Shanghai, shopping mecca

Two weekends ago we went on the hunt for a piece of furniture to hold all of the tv related equipment to go with our new tv.

This first took us to what is called the flower market, although as seems to be typical here, the market has expanded way beyond flowers.

Fortunately there was a sign so we knew where the arlificial flowers were.

We were thinking these ferocious beasts would be great by our front door.

But then we saw this statue and thought, hmm....

Ah hah! There is Halloween in Shanghai!

You could get your goldfish here....

And a big pot for them to swim in here.

We turned the corner and it was just like being back on Market Street in Corning!

This guy had more stock than space. You don't really want that piece of furniture clear back in the corner do you?

100% fake food, being sold at a home decorating store. I'm still trying to come up with a scenario where Suzy Homemaker would use fake, rather than real food. Ideas, anyone?

A huge store stocked only with ribbons!

Oh yes---there were flowers too--store after store of flowers.

Some specialized in orchids. The most orchids I've ever seen in one spot at one time.

Always in markets like this you'll see women knitting. Warms my heart! Thanks to Meredith for taking this picture for me.

The view behind the market.

We then had Chen shi fu take us to Elm Workshop which is a woodworking shop that makes custom furniture.  There are many places in Shanghai where you can have furniture made (or clothes for that matter), but this place has a great reputation for quality and we know a lot of people who have had furniture made here.  You can just take a picture and your dimensions and they will make anything.  Pretty cool.

Example of a black walnut table made at Elm Workshop in Shanghai

In the evening we went to a Shanghai-ese restaurant named Lulu’s. We were seated in a very awkward spot behind some stairs, where we were trapped by the arrival of a receiving line for a wedding reception–perhaps it was the Chinese equivalent of the French’s version of seating the foreigners in the back next to the bathroom when they don’t have a reservation? Even though we were kind of forgotten back there and we had to walk through the receiving line when we left, we had great entertainment during our meal:

The pretty bride and groom. Each guest had their picture taken with them while a rather bad saxophonist played such selections as Greensleeves, and the love song that Andy and Ben were taught on their Rotary exchange.

One of the dishes we had included the oddly textured squishy thing between the chopsticks--sort of like very dense foam. The green beans on the left were very good.

The next day we took the subway to Xintiandi, another famous shopping district. We came out of the subway into this square:

It's Reston, Virginia. Oh wait, no it's not.

This whole area was so American looking it was weird.

But then, you wouldn't see somebody squatting while watching their dog in Reston, VA. There's a reason why Chinese people have no problem using squatter toilets and westerners complain about them so much--we don't squat!

Going to a costume party? Models? All dressed up for an afternoon out? In Shanghai, you just never know.

My guess is they are probably sales women for some product and we just weren’t lucky enough to find their store or booth and see all the rest of the women dressed up like them.

There are so many stores in Shanghai, filled with merchandise, but not necessarily filled with customers. The store names reflect the new optimism and hope for the future of the country, usually in random and non-sensical Chinglish.

Here's an example of a store name

Here's a rather fevered explanation of the store's philosophy

“We believe in freedom, we believe in independence, we yearn for a prerogative privilege within indulgence.”

Ok, 2 weeks later I still don’t know what that last bit means.

Sometimes I think I shouldn’t laugh at the Chinglish I see here because after all, their English is way better than my Chinese. But then Mark showed me this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15471753 and I didn’t feel quite so badly.  And I really hope we get a chance to see the play.

One of my trips this week has already been cancelled due to rain. It’s supposed to rain here on Wednesday when my other trip is scheduled as well, so we’ll have to see. But, I have some other posts up my sleeve, so don’t despair!

Till next time.

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About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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