Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I went on a picnic last Saturday with my colleagues and students and am getting ready to post some pictures from the day...

Yes, I see the sweat stains on the birds hat and no, my washer is not broken. But this is a special hat. You know those hats that light-up along the borders of the logo? The ones you would never wear around South Philly? Yes, this is one of those hats. My dad threw it in my bag before I left to come back to Shanghai which I originally thought was nice of him. It's got a bunch of circuits on the inside so I can’t wash it. Hence, the line of salt around the Eagles logo.

Second, the picnic was a lot of fun. We grilled chicken wings, corn on the cob and steamed bread. No burgers anywhere in sight. My colleague Laura and I lucked out when we found a small hut selling beers for 75 cents. That's one of the things I love about this place - is there a spot in America where children are around and you can still buy beers there, let alone for less than a dollar a can? Later, it rained for the 15th day in a row and we had to seek shelter in a shack along with some people who were having their wedding pictures taken. But they were pretty cool and we hung out together, waiting for the storm to pass.


I didn't get to watch the Eagles game last week but, from reading the articles and box score, it looks like the D ran wild. Nice.

Next Monday morning, I should get to watch my first live Eagles game in about a year and it couldn't come at a better time....watching them smoke the Bears in Chicago! It's also the first day of the second biggest holiday here...a week long celebration of the founding of the PRC in 1949.

My second trip into China with a girl named Rachel...

China Trip #4

This Rachel and I met three years ago, while we were in the security line at Midway, heading home for Christmas. She was in Chicago on business, heading home to Providence. Since then, we’ve stayed in touch and I would see her a couple times a year when she visited me and her cousin in Chicago or had business there.

She is coming to visit next week so we're taking a trip. Rachel’s one request was that hiking be involved somehow and my only request was that we not go to the Great Wall. So, we’re taking a trip to the Jiangxi province, which is about as far from Shanghai as Chicago is from Philly.

From Shanghai, we’ll fly to a town called Nanchang, then catch a bus to Lu Shan, were we’ll do some hiking. From Lu Shan it's onto Wuyuan, which is known for its scenery and architecture. The last leg of the trip takes us to Hangzhou and then Shanghai. The best part is we’re going to cover all that ground in about five or six days. Needless to say, I am stoked!

Two on one

Well, it finally happened – my first two on one fist fight. I was walking down the street the other day with my friend Susan. We noticed these two guys ahead of us to our left, but didn’t think much of them until one of them forearmed her in the face. After that, I sort of lost it and, well….someone was filming…..

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The 130-year storm

Or, at least that's what the papers were calling it.

On August 25, Shanghai got hit with what has been called a 130-year storm. It’s the most rain they’ve gotten in a two-hour period in over 130 years. It wasn’t the most violent storm I’ve been around because there wasn’t much wind, but I have to admit it was impressive. The thunder woke me up at 6:30 and I stared out the window for another hour, watching the lightning and thunder.

This went on basically non-stop for an hour. If I wasn’t so tired, I probably would have done more than take pictures of our alleyway.


The other pictures from the latest slideshow are random and some are from a ferry ride I took last week across the Huangpu River. I had been wanting to check out the Yangpu Bridge for a long time and finally got the chance last week on a beautiful day.


(Also, I ended up watching the Eagles game on Tuesday night with a Cowboys fan, a Giants fan, and a Redskins fan. I know that sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it really happened. The NFC East's finest along with the other three teams - there we were at the Big Bamboo. The Giants fan was from Canada and didn't really care who won, but the Redskins fan was pulling for the Birds. He was getting on my nerves though because he knew the outcome of the game but was cheering anyway - bizarre. Obviously I was disappointed, but I have to admit it was a terrific game. And after watching, it's tough not to expect big things from the Birds this season.)

Pics from the 130-year storm, the Yangpu bridge, and my nose

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nose hair

– I’ve never trimmed my nose hairs. Am I the only one in this category? It drives my sister nuts. That’s part of the reason I’ve never cut them. The other part is you need all the filter you can get here. Just about every night, I come home, scratch the inside of my nose and the tips of my fingers are grey.

It’s almost at the point where I’m thinking about wearing one of those masks, the ones that make you look like you’re going into 9-hour open heart surgery. I always thought they looked menacing but anything beats snorting brown-grey dust. Greta made a comment that she didn’t notice what a clear day was like until she went back to Chicago and now I see what she means. There really aren’t many clear days here. Don’t get me wrong, it gets sunny, but not super clear.

I think one of the reasons men live shorter is pride (or stupidity). Women are not afraid to rock the surgery masks because of the dust and, on sunny days, they carry umbrellas. Don’t get me wrong. I wear hats when it gets sunny here, especially since I’m going bald, but I can’t bring myself to carry an umbrella unless it's raining. Women here, on the other hand, must carry umbrellas everyday - rain or shine. In my next slide show, I'll throw some pictures in to show you what I mean.


I get homesick at some of the oddest times around here. Like, I could be in the middle of an English class and teach the phrase “sarcastic” and miss Philly. Or, for no reason at all, I’m just riding my bike home and miss riding my bike around the neighborhood.

But the last few weeks have been especially tough. First, it was my family being down the shore, then it was Phillies-Cubs, and now it’s the start of the football season. Maybe Shanghai’s mayor is a Bears’ fan and he’s got to have his Bears no matter what time they play. Or maybe every Sunday night game will be broadcast live here. In either case, I’m all set for Eagles-Bears in a couple weeks because last Monday I woke up to Bears-Colts LIVE.

But Monday night is different. The games come on Tuesday morning and I did not see the Packers or Raiders on any of the local channels. For Eagles-Boys, it looks like the best I can do is watch it Tuesday night at a bar called the Big Bamboo (same place I watched the Super Bowl).

As we speak, I'm tracking the Eagles on the internet as they're up 30-24. At halftime, I'll stop tracking it and hold-out until tonight at 10pm when the game comes on at Bamboo. Something tells me not finding out the score around here should be pretty easy.