Monthly Archives: November 2008

Shanghai Ugg boots

While it’s well known that ginger kids are best suited to colder weather, my feet have been walking iceblocks since Jack Frost rode into town recently. So, while walking around the street markets near Yuyuan Garden I was pretty chuffed to run into these Gorilla Ugg boots:

Half man, half monkey and 40RMB poorer my toes are in a much, much happier place.

Eat the pomelo, eat the pomelo, eat the pomelo

You say pommelo, I say pomelo – is the sweeter father of the grapefruit and now in season around China. I was first introduced to the giant of citrus about a month ago and keep going back to the fruit shop weekly, sometimes twice a week, to grab one. It’s certainly healthier than the dumpling addiction and rich in vitamin C to ward off the loogies during the cold winter in Shanghai.

While the grapefruit is bitter, the trick to eating a pomelo is to get rid of as much of the membrane as possible. Inside will be a sweet, almost honey flavored citrus flesh.

What: Pomelo or yòuzi (柚子) in Chinese
How much: Seen them between 3RMB and 40RMB. Buying them from local fruit shops is much, much cheaper than western supermarkets.
Where:Best bought at fruit shops or street vendors
How to pick a good one:I’ve been told to pick pomelos that are round with no or little flat edges and heavy for their size.

Empire of the Sun film clip shot in Shanghai

A few months ago Luke Steele (Sleepy Jackson) and Nick Littlemore’s (Pnau) who make up the band Empire of the Sun shot a film clip for their first single in Shanghai.

The song is called “Walking on a Dream” and is pretty cool. Don’t take my word for it, check it out below:

Empire of the Sun, “Walking On A Dream” from Benjamin Technology on Vimeo.

Chilling out in Hangzhou

After living closely with Shanghai’s other 20 million residents for a period of time its recommended to get the hell out of dodge occasionally. Last weekend we did just that and caught the train down to Hangzhou.

Hangzhou is a lazy 180km south of Shanghai and is one of the more stunning areas of China we’ve seen thus far. The area is one of the centre pieces of China’s beauty and culture with the picturesque West Lake surrounded by mountains covered in thick forest. It’s one of the big tourist areas in China and has plenty of visitors from all over mainland China. Suffice to say my ginger hair and our pale skin got quite a few stares. Obvious stares.

There’s enough cultural temples, tombs, ancient stories, pagodas, and other ancient ruins to keep you busy for a week but if none of that interests you then just kicking back by the lake and enjoying the abundance of green is cool too.

We mixed it up a bit and saw Lingyin Temple, an active Buddhist temple originally founded in 328AD which houses some of the most magnificent statues I’ve ever seen. Also on the cutural list was the relatively new Leifeng Pagoda. Neither of us were surprised when we found out the old Leifeng Pagoda fell over in the 1920s because people were stealing bricks from it in the belief they held some magical powers.

Other than that we just took it easy by the lakeside, ate some great food, and rode around on hired bikes around the lake. I think we’ll be back so this won’t be my last post on Hangzhou.

Where: West Lake, Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province.

How to get there: From Shanghai catch the train. You can get tickets at the rail station but it’s best to book ahead so grab tickets at the various train ticket offices around town. I got mine just around the corner at Jing An Temple and they spoke perfect English but there are a few offices around:

- At YMCA, 123 Xizang Nan Lu, Huangpu
- Corner Hua Shan Lu/Beijing Xi Lu, Jing An (Next to Post Office)
- CITS office nr cnr Hengshan Lu/Dongping Lu
- Yi Shan Lu (between Nan Dan Lu/Hongqiao Lu – 500 mtrs from Grand Gateway, Xujiahui

Try and catch the D train. A first class ticket will cost around 75RMB one way and you’ll travel in style at 160km/h. We caught the T train to Hangzhou and it was a bit slower because of the stops but is was still comfortable and a bit cheaper.

How to book a hotel: There’s plenty of online reservation sites or you may want to try direct but I found to work fine and the cost was reasonable.

Getting Around:The best way around West Lake is to either walk or hire a bike. For trips to some of the cultural attractions you may want to get a taxi, which can be hard to get at times, or squeeze on a bus. The buses are easy enough to follow so get a concierge to help you or you can work it out at some of the bus stop signs. While cheap the buses aren’t a walk in the park – the buses are constantly overloaded and it’s a fight to get on. If you catch the metro system in Shanghai you’ll be a seasoned campaigner at this but defeats the purpose of taking it easy.

Touch football in Shanghai

This week I went to the midweek touch football (that’s touch rugby or 6 down for you South Africans) at Huo Che Tou Stadium. It’s been a while since running anywhere except on a treadmill and I haven’t ran faster than a canter since dodging some traffic on Beijing Lu about a month ago so your trusty scribe was a bit rusty. Well, that’s my excuse anyhow.

Shanghai Touch Rugby

Shanghai Touch Rugby

The crowd are from all over though I heard a few Aussie and Kiwi accents, the odd British accent, one Irish and even a few yanks (or maybe they were Canadians?). While relaxed and friendly everyone is keen to get in and have a good run around so be prepared to sweat and have a laugh. There’s a good vibe to these games with a good split of guys and girls.

A word of caution: The ground is synthetic grass so wear long socks if you plan to slide around and think before diving for that meat pie in the corner. No metal studs.

Where: Huo Che Tou Stadium, 955 Gong He Xin Lu. It’s right next to Zhong Shan Bei Lu station on Line 1.
When: Tuesday Night, 8-10pm
How Much: 50rmb(guys), 30rmb(girls), 30rmb(students)
Website: bookmark this to keep up with the latest info and join the mailing list.
Map:Click here

Print for Taxi Driver:
近中山北路, 地铁1号线中山北路站