Plum Season in Shanghai

Plum season has arrived in Shanghai. All our beautiful weather has been replaced by heat and humidity and most likely, soon, rain. Plum season lasts about 20 days and Shanghai will get about 1/5 of it’s total rainfall for the year during this time.

It actually tends to coincide with the ripening of the plums on the trees and there is an old Chinese adage that says: “When the rain falls on the ripe plums, there follows 40 rainy days.” Guess the world’s most unpleasant weather makes for exaggeration. I have to admit, the humidity is a killer.

Saturday morning we had brunch with our friends Jay and Xin (of Like Coffee, Like Tea blog fame), who were here from Taipei and it was really good to see them. As a result of the newly arrived Plum season, I wasn’t too keen on traipsing all over the city for hours on end afterwards like we often do, so instead we decided to visit a museum. We chose the Open House Museum in Xintiandi.

I don’t think we’ve been to Xintiandi since last fall and we were stunned with how many people were there:

Here come the masses!

Some parts of Xintiandi were almost entirely filled with expats–the Chinese looked like the foreigners! The area seems to have become a popular destination for tour groups from around Asia. We saw many clustered herds of tourists devotedly following their flagged tour guide from site to site.

Here come the Australians!

“Attention please! Can everyone hear me in the back? We all need to keep together! We can’t have stragglers.”

Yes, I’ve been one of those sheep following the flags myself–we get the speech in every tour. Lucky you, you can go at your own pace and you can hear just fine.

In the early 20th century, the area in Xintiandi was filled with a type of homes called Shikumen houses. These were characterized by a black entrance door topped with a baroque stone lintel above it. Shikumen dwellings were 2 to 3 stories and generally had one large and one smaller garden and a couple of annexes. They would have been occupied by one family.

The furniture and the home on display were all made with beautiful wood.

The desk in the study–note the “calculator” under the yellow “do not touch sign”

Items in the kitchen

Very fancy bed. Seems kind of short, doesn’t it?

That has to be one of the prettier accomodations I’ve seen for doing your business.

These huge crocheted dresser scarves were on all the dressers upstairs. I took a close up of several of them to show the detail, but I wanted you to see how massive they were so you could appreciate the time and effort and skill that went into these handmade feats.

close- up

Interesting, I just realized this was a duplicate in another room! But I thought the tiny sewing machine was neat, so I’m showing it again.

Oh my, this is the same pattern too, but with bobbles!

Ok, this is definitely different

As is this one.

Just because the pattern was the same, doesn’t make them any less impressive–they were still huge investments of time and they were well done.

view from one of the stair landings

Shanghai photoplay from 1930

Continuing the knitting/crocheting theme, because this is very vaguely a knitting blog; we saw what looked to be hand knitted animals for sale in this shop.

Elevator flowers–or chives on steroids?

Sorry–shouldn’t have taken that with my iphone!

Next post: North Korea and Back in Three Hours or Less.

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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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