Thursday, 9 August 2007

Ahh... such is the life.

Today I had quite an enjoyable and interesting day.

Started off by getting up early and leaving the house at 8am, then coming back and getting ready to go to the gym at 10am for a pilates class. Meanwhile, got an email from my sister saying she needed an invitation for a birthday party she is having. She wanted it by 11:30am. Umm.. it was now 9am and I had to get ready for the class. Not long later, I get my expat wife friend chatting to me through gmail and asked if I was free to meet up for lunch. I had planned on going to Carrefour and some other shops but I hadn't seen her in maybe a month so I said, OK, sure.

So I frantically designed this invite, emailed it off to my sister, went to the gym class (was a bit late), did an hour of pilates (and boy does my neck and back hurt now, not to mention I realised my stomach muscles suck, and my hamstrings are totally inflexible!) Got chatting to a middle-aged lady that I met before, 2 weeks ago when I turnee up for a Chinese dance class which unfortunately was the last class. It was such a funny class I was trying so hard not to laugh at the movements and then when hubby got home I performed them for him, then he mimicked ME and we were both laughing hysterically! :D

Then I did 10 mins on the treadmill, walked back home and got ready to leave. Also was frantically tidying the house for my guest!

She picked me up and we drove to a vegetarian restaurant for lunch. It was kind of Buddhist style in that everything was made to look like meat, and in some cases even tasted like meat. The restaurant was surprisingly busy and crowded. We both also loved that it was non-smoking (a rarity in China!) and everything was organic, fresh, and clean.

Afterwards she was going to take me to the fake market (after I asked where she got her nice handbag from) but instead decided to go to the hairdresser instead. I was glad I had not washed my hair (no time) so I followed her and got my hair washed and blow dried too. We were there for over an hour! In that time I also got an extensive head, shoulder, neck and upper back massage. All for 23 RMB. The other day hubby got a haircut for 10 RMB and was raving about how good it was so it goes to show you that price doesn't always dictate quality in China!

The guy washing my hair wanted to sell me some really expensive Kerastase vials of some 'anti hair loss' liquid. He started getting me all paranoid about my hairloss but it was so ridiculously expensive of course I didn't buy any! He also asked whether I was from overseas and why I had 'returned' to China. I said I am not returning because I never lived here! haha. Anyway we left and I felt very relaxed. I got professional blow dry and my hair had never looked better. It looks so straight and shiny.

I forgot to mention that whilst driving from the restaurant to the hairdresser the strangest thing happened. I started telling my friend about the day I took a bus to Huaihai Lu (and the trip took an hour <_< ) and walked for 6 hours straight in the boiling hot sun. I was crazy. Now I can barely do 10 minutes! I walked from Maison Mode / Times Square, onto Changle Lu, then Maoming Lu and then back onto Huaihai Lu and Parksons. On the way I passed so many places I wanted to go to it just wasn't feasible to keep getting on and off a taxi, train or bus so I just walked the whole way.

I meant to do a post about that mammoth day that night or the day after but I was sooooo exhausted that even 24 hours later after I arrived home I could still barely move!

On Monday I went to Carrefour after going to the Chinese herbal doctor (TCM) (which is my Monday morning routine), and was basically killing time wandering around the upper floor (which sells non-food items). I saw a bargain desk and I had to have it! I have been killing my back sitting on a hard wooden dining chair and wanted a desk chair but instead I found the perfect desk, for a bargain 159 RMB so I got both the desk and a desk chair. The computer desk has a slide out drawer (good ergonomics and all that) and is the exact same honey wood colour as all our other furniture so it matches. The chair is padded with armrests and castors. It is super comfy and has good lower back support. I asked a sales assistant if they had any in stock (not seeing any on the floor) and how I would get it delivered to me. He said that there would be more coming in and when they came he would deliver AND assemble for me. I said I didn't need it assembled (since hubby loves putting things together like all guys do) and he said it was only 10 RMB extra so I thought why not. So right now, the man is here busy screwing in all the parts together. He is super fast too. In the time I have typed up the last 4 paragraphs (and I'm a very fast typer) he has almost finished putting the desk together. It cost us a whopping 50 RMB to have the desk and chair delivered and assembled.

I love China! ;) :)

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

1 year till the Olympics!

Today is 08.08.07 and on 08.08.08 the Olympics in Beijing will start. I can't believe it's been almost 7 years since my beloved Sydney Olympics (which I went to and absolutely adored) and in one year's time I will be tagging along with hubby and getting free accommodation and tickets to watch the games - yippee! :D

While I'm in the mood for talking about big events in China, in 2010 the World Expo will be held in Shanghai. And as a local resident - don't we know it! There is chaos on several main roads with construction fast tracked for the expansion and building of more subway lines. The end result will be fantastic though, I'm sure. In 3 years time there will be 3 new lines. In comparison, it takes Sydney about 10 years just to build 1 new rail line, sorry half a rail line (I'm talking about Chatswood to Parramata which they are only building up to Epping at this point).

The Expo's logo looks a little freaky though, don't you think?

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Guinness 9 ball Asian tour launch party and Plaza 66 TMSK 66

July 3rd

Last night my husband and I went to the Guinness 9 ball Asian tour launch party in Shanghai. It was held in the Big Bamboo bar. The invite said "Dress: Black with touch of personality." Well the both of us got dressed up and wore our best black outfits. I wore a red headband and hubby was going to wear a clip on koala on his collar.

We got there and was terribly surprised and shocked that noone was really that dressed up! Everyone was really casual and hardly anyone wore black! Not only that, we didn't even need an invite :( Other than that it was OK I suppose but I couldn't stand to be there very long as it was just WAY too smokey. The entire two floors were reeking of it. The free Guinness was flowing but pity I don't drink beer. I had two sips just out of thirst but yuck. At least it doesn't smell like wine does though. I really can't stand the smell of wine.


One of hubby's colleagues turned up with his wife, and also a friend of his and his wife. They planned to have Hunanese cuisine in Pudong but we declined their invitation to go because it's just way too far from where we live (almost an hour) and it would cost quite a bit to get home given we'd have to take a taxi.

So we went walkabout in order to find somewhere to eat. Not hard given this is China! There are eateries everywhere and we were in the heart of expat central. We saw a nice Chinese place (Lynn) and hubby really wanted to go there but we kept looking. We ended back on the main street of Nanjing Xi Lu (Nanjing East Road) and waltzed into Plaza 66. It was almost 9pm and most stores were starting to close. For those that don't know, Plaza 66 it the ritziest shopping mall in Shanghai comprising of stores such as Tiffany's, Gucci, Dior, Prada, LV etc.

We both assumed that any restaurant there would cost an absolute fortune to eat in but we took the elevator up to the rooftop to take a looksie anyway. We were pleasantly surprised. There were three restaurants to choose from and we ended up choosing one that served three different cuisines - Shanghainese, Hunanese and Italian. I liked that there was a non-Chinese choice there! It was called TMSK 66 (dunno what it stands for).

Given the time we were the only people sitting in the whole restaurant. Actually, the restaurant is divided into two sections - one smoking, one non-smoking. Naturally we chose the latter. Since Chinese people generally eat pretty early at 9pm we were the only ones in the non-smoking section and there was one other party in the other section.

The decor was really something! It was kind of spacey, high tech and 'trippy'. It is so hard to describe so you may as well just look at my photos :) The cutlery and crockery all seemed to be custom made and designed too. The white ceramic bowls/plates had tiny holes cut out and in the hole was embedded a blue glass bead. The lighting was absolutely amazing and set up a great mood. We also noticed the music. We planned to ask what CD it was but forgot, so I rang them up the next day and they told me it was by "Buddha Bar". Since finding this out i have downloaded many tracks from these fantastic albums!! They are instrumental and are really great 'chilling out' sort of music and fitted in with that restaurant's decor and ambience so well.

The food was amazingly well presented and we plan to go back again soon!

Oh for the record we had 2 entrees/appetizers, 2 mains, 1 freshly squeezed juice (apple, carrot, pineapple and honey - amazing) and the total cost was 262 RMB or about US$35 or AU$40. What excellent value!

Bear with me.. I will have to upload the photos later. I don't know who or how many people are reading my blog (judging by the comments basically noone and judging by clustrmaps heaps of people! ;) )

My husband also got free tickets to watch the Nine Ball game. On Sunday he was all ready to go and then at the last minute got me to read the ticket. Except that it was all in Chinese. The only parts that I could make out were to arrive half an hour before it starts (oops) and there is to be no smoking, drinking or eating inside. Since he was now late he decided not to go and just watch it on TV haha.


Uploaded the photos as promised! Pics of the party at Bamboo Bar, Plaza 66, TMSK 66 restaurant and food

Weekend weather

On the weekend the temperature plummeted to about 26 degrees which felt positively cold. Haha. Usually when I have had the air con on all day and go into one of the other rooms (which have theirs doors closed) I go in and it feels like a sauna. However, on the weekend we didn't even need the a/c (shock horror) and the other rooms felt much cooler! It was a weird feeling.

Harry Potter and the Chinese Porcelain Doll

Been having soooo much trouble accessing my Blog for the last few days, weeks.. Just then I finally got back into it and the language was back in Chinese - ARGH. Either my computer is stuffing me around or the Great Firewall is/was. Anyway.. these are posts I wrote ready for posting before.


China - the land of the fakes! Piracy

OK we all know about China's fake industry - LV handbags, Chanel sunglasses, Gucci wallets, Ralph Lauren Polo t-shirts, North Face jackets, DVDs, etc etc..

Little did you know that China has fake EVERYTHING. If this isn't enough to scare people off I don't know what is - hahaha.

Here are some fake things I have heard about recently.

1. Fake eggs

See this link

Makes me sick thinking about it but hopefully we haven't bought nor eaten any fake eggs!!

2. Fake Colgate toothpastes (which are genuine Colgate!)

Although there is a Colgate factory in China, apparently the ingredients of the toothpastes are not the same as in the US, Australia or other Western countries. Apparently there is a dangerous ingredient inside. Great! Just when I thought a reputable global brand meant that something was 'safe' and when we had bought about 6 tubes when we first arrived... <_<

3. Fake Apple iPhones

This one is quite ingenius actually. And note the Windows chime... hilarious! The Chinese have rebadged the iPhone as tPhone and included a removable battery plus a host of other extra features. At first glance it looks exactly like the iPhone too. Check out the YouTube video.

and now...

4. Fake "Harry Potter" books!

See this link