Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snow White... and the 20 million Shanghainese

Every day since Saturday I've looked out the window at the ever-growing snow-scene before me and thought "I'd better take a photo, because Shanghai doesn't get any 'snowier' than this"... and every day more snow has fallen.

It turns out that this is the biggest snowfall Shanghai has experienced in 24 years (according to the Shanghai Daily), and I'm pretty happy to have seen it (as chaotic as it is!).

Here are the photos from today.. The snow seems to be melting a bit now, and there is no more snow predicted until Friday, so this may be the last of them!

In the park across the street from us.

Camelias in the park, shivering their petals off.

This charming fellow greeted me when I went downstairs this morning!

My scooter, firmly staying put for the time-being... I draw the line at riding in snow.

A digitally arranged panorama from our building this morning (click to see screen-sized version)

Monday, January 28, 2008

He loves me...

I came home from the snowiest day I've ever seen in Shanghai feeling like crap. Granted a few inches is not a whole lot of snow in the global sense, but when it falls in a city that rarely ever sees snow it creates havoc. We in Shanghai are so unprepared for this sort of weather that the cars have no idea how to drive (my taxi skidded across a intersection before I'd even left my street this morning); we have no snow shoes for walking in the piles of slush caused by a city with atrocious drainage systems, and we have no idea how to balance on the slippery- and now icy- glazed tiles the Shanghai city authorities insist on using to pave all outdoor areas.

The snow is beautiful, but quite frankly the city is in a shambles.

So, as I said I came home today feeling pretty crappy and demanded a hug from Phil.

As hugged me he said:

"What's the matter baby?"
"I don't know. I just feel all Floobery-Jibbery inside."
"Oh. Is that a word?"
"No, but it's how I feel today."
"Ok," he says, and continues to hug me without question.

Ah love.

To celebrate the fact that tomorrow has just been declared a no-school Snow Day (my first ever!) by the Shanghai Education Authorities, I'll post some snow photos from school today:

Spring Festival/Chinese New Year decorations ready for next week

One of the playgrounds- a few hours after this was taken the grass was entirely white

Some of the munchkins from my class (with my co-teacher Hellena on the right and my assistant teacher Susie, left)- it takes 45 minutes of our morning just to get them in and out of their coats and boots.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Snow in Shanghai- Happy Australia Day!

Some photos of Australia day in snowing Shanghai- in vast contrast to the gorgeous sunny photos on the harbour that I just saw on the Sydney Morning Herald online.

I should also mention that snow in Shanghai is a very rare occasion indeed, so today is pretty special. Well, as I see it, if it has to be cold on Australia Day, then at the very least it can snow!

Showing my patriotism

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

DIY oven

Ok, I love to cook, whether it be on the stove or in an oven. However, most Chinese kitchens do not have ovens, and that wipes out half the recipes I love. A few months after moving here I bought a good quality, large toaster oven, which works a treat (I recently baked a three-tiered wedding cake in it), however prior to that, and also during the year I lived in Nepal, I used an oven made of cooking pots on the gas stove.

Anyone who is lucky enough to have their own oven can stop reading here- but readers from Asia might be interested in the method.

First you take a large cooking pot with a lid- the largest pot you can find.

Place it on the gas stove and put a small metal bowl (like a small rice bowl), upturned in the bottom of it. Then on top of that sits your item for baking (on a baking tray or in a baking dish, as directed by the recipe).

Put the lid on and cook on a low heat.

A cross-section of the stove

I've used this oven to cook bread, lasagna, quiche, cakes, cookies, and baked pastas.

You don't need to add water to the pot- this is the most common question people ask me.
Cooking times will vary from the recipe- try to check it often.
If it cooks too fast the bottom will burn before the middle is done- try turning the heat down.
It's better of course to find a heavy pot to be the oven, but I've used cheap, thin saucepans with no problem.
Remember to use a baking dish small enough to get back out of the pot- I've used some that were too snug a fit inside the 'oven' for me to get my fingers around it to lift it out- try picking up a quiche in it's pan with chopsticks!

A picture tells a thousand words

I'm not going to incriminate myself by writing anything to accompany this picture- not while I still live in Shanghai...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New hair

While I'm posting pictures, here's a quick shot of my new hair:
Subtle, isn't it?

Random snapshots from Christmas/New Year in Oz

A real post is coming soon- I promise.... for now here are some random shots from our trip to Oz.

My niece Naomie ("Namomie") trying out my hair.

The Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters as viewed from the bottom of the Scenic Railway.

New Year's Eve in Sydney Park with Simon ('Bear'), Nath, Julia and Phil (with Jess and Viv offscreen)

Gordon's Bay, Sydney

A nice place to rest for eternity- Waverly Cemetery Sydney

Cooper and Aunty Lou

Cooper's funny 'Push-up' bum cheeks- the inspirations for the nickname "Squishy Bums"
Cooper being entertained by his crazy Uncle Phil. Thumbs up Uncle Spikey.

Back under the flight path....

A photo I will come back to when life in the concrete jungle of Shanghai gets to be too much...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hot bunnies

Ignore the fact that this video is posted on a site called College Humour"... this is actually really well filmed and put together- very 'art house'.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Things I see in the Church

This is from my Year One/First Grade Religious Education book (it was a Catholic school) which I found at mum and dad's place over Christmas.


I'm not exactly sure what I saw in the church, but I'm pretty sure it's the reason I'm now a Buddhist.