17 October 2008


I had good intentions to blog about the trip to Beijing in April but it didn't happen. So I'm making good by posting "on location" during this trip to Shanghai.

Getting here seemed like a lot more than "half the battle". We left home on Tuesday morning and didn't arrive at our hotel in Shanghai until 37 days later. Or that's what it felt like, anyway.

We had a stopover at Narita airport in Tokyo, which means I can now say that I've been to Japan. I couldn't find any Calpis water, as recommended by Derek, but we did have a fine airport meal while we waited for the flight to Shanghai. Notice the delicious tempura shrimp in this steaming bowl of udon noodles.

We had to clear security in Tokyo even though were were just on a layover. Japanese security officials don't quite have the same menacing veneer as the common U.S. TSA workers. But they do have cute hats. (Note: photo is blurry because I was trying to take it while avoiding being apprehended for some breach of far-eastern security protocol. She actually gave me the "no-no" finger wave when she saw what I was doing, but I just smiled and mumbled something in English about her hat, throwing me off of my intent to use the phrase "tune in Tokyo" while clearing security. Maybe I'll get the chance on our return layover.)

One of my favorite things to do in foreign countries is photograph the food. It is always so interesting to document the kinds of things that other people eat. Here, we have an excellent photo that disproves my long-held belief that any food item on a stick is delicious. I found this specimen lying in a Shanghai street, which is exactly where I would have left it if I were faced with the prospect of having to eat it. You are welcome to venture you best guesses as to what any of these items-on-a-stick really are.

Later on our walk to the park, I noticed an abandoned watermelon in the bushes. No big deal. Just an abandoned watermelon in the bushes. (If you are a loyal reader of this blog, you are probably wondering if I ate the watermelon or not. Answer: I'm keeping it an ancient Chinese secret.)

Out hotel is beautiful and offers all of the expected amenities. Our stay includes breakfast and dinner buffets, which means we can sample the exotic fare limitlessly. Here you'll see my photo of the "meat bin", as I've named it. Procedure: select a piece of meat, put it on a plate, hand it to the chef, and he cooks it right up. Please notice the lamb shanks at the far end of the bin. They are delightful. Not as good: any of the fish. (I got in trouble from Cali for just picking one up.)

There's no better way to end a first day in China than enjoying a fine dessert sampler. I am most fond of the tiny flans. Or flan. I don't know what the plural of flan is. But I had a plurality of helpings!


Supercords said...

My favorite blog posts, to both write and read, are those written on vacation, preferably from some far off land. Keep up the good work Joe.

Douglas and Connie Jones Earl said...

Stay safe and exito.

Gramyflys said...

Im so glad you are blogging about this super fun trip! Keep it up!