Now that both J. and I have bikes, it makes getting around Shanghai quick, fun, and death-defying. Her bike is nearly identical to mine, except offering a better seat and handle bars. She bought the bike new for under $100. Cheap. Our bikes are a common Chinese style, so it will be easy to repair them should something go wrong. All over town are bike repair shops. Sometimes it’s an actual storefront with people working on the street. Other times, it’s operated out of a push cart. Just today, we passed a place built into an unused section of construction wall. All repairs are while you wait, cash only.
The weather this weekend was amazingly sunny and mild. Despite having to brainstorm on ideas for work, I was able to go out for an epic bike ride on Saturday. We left about 11AM, and headed north to Luxun Park. The ride was a fast-feeling two hours. The streets were bustling with good weather activity and construction. It’s hard to notice as many details while riding on a bike, but it’s a far more fun way of seeing the city.
Biking through the French Concession.
Sitting chair outside.
Rusted sign along the Wusong.
A wall of textures.
Rusty pipe between buildings.
A finished section of promenade along Wusong Creek.
A view of Pudong from the creek.
The second floor.
Bridge over the Wusong, with someone flying a long kite.
Packed pedestrian bridge on Sichuan shopping road.
J. and her riding cap.
J.’s riding gloves and bell.
Somehow this man’s bike supports the weight of a fridge and a washing machine.
Building and walkway.
Tattered purple awnings.
Man in a truck, dressed in grey.
Dinged up bus.
We arrived at Luxun Park. Outside the main gates, we got a cheap fried egg and bread snack from a street vendor, then Japanese style noodles and rice for lunch. Coffee from the teal mermaid. The park was full of people singing, playing instruments, badminton, soccer, whirling tops, flying kites, strolling, playing cards, playing on amusement rides, bumper boats, and sitting in benches.
J. and I found a patch of grass near the top-whirlers to kick the feather for a satisfying two-hour session. We weren’t perfect, but we didn’t humiliate ourselves either. There was a compact old man having a blast with his tops. He’d fling them around, producing a hypnotic frog-like sound. This man had Grade A white choppers that flashed in the sun when he smiled. The tops seem like a sport for the elderly, a mixture of child’s toy and Tai Qi.
Selling balloons, rabbits, and cotton candy outside the main gates.
Luxun Park waterway.
Battery powered karaoke station.
Man reading the paper.
A boat shaped like a car? OK…
Shoes and the jade water.
Bubbles blown over Luxun lake.
Smelly sidewalk toilet.
River bank repairs.
Me and my bike.
Another bike at sunset.
The crowds on Nanjing pedestrian road.
Wood truck and Pearl Tower.
We headed home before sunset, passing over Wusong Creek and the heart of bustling Nanjing Road. Six hours of physical activity had worked up quite an appetite, so we invited two friends from work to join us for dinner at a Chinese diner.
Dinner was excellent and filling. The four of us had never dined together, but conversation flowed smoothly. Our meal included a noodle soup, two fried vegetables, steamed BBQ buns, two different kinds of steamed dumplings, and some fried noodles. I had hot milk bubble tea to drink. For desert, we had black sesame and egg white pudding, and two massive shaved ice towers coated with mango, beans, and assorted fruits and jellies.
I worked for a little after dinner before feeling sick. For most of the night I felt like I was going to throw up, though I never did. My stomach kept me from sleeping, and I had waves of shivering uncontrollably. I watched some TV from the couch and tried to take my mind off things, but it didn’t work very well. I had two dreams on Saturday night, so I must have slept a little. One dream involved me finding a trapdoor bathroom under the tables of a Mumbai restaurant.
Either I had a weird combination of food, or I got some kind of bug from the meal. Either way, even today my stomach still feels off.
Speaking of food, I’ve been having some pretty awesome food in Shanghai but I never have my camera around to take photos. Here are a few random ones, but they don’t really convey the wide variety of delicious chow I’ve supped:
J. made curry vegetables, purples rice. Black bean bun on the side.
Big goodbye dinner at an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant.
Pork, wrapped asparagus.
Cones of crab.
Three meats, two vegetables, and some fried noodles.
Mango ice tower with balls of mango and watermelon.
Bean ice tower with fruits and tapioca balls. Gross looking, but good tasting.
Today, J. and I met up with a friend from work to kick the feather in a park closer to the apartment. We kicked it for a good two hours, finding it easier in a group of three. At one point, an old Chinese woman joined in and made us all look like amateurs.
It’s time to brainstorm again before catching up on sleep. My stomach still gurgles and churns.
In an unrelated note, here is a page I wrote about Maine Coon cats. Long story.