As mentioned in my previous post, Nik and I have taken to the game we call “Feather”. The rest of China knows the game as Jianzi, meaning “little shuttlecock”. Here is a video our friend Mike took last weekend, and then Nik added audio.
I must admit. Life is good when you can bicycle through a city and not be too concerned with being killed. Since I bought my new bike on Tuesday, that’s pretty much all I have been doing.
What’s that Nik? We need to go to the grocery store? No problem, I’ll just go to the one across town instead of the one across the street because it will only take 15 minutes to get there.
What? You want to go to a park? There’s one on the other side of the river that looks cool, let’s go there. It should take an hour.
Do we need to get subway tickets? Nope, our ride is locked up just outside.
Shanghai is flat, the weather has been amazing (except Thursday), there are bike lanes everywhere, the streets aren’t potholed (most of them anyways) and traffic generally goes pretty slowly. It is one of many perfect towns to bike in. My personal favorites have been Portland, Copenhagen, Denver, Beijing and Yangshuo, but I am certain that there are more.
The one downside to biking is that because I am going a little bit faster and am on the street instead of the sidewalk, I tend to pass up little nooks and crannies that I would explore on foot. Our plan, though, is to start riding to areas that are farther away, and then walk around and explore. That way, we’ll have the best of both worlds. For now, our bikes are too precious to leave on any old sidewalk, so we’ll be sticking to the streets.
I bought my bike from the GIANT retail store at the corner of Jianguo Lu and Hengshan Lu. It is a basic 24″ women’s single-speed bike with a great bell. It cost about Â¥600 ($88) including a good lock and the front basket. Nik inherited a STRONG men’s single-speed bike from a co-worker for free that I’m sure he will pass along when we leave.
I guess it’s not true that I’ve been riding my bike constantly for the entire week. We have done some other noteworthy things.
We are slowly discovering the amazing food that can be found in Shanghai.
Then one day, we found Nik’s Chinese twin.
We’ve also seen plenty of examples of how this city is busting at the seams with people.
We have also been practicing a little game we call “Feather”
And sometimes, we visit the local newspaper board with our friends.
Three weeks in, and it’s all still pretty amazing. Spring is in the air, and the city seems more alive every day. Nik’s enjoying his work, we’re making new friends, we’re eating well, we’re discovering new things every day and we’re having fun! What more can we ask?
* Photos taken by Nik, who did a tandem post. Get it? Tandem. As in a bicycle: Biking Shanghai, Luxun Park, Food, Poisoning
Today was a good day. We had breakfast at the apartment while sun was streaming through the windows. Then Nik left for work, I got myself together, and I went out and conquered my fear of taking photos in our neighborhood! The sun was out for the first time in two weeks so everyone decided that it was laundry day. Granted, in Shanghai, there is always laundry hanging from bamboo poles cantilevered over the sidewalks, but today was different. Today EVERY bamboo pole was filled with trousers and socks and shirts and jackets and blankets and sheets and shoes. The garments covered the entire rainbow so the opportunity for color was amazing…and I took advantage of it. I didn’t take much time on each shot because I’m still a little self concious about taking photos of people’s houses while their neighbors are walking past me, but I think I captured what was going on. I hope it doesn’t bore you to see lots of laundry, but we never see this in America, so I find it fascinating.
I also saw some other random interesting stuff…
This afternoon I was going to use the curling iron…but I guess the voltage here is a little different than at home! The black gewy stuff is plastic and the white strings are the heating wires. I simply picked up the handle and the curling part fell off.