Category Archives: China

I had the wonderful experience of interning at Herbert Software Solutions Inc in Shanghai in January and February 2010. During that time, I explored Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, and Suzhou.

Dada = Bar + Movie Theater

I read on Shanghai Expat that Dada, a bar in Pu Xi, had a movie night featuring The Mack, a 1973 American “blaxploitation” film. Expecting a theater, I was surprised to arrive at a low-key bar in an alley with more »

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Old City Antiques

These markets have a liberal definition of the word “antique,” ranging from authentic red Mao soldier books to items made last year.

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Shanghai Considers the Blind

I took this picture close to where I work at the World Plaza in Pudong. Look closely to discern the strip of patterned sidewalk that bypasses the manhole on the left. At first, I thought that this line of bumpy more »

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Wusong Estuary

Wusong is a port town in the Baoshan District of Shanghai where the Huangpu tributary flows into the Yangtze River. Ken and Aili, along with their friend from Wusong, brought me along to a waterside park in Wusong that preserves more »

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Herbert Engineering Corporation

Herbert Engineering Corporation (HEC) is a reputable ship design company with offices in Alameda, Annapolis, and Shanghai. Its primary expertise is in naval architecture consulting for ship conversions and commercial new-builds. I work for HEC’s subsidiary, Herbert Software Systems Inc more »

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Sichuan Food

The metropolis is famous for several distinct cuisines, some purely from their respective provinces, others fashionably blended by the city’s demand for extravagance. When you say “spicy” in Shanghai, the automatic response word is “Szechuan,” or “Sichuan,” a province reputed more »

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Purchasing an Erhu – Part IV

Meet my favorite erhu dealer, plucking a no-name erhu in the corner, and his somewhat English-speaking crony ready to tell me only what I want to hear about every instrument on the racks. I cannot tell you how relieved I more »

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Open Mike at Oscar's Pub

I’ve only visited Oscar’s Pub three times but am already addicted to their Wednesday night open mikes. A slew of diverse players crowded the place tonight, from country musicians to blues makers. The house band, TJP (Tom-Jerry-Paul), is my favorite more »

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Pu Jersey

The Huangpu River bifurcates the metropolis into Puxi and Pudong (“xi” means west and “dong” means east). I live in Pu Dong, or Pu Jersey as the expats on the other more eventful side call it.  In the 1990’s, the more »

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Purchasing an Erhu – Part III

VIDEO Little Girl Playing Erhu – Part I Little Girl Playing Erhu – Part II Little Girl Playing Erhu – Part III The video above is broken into 3 parts because of uploading constraints. – After watching the guqin lesson, more »

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Purchasing an Erhu – Part II

We started our erhu lesson search by browsing the shops on Jinling Lu. I’ve never seen such an extensive music district before. There are at least 30 separate businesses selling a  range of instruments from ancient erhu’s to electric guitars. more »

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Purchasing an Erhu – Part I

Like every adventure, this musical weekend started with a feast. I met up at Baby Doll with Mei, my coworker, and her cousin, Mei Yi Ling. Studded leather booths with red lanterns broadcast the restaurant’s peculiar fusion of Chinese food more »

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The Land of Happy People

It is clear that the primary focus of the government is keeping its citizens happy. Shanghainese show little interest in talking about politics, which is boring to them as it only involves one party. The internet restrictions are troublesome, but more »

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Suzhou, the Venice of China

Suzhou (pronounced Sue-Joe) is a water town west of Shanghai known for its beautiful traditional gardens, the largest being The Humble Administrator’s Garden. The town was right out of films: red lanterns, silk, gardens, and canals. To get there, a more »

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Grocery Stores

Hanging raw meat is becoming a common sight. The larger food stores tend to be broken up into specialized sections for each food product, each with their own counter like the butcher’s stall above.

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First Week at Oscar's Pub

Stefan, the Webbie who worked here last Winter, highly recommended Oscar’s Pub, an expatriate joint with live bluegrass, folk, and rock and an open-mike on Wednesday nights.  He used to play with the house band and all the musicians there more »

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Chicken Soup

The Chinese have a reputation for using every part of the animal. Pictured above is their version of chicken soup, a deliciously spicy coriander-heavy broth with everything but the head thrown in. You can see chicken feet, a major export more »

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Haggling – Calculator Games with Old Ladies

On my way to Yuyuan Gardens in the Old Town, Puxi, I found many interesting small streets on the other end of the urban spectrum from the financial district where I live. Dajing Lu, pictured above, was by far my more »

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50 Moganshan Art District

Ken and Aili, friends of a friend of my Aunt Anne’s,  introduced me to the budding art community in Shanghai. Formerly an industrial area, the district is home to several art galleries and workshops. The artist featured above created his more »

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Yuyuan Gardens

Yuyuan Gardens is a peaceful retreat in the Old Town, costing  3o rmb to enter, or about $4.40. Though the garden was not designed for the multitude of international tourists who explore its bridges, rocky paths, and wooden interiors every more »

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Flute Player in the Old Town, Puxi

Over the babbling market sounds, you can hear an old man selling his wooden flutes out of small rickshaw cart parked on the corner of a crowded Old Town intersection. Here is the first segment of the video (uploading is more »

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Foreign Brands

My first New Year’s Eve alone was a little lonely, except for the millions of Chinese shoppers taking advantage of Shanghai’s New Year’s sales and mobbing the city’s modern malls where foreign products are more expensive than in the United more »

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Construction – Chinese Style

I was amused by these two street workers painting a thick line across the street in busy traffic. As cars were waiting at a red light, they knocked on their doors, making a shooing motion, as if the stuck cars more »

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The Old Town – My Introduction

The Dajing Pavillion contains the last remnants of the 1553 city walls. It is located on the middle of an urban block and looks quite out of place. An old man and his daughter were trying to get a little more »

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The Old Town – Unidentifiable Shanghai Cuisine

The tailor found a secondary use for her clothes hangers: meat. Let me know if you can identify the animal(s) and I’ll buy you a carcass while getting my clothes stitched. I saw this abandoned cart of fresh raw meat more »

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The Old Town – Famous Shanghai Cuisine

The Old City of Shanghai is bordered by street shops selling all sorts of cheap items ranging from silk pajamas to imitation watches and chopsticks made of bone. At the center lies a giant “food court” with popular Shanghainese delicacies. more »

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Yuyuan Gardens – Preview

MVI_4502 The wind managed to die before I could film these red lanterns on the crooked walkway to the Yuyuan Garden Palace.

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Shanghai Railway Station

January 3, 2010 Sunday morning, I was excited to take a train to a neighboring water town, Suzhou. Unfortunately, assuming that I understood the woman helping me with the Chinese ticket machines, this weekend the trains were so busy that more »

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The Chinese Take on American Fast Food

Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Haagen-Dazs, and McDonalds are among the most popular chains in Shanghai.

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Jinling Lu

Jinling Lu, my favorite road, is lined with music shops. Below, a man plays the erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument also known as the Chinese violin. Jackie, the manager of a restaurant on Jinling Lu that I happened to stop more »

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