2006 - October - Day in the Life of Shanghai

Day in the life of crazy Shanghai.  We just got back from Bali where we spent our October National Holiday, a government-created week long holiday to get the notoriously spendthrift Chinese to spend some of their savings.  We welcomed our temporary "ayi" (domestic helper) to wash our clothes and cook dinner.  Good to be back home (still weird to call Shanghai home) where cheap and good domestic help is readily available to do the tedious chores of life. 

After making sure the temporary ayi (temporary because we let our regular ayi go home for the holidays) was properly briefed, we went to the new Le Royal Meridien (killer new hotel in heart of the city) to enjoy dim sum at the promotional price of 89 rmb (around $11) per set menu.  The aquarium archway was quite stunning, and the interior decoration was French-cool.

We walked off the meal by strolling thru People's Square to the Shanghai Art Museum, where the 2006 Shanghai Biennale is being held.  After touring the outside exhibits (3, 4, 22), ML and Kyle left Alan to explore the inside alone (pictures 5-20).  Pic06 is cool because it transposes the competitors' logos and slogans on the two posters.  Pic07 looks like the Rosetta Stone.  It was part of an entire fake archaeological dig - who understands these artists???  See my reflection in Pic09, a hologram created via multiple parallel plates of glass.  Pic10 is the visual representation of zither sounds - supposedly.  Pic11 was the inside of a plastic temple, where the big buddha is made of pills, and all the smaller plastic buddhas are filled with different Chinese medicines. Pic12, 13, 14 are fast looking futuristic vehicles that actually don't move at all.

Check out this exit sign:   This one is pretty good too!

Pic17 is a great statement, showing all the junk China creates pouring out of a truck showing the name of a big port on its side.  Hanging in the beautiful lobby of the museum, Pic18 shows a futuristic pair of robots, one sperm-like male and one flower-like female.  Pic19 shows the female fully open and beaming, literally.  Pic20 is the denouement.

Feeling artistic, I caught a picture of my shadow on a decorative rock in the park.  Not ready to head home yet, I went to the MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, also in People's Park).  Pics 24-29 are some of their more interesting exhibits that I could take a still picture of.  Pic24 explained the theme of Chinese art's influence on Western culture (or vice versa) - a Chinese lantern with big Western company logos (Chevron here).  Pic28 shows Chinese tourists (panda) starting to travel abroad.  Believe it or not, Pic29 is all miniatures.  That whole display shelf is about the size of a 36" LCD screen.

I reveled in the gorgeous day, so rare in Shanghai.  Exploring my artistic side, I snapped pics of the fabulous sky with the fascinating Shanghai skyline as my foreground subjects.  Pics 30, 31, 32 are in the MoCA shooting out. Pics 33-39 are outside, with the JW Marriott building a favorite subject.  Pic36 is of the Radisson, but I tried to make it look like a UFO flying out of the trees.  Pic39 looks like the palm fronds painted the sky.

Feeling guilty for being out alone for so long, I headed home but took the subway to save some money.  I was amused by Okay Coffee - not great or superb but just OK - in the metro.  Finally, Pic41 is the fountain outside the Jing'An station, near where we live.

At home, we enjoyed the ayi's home-cooked meal with our live-in friend JMX.  Eric came over and I taught everyone a complicated Chinese card game (called 80 or Tractor).  ML put Kyle to bed after an hour of play, so Eric, JMX and I played Texas Hold'em.  I finally went to sleep at 1am, still buzzing from the adrenaline of poker.


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