandarin offerings. Although one thing I can do is order my coffee, tea or whatever other drink I am having, I can order the size and state it is for drinking in. I always feel very proud of myself, and it makes me smile knowing I am able to do this. Who would have guessed?


A walk down a side street brings to mind how every day there is something new, something unexpected around every corner. Today it is dried fish hanging up outside a wooden kiosk which sells cigarettes, tobacco, lighters sweets and various other things I'm sure. However no reason I can see for them to be selling dried fish, open to all the elements. These things always amaze and amuse me. They make the city different, at least from anything I have known before.


I then set off to cross the road, my nemesis. Today I don't hear an electric bike approach but to be fair he managed to swerve around me. I then almost have a incident with a car, yes the green man is there, but I guess not having dealt with Shanghai traffic for several weeks I had forgotten what a game of roulette it can be! 
Thankfully I made it across safe and well. Long may this continue!


Last stop local bread shop, Paris Baguette. All I need was some rolls but couldn't resist taking a picture of, well not exactly sure what it was, but basically it was a chocolate cake with chocolate filling encased in a plain cake with a cream filling between the two. To top it off there was a streusel like topping. The lady in front of me was actually buying it. I so wished I could have asked her more about this delicacy. They only sell it in half pieces. Why? No idea. Hope she enjoyed it.


On the last stretch I was delighted to see boxes of delicious strawberries on sale. Yes the strawberry season has arrived in Shanghai. Seems strange to see them so early, have not seen them since last year. It made me smile and tempted me into buying some to enjoy at lunchtime.


All in all it was a nice brisk walk and conformation of how much I love this crazy chaotic city. I look forward to the next few months and to seeing what surprises and challenges they may bring.


PS  The strawberries were every bit a delicious as they had looked. So please I succumbed to the temptation.






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