Seattle To Shanghai And Back Again

We did it! After a little bit more than a year back in the United States, we culled through the combined posts from this blog and my wife’s blog, as well as a few thousand photographs, and have published a book documenting our time living in Shanghai. It is available from Blurb as both an eBook for the iPad, or as a 6″ x 9″ softcover book.

Seattle To Shanghai, And Back Again
Seattle To Sha…
Our Year As Expats
By Melinda L. Hoyt, T…
Photo book

Day 224: Do Not Enter

Security guard watches over  a parking garage exit.

Security guard watches over a parking garage exit.

I don’t know what the official numbers are, but based on my 10-month long, unofficial observation the two most common jobs in urban China are street sweepers and security guards, with the latter being the most plentiful. Security guards are everywhere, whether they are necessary, or not; Lilong entrances, parking lot entrances–even the ones with automatic gates–apartment compounds (our compound has three guards at each entry a doorman at each building and a desk attendant in every lobby), construction sites,fake markets, metro stations, park entries, office buildings, ferry stations, bus stations, train stations, churches and malls. Usually in pairs and often sleeping.

Day Ninety-Nine: Mahjong

A mahjong game attracts some oberservers.

A mahjong game attracts some observers.

I borrowed a bicycle from the hotel and took a meandering 20 km ride around central Beijing, yesterday, despite an AQI of 250, in the “Very Unhealthy” range. The bad air isn’t really noticeable at street level, however there was quite a bit of pollen and petals from the Spring flowering trees swirling around and I did catch an occasional bug in my teeth. There was also a lot of construction & destruction taking places, small scale projects in many of the hutong neighborhoods I roamed, that added blowing dust and sand to the mix. The air quality aside, it was a glorious day to be about and about, sunny and unseasonably warm with temperatures reaching the mid 80’s (30 C). My original plan upon departing the hotel was to walk the 4 km to the Bell and Drum Towers, north of the Forbidden City, but when I exited the backside of the hotel I noticed a row of matching bicycles; the doorman informed me that they are available for guests, so I checked one out–complete with helmet and lock– and rode north. Much of the day was spent avoiding the main streets and commercial lanes of Beijing in general, focusing on exploring the side alleys of the hutongs. I did make it to the two ancient, MIng structures and they are impressive, but I didn’t bother entering, choosing instead to lock my bike and wander to surrounding hutongs by foot, where I discovered this cheerful group of resident playing a spirited game of mahjong.

Day Sixty-seven: Saturday in the Park

High-spirited entertainment

High-spirited entertainment

Shanghai, Beijing, or Nanjing, parks play an important role in the social life of the average Chinese citizen, young or old. This trio of seasoned gentleman were playing some up tempo, jazz flavored western music, on a cool, overcast Saturday in Xuanwu Lake Park in north-central Nanjing. Kite flyers, boat rowers, picture takers, walkers, dancers and matchmakers, the park was busy despite the so-so weather.

Bull-killing upsets many residents

“A local eatery’s promotion drew criticism after it slaughtered a bull on the sidewalk, Shanghai Daily reported on Tuesday. The name of the beef restaurant in Baoshan district was not disclosed. Residents complained that the bloody scene frightened many passers-by.” —China Daily, 30 October, 2013