A Series of Unrelated Photos (Part 2)

For Part 1, go here

This blog was left negligently unattended for much of November whilst I diverted myself and my energies with that blasted novella about goats and monsters and such. However, that doesn’t mean I neglected to use the camera on my phone. No, I’m still compulsively intruding on people’s privacy and documenting nearly everything that tickles my fancy, even for the most minor reasons.

For this reason, I am giving you a small photo essay of yet more unrelated photos from November.

First of all, November was grim. After Shanghai Expo 2010 shut down at the end of October, pollution levels somehow skyrocketed. Apparently, on November 14th, the level had reached around 300 on the Awfulness Index. 200, from what I understand, is deemed toxic. The following are pictures taken two days in a row, early in the morning before work, from our living room window, 16 floors above central Shanghai. It’s a wonder I even bothered getting up in the morning.

Despair

Kevin the Panda meets the Bleak Void

Beyond the bleakness and despair of Shanghai’s meteorological badness, I made friends with a few new food groups.

First of all, meet my picnic lunch, gathered from various sources around East China Normal University, where I had to go to observe the teachers in the other half of our program (I’m the entire staff over at Tongji). It’s a beautiful campus, all leafy with ponds and bridges and secret tiny poured concrete picnic tables in hidden places amongst foliage by the ponds.

I decided that health and nutrition were not determining factors in my meal so I went with whatever grabbed me.  It was a friday afternoon, so I chose a lovely beer for my pond side beverage (Asahi being the least awful of the watery choices at Lawson’s). The Hot and Sour Fish Soup crisps just appealed to my curiosity for the implausible. The Jian Bing was there to show it isn’t just for breakfast any more. I am currently running a private campaign to make all three meals plus snacks jian bing friendly.

A fine picnic by the fake pond

While dining on my fine picnic feast, I watched a man feed the fish in the pond.

His pink bag was filled with fish food

In addition the picnic lunches, I also expanded my Oreo cookie repertoire. China, unlike Turkey, sells Oreos. This is a huge perk. Not only do they sell the traditional cookie with the white middle, but also strawberry, peanut butter, chocolate, vanilla ice cream and minty green tea ice cream flavours. At work, in my desk drawer, I am currently working on the green tea ice cream ones. They’ve somehow rigged the chemicals in the filling to have both a slightly green-tea and cool mint flavour.

Minty Green Tea Ice Cream Oreos (at last!)

And finally in the food department, for a bit of mind-fuckery, chewing gum multi packs in flavours you had possibly not anticipated: from what I can gather, they come in lavender, lemon grass and cucumber. Chinese-literate people, please correct me if my guesses are off. This ad is on the wall in the metro and I see it every day, going to and from work. It fascinates me. Mint, strawberry, pink-bubblegum flavours? Ha! Not a chance, you tedious, predictable has-beens!

Flavours may vary

In other news, I would like to present you with one last image:  this is me washing my silks in the manner described by my awesome student. Cold water soaking in the utility sink , just off the kitchen. I’ll be wringing, rinsing and hanging them later today. After I make more coffee. Apparently I am living at least vaguely like the locals. Wooot! Integration!

Washing my delicates authentically

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About MaryAnne

I live in Shanghai. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.