Pavlov’s Dogs Had it Better

Pavlov trained his dogs to associate the ticking of a metronome with the sudden appearance of food. Later, the dogs retired from lab work and moved to good homes with lovely children who were budding musicians. And whenever those children were forced by their tiger moms to practice with their metronomes, the dogs would slobber all over the children, in anticipation of a yummy morsel of food. (Ok, I made everything but the first sentence up.)

I realized the other day, that I’ve become like Pavlov’s dogs in response to the construction noise in the apartment above ours. No, I’m not salivating! And unlike the dogs, I don’t get any tasty tidbits following my stimulus; rather my body gets tense, I feel really crabby and I want to run screaming from the apartment!

It’s only one noise that they make that’s getting to me. Hammering, dropping things (and then cursing in Chinese?), and sawing are all background noises that don’t phase me in the least.

But there’s this incessant drilling thing they do for sometimes hours at a time, which after a steady diet of this directly over our heads the last couple of weeks and in other apartments ever since we’ve moved in is really setting my nerves on edge.  It was when we came across this noise in some other random building in Shanghai and my body responded to the noise before my brain registered what it was hearing, that I realized I must be developing some sort of conditioned response to it. (Or I may have totally misinterpreted the Pavlovian response–my apologies to the psychologists out there!)

Which leads us to our photos today. Earlier on Friday, I took the long walk to the Avocado Lady to get some cheap fruit and veggies and I saw a woman wearing the most fabulous pair of shoes. As a person with old lady feet who is now compelled to wear orthotics and ugly shoes the rest of her life, shoe gazing at the beautiful shoes women wear here is a hobby of mine. So, when that offensive noise began again on Friday afternoon, I grabbed my camera and went outside into the beautiful weather. I sat out in front of Shanghai Centre until I knew the barrage would be over and took pictures of the shoes that walked by.

Today you’re going to see the good:

the bad:

This takes more coordination than you would expect!

and the ugly:

I’m sure her feet were beautiful when she was younger.

These boots look a bit too much like the kind people with two different length legs have to wear



The only adult with sparkly shoes. So sorry they’re blurry: maybe I should have used the “sport setting”

I had the impression that nobody wore sneakers in Shanghai, but I was pleasantly surprised by the high number I saw going by. Now I don’t feel like such a dweeb.

However, an awful lot of them were of the brightly colored variety

Saw an awful lot of friends where one was wearing heels and one was wearing flats.

Very pretty

These shoes look too tight, don’t they?

So colorful!

Too bad these came out blurry.

Ballet flats with large “things” on the top are very popular.

Little girl style

guy shoes

First and only pair of Crocs I saw, even though there are several very large Crocs stores in Shanghai.

After awhile, I noticed there was a crowd across the street at Plaza 66 that didn’t seem to be going away, so I thought I’d go over there and check it out….

Does this haircut make me look fat?

Other than the lady in the rose shirt, not only was I the only Caucasian, I was the oldest person there. Besides the line out the door, the entire first floor of Plaza 66 was packed with people, all apparently waiting for something to happen. A great many were wielding cameras, so for once my camera wasn’t out of place!

The guy scratching his head wants to know what he’s waiting for too.

Let’s look at shoes while we wait:

Now there’s some fancy boy shoes.

She should get together with white shoe guy.

That pristine hairdo must mean he’s the ONE.

But wait! Somebody else! Who is that guy with the camera stuck in his face? If I was young and Chinese, I might know. Sadly, it will have to remain a mystery.

Most colorful shoes yet as I was walking back home.

The famous Christian Louboutin shoes with the red soles that are sold right outside Shanghai Centre.

At Kelly’s suggestion, I’m updating this post with a picture of the shoes I was wearing:

My trusty, year-old New Balances, the toes of which I found, one morning, that Meredith had “improved” for me.

Something else I happened to see:

Thinking ahead to Father’s Day: It’s the gift every man wants. A tea set with a matching, shiny shirt from Stefano Ricci!

And for a flower picture before we say goodbye:

This beautiful wall of flowers is down the street from Mark’s office. The building behind it belonged to the Sassoon family (the ones of Shanghai Peace Hotel fame, not shampoo fame)


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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3 Responses to Pavlov’s Dogs Had it Better

  1. Kelly says:

    Great post! My favorite shoes were the “tall”. Looks like she was very well dressed What a great diversion…shoes. Loved the diversity. Am am wondering how long you were lost in all those shoes? Seems like a great way to spend some getaway time. You forgot to take a picture of your shoes. I think it would have been a cute angle. Can’t wait for that noise to get to you again….

  2. Kelly says:

    Marisa, you need new shoes…laughing…oh the places those shoes have seen this year…great memory shoes, you will never be able to part with them. The good news, I have heard that Mark is very resourceful with duct tape…and duct tape now comes in so many different colors and designs rivaling the wide range of shoes you captured in this post. Very very enjoyable.

  3. Nevin Dawn Harmison says:

    Dear Little Sister, we LIKED this blog, it is the best – so fun to read the captions with the shoes, what a variety of styles! also the cute dog’s haircut, a great picture (and story line). always love the flowers you post – and love you too! 🙂 Your ‘biggest’/’oldest’ Sister

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