Meat and Mops- My Parents’ Journey to Qibao

Am considering adopting this as my motto


So we went to Qibao yesterday, our first grand excursion in a week or so, as I’d been busy with stupid school stuff and having my jaw sledge-hammered, and my mother was battling her semi-inevitable post-flight cold.

Doug and I had gone there about two years ago when we first moved to Shanghai, back when we used to go out and explore on weekends. Now we mostly base our weekend schedules around eating, drinking and being horizontal. Of course, we tend to walk great distances to get to the food and drink (and thus are not 100kg each) but the wandering is a bit less compulsively curious.  It was good to get out and see the city through unjaded eyes.

The last time we went, line 9 hadn’t opened yet so we took a taxi there. This time, we just walked down to the Jiashan lu metro stop at the bottom of our street and emerged a half dozen stops later opposite the giant billboard advertising the Ancient Water Town ™.  I appreciated not having to go anywhere near a freeway in a taxi.

It was slightly less crowded this time, though not by much. The previous visit had been on a weekend in springtime and the hordes, oh the hordes were brutal.  Here are the photos  from that visit that I had uploaded to a Facebook album. The narrow lane ways were still packed but at least there was some leeway this time. My parents were brave and happily ate all sorts of unidentifiable street food I thrust at them. I took a lot of photos. Mops predominated. Let me show you some.

First of all, here are the brave little soldiers standing on the bridge over the canal, having just braved the insanely crowded, narrow entry lane.


Bracing themselves for the further onslaught of hordes


And here are the mops I promised you, with just a hint of drying fish and laundry.


Drying fish, drying mop


3 mops on an orange wall


Sunshine falling on mop and laundry


Of mops and men


And there was the inevitable public display of laundry.


Banging your head on low hanging laundry


And there were children, practising their lone English vocabulary word.


Hello hello hello hello hello hello


If you go far to the back of the neighbourhood, away from the crowded, touristy food streets, it gets quieter.


Oh, where did the hordes go?


There’s a church! And a new year’s poster with Santa!


1 Cathedral, 2 stone lions and someone’s laundry


Snow melting in alleyway, many droplets falling


Wet alley and unlit lanterns


Shanghai has many canals


We ate a lot of things, from the inevitable soup-filled xiao long bao in a styrofoam container (10 rmb) to a spicy stuffed fried bread that was hacked into bits and thrown into a baggie (3rmb) to those odd jus filled meatballs in paper tubs of spicy red-oil-dotted broth (6 for 10rmb) to skewers of mystery meat brushed with cumin and chili (3 big ones for 10rmb, possibly something seafoody but I didn’t recognize the name the grill dude told me).

These are the grill dudes.

I don’t have any photos of the other things we ate because I was too busy eating them. At least here, I had to wait 5 minutes for the mystery meat to cook.


Mystery meat from men of mystery


And there was some lovely light. The sun was shining quite nicely. The snow was nearly melted.


Pretty light on a construction/demolition site


Wall and light and tiles


And I saw some rope that looked cool.


Various knots under a flatbed tricycle


Oh, and I met a relative of Gerald’s! Very exciting.


Arthur, Gerald’s second cousin twice removed, wears plastic bag booties


And after a few hours of wandering around, battling hordes, stuffing our faces and stalking mops, we walked back to the metro and went home (via a not-too-quick detour to Metro hypermarket in Pudong for cheap coffee which was sadly out of stock), tired but happy. It was just like an Enid Blyton novel, except without the dog.

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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog’s title) but I left in 2013. 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.