Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dontcha wish you lived in Shanghai China, just like me....

Yummy! Check out my latest find....I'll never be able to move back to AZ now!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A few photos ..from the weekend...

Here are a few from our authentic chinese dinner on Sat. It was about a 5 minute walk from the house and was really good! We will for sure go back..as every dish was great. The kids loved everything, too. We had 17 people with all the kids and our total bill was about 700 rmb, which is about $100USD. Pretty cheap, and it included beer.

Here is a pic of the dining room, is that traditional chinese style dining, family style, big round tables with lazy susans, oh and almost forgot - the cigarette smoke - gack! was bad...when we first walked in all the kids kept their hands over their mouth and noses. They wanted to put us in the middle of the room but we convinced them to seat us elsewhere, I think using e's method of - why? why? why? till they give in:

Here is where you can choose your dinner, if you like:

and here we are, eating! yes, Delaney enjoyed the ribs...:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

No dinner problems the last couple of nights at least!

....as we have gone out. I promise to next time take pictures - I got a new small digital for Xmas for the purpose of snapping pics while out and about and I am still in the "oh I forgot to bring my camera mode"...but its coming, really.

Thursday we went to a wine dinner at Lawry's Prime Rib hosted by a wine store we frequent here. It's called Napa Reserve and they are a distributor of only Napa wines. Their family owns Howell Mtn Vineyards in Napa, are Chinese and they have this store here to sell Napa wines in China. The son, Zeon runs the store here and they always have fun wine activities. The dinner was yummy....scallops, prime rib, etc - with way too much wine and champagne flowing a bit too fast. (as in, you have one sip and they are adding more to your glass!) This is good, but not sure it is so good on a Thursday night when you have to get up early the next day! We brought along 2 other couples and there were about 20 people total there. Was very nice. I will digress momentarily to an event I went to a couple months ago they hosted. E was traveling so I took a friend and it was an Opus One tasting, with wines from 9 different harvests. The president of Opus was there and spoke about the winery, and all the scoop. They had prepared a specific amuse bouche with each wine and it was really nicely done. I was quite glad I went despite E being gone.

Friday night, despite the fact we were pooped, we ventured out to the Shanghai World Financial Center for dinner. This is currently the tallest bldg in the world and really amazing to go to the top and see the city. We however, didnt go to the top, we did the opposite and went to the basement! I had heard they have a food court there (yes, called a food court?) so we thought we would give it a try. Well, this was nothing like a food court, trust me. Next time, as we will go back, I will post pics. It was incredible. There were about 12 different choices of "restaurants" and it was very upscale - tableclothes, silver, waiters, a very nice cocktail lounge etc. The kids were thrilled to sit at the sushi bar and have yummy fresh sushi. I was happy to have a brickoven pizza from one of the better italian restaurants in town that has a branch there. We definitely stood out and as we walked to each spot to look at the menus the people working there had seen us arrive and wanted us to sit in their area. Pricewise, it was a bit more than you would pay at a US food court...ok a lot more, but it was really not food court dining, it was more a restaurant type atmosphere.

Tonight, well, we are going out again! Michele was a bit disturbed I think, we are eating out and taking the kids, but oh well. We are going local here to a chinese restaurant - the traditional kind with the huge round tables and you order a ton of stuff to try. We're going with 2 other families which always makes it fun. Maybe, just maybe, I will take some pictures! all for now!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What is for dinner tonight, ma'm?

This is a daily conversation we have here, Michele and I. One day maybe I will plan for the whole week at a time, but don't count on it.

Today, as always "what is for dinner tonight, ma'm?"
I respond "we'll just have the leftover potato chowder I made Sunday and grilled cheese sandwiches"
Michele says..."wow" ...."even you?"...
Me - "yes, I can eat soup and sandwiches for dinner"
Michele..." but Sir, E? He will eat that for his dinner, too?"
Me - "yes, even Sir E."
Alrighty then. Until tomorrow. Any ideas what we should have for dinner?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jet lag, continued...

Today I slipped off for a massage at my favorite spa here. There are so many places to go - one on all corners, but the one I like tends to be a bit more western in atmosphere and feels more "spahhh like" compared to some. I tried a treatment I have not done before, but for sure will be doing again! Here is the description:

"Happy Landing"
Refresh yourself with our in-house remedy for jet lag and travel discomfort that combines 1 hour Chinese massage with a half hour of Oriental Foot Massage and a special half hour Foot Therapy to relieve swelling. - 2 hours, 340 rmb

The special foot therapy was a peppermint mask applied to the feet, then they were wrapped up tight. My feet are still tingling!

Here is a link to the spa, in case you want to check it out:

One big concept here in China is the Frequent Buyer Card type deal. Many places offer something similar, and at Dragonfly - if you spend 5k rmb, they give you 4k rmb extra on the card. So you end up getting the treatments for about 40% off. Therefore, the treatment I had today was about 180rmb, or $30. Whoever comes to China to visit, the massage is on me!

This is how we roll.....

I think we need psychiatric counseling. Really, I do.

Jet Lag, day 1...and day 2....

We didn't have jetlag when we arrived in Phx. We all adjusted well, slightly different schedule but it worked - up later at night, slept later in morning. After going to bed Sunday night at 930 - we tried to stay up but could not do it - I woke at 2, and everyone else woke at 300am. yes. 3 am. yikes! I made french toast and scrambled eggs and we unpacked while the kids played with toys and just enjoyed being home. The kids went to school - and did fine during the day. I tried to keep moving as I knew otherwise, I would be snooooozzzziiinng.. About 6pm, D crashed on floor in family room and I decided to take a power nap and get up about 7. Well, I never got up - not good when you are trying to get on the right time zone! We all managed to make it till 4 today - I made bacon, eggs and toast this morning (at 430am), and we all had plenty of time to get ready for school...and I was so perky and awake for my mtgs that began at 6. Now, to try and stay up till closer to 8pm tonight...I hope we can do it!

Women dao le! (we have arrived!)

back in China, that is. Long way. LONG way. All in all the trip was fine, but did I mention it was long? And did I mention when we got to the phx airport I realized we were missing a bag? When you have 10 bags, and 4 carry ons, its easy to overlook one - but yes indeed - *MY* bag was still at the house. Luckily, I was able to have my mom bring it to the airport and we got it checked in with about 2 minutes to spare.

Phx to San fran is only 2 hours, then we had 2 hours in the airport, then we boarded the SFO to Shanghai flight, which lasted over 14 hours this time. Yes, you read that right - 14+ hours. Was nice family time. (ha!)

All in all, everyone did fine -the first 7 hours is the worst..really - if you can get through that, you can get through anything. E managed to sleep? which he never does while I - who normally sleeps - kept peace between C and D. They weren't *quite* as angelic as they were on the way over, but it could have been WAY worse. It's just hard to sit there and we were all tired - but just not quite tired enough to sleep. We did many laps around the plane and saw c's teacher and a girl from his class.

A few travel tips I would recommend to those going long distances with kids -
1. ipod, with favorite tv shows loaded, this is a lifesaver!
2. sticker books/activity books for the younger crowd - D loves to do these and will work on them for quite awhile before getting bored
3. food - bring a few treats, along with something more substantial - ie, pbj, cheese stick, nuts, etc. I have to say all airplane food gets worse and worse...this is a good diversion every so often to pull out something new
4. portable games - of course the DS and Psp are well used
5. computer games - some educational games not requiring internet usage can be fun, too
6. then...just sit back and relax and enjoy not being connected to email or the phone!
( I actually had a mom behind us compliment me on my stash of stuff - I had to laugh, as I am so not the organized one - never had a diaper bag, etc. however, I guess having flown a few times like this you learn quickly - if you fail to plan, you plan to fail and 14 hours of failure is not good!

So, we arrived about 615 Sunday pm...got all our bags collected and made it home - we were all so happy to see Yu Wei...D almost ran and gave him a hug - she stopped herself but was funny. Michele had prepared dinner and helped us get started putting things away and we were all in bed, asleep, by 930.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Any good suitcase packers around?

Today will become a day of packing. I tried to pack lightly coming over. I really did. We brought extra bags we planned to fill and I didn't bring tons of clothes for anyone, knowing we would buy some and I could wash daily. However. It is not going to be pretty. CDR got an electric razor scooter for xmas. That is not a small item. Plus all the clothes, dollies, FOOD items (yes, still bringing back some food - a few items I can't name, but then some other things you cant find - Luna bars? my pumpkin flax granola, bbq sauce, beef consumme, etc..etc...) and we are stuffed to the gills. Anyway. I am sure we will work it out but it may be a long day. Wish us luck. Maybe I'll snap a pic of the finished product!