Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sing Me A Song

Karaoke is huge here. HUGE. But it isn't the typical setup many of you are accustomed to. Karaoke (or KTV as it is known in China) consists of long corridors, filled with private rooms where you can belt out your favorite tunes. The rooms vary in size, depending on how many friends you have brought along for the fun, and some even have private bathrooms (I highly recommend that feature!).

(photo stolen from my friend Lesley's blog)

A waiter will come when beckoned to fill orders for drinks and food. While most venues are open 24/7, Friday and Saturday nights are usually the most crowded.


Once inside your room, you use a touch screen to select your tunes. The system is generally in Chinese so it's best to have someone along who can read a few characters. Or just press buttons and hope for the best (that's usually what I do). Most places will have songs in English though the selection will vary from spot to spot.


Once you've made your selection, you simply sit back and sing along. Microphones are provided in each room and if you are lucky, so are musical instruments (think tambourines and maracas). 

And sometimes strange things happen. Like the time Michael Jackson impersonators randomly crashed our room.


At least they let us keep the gloves.


There are KTV spots all over the city. Seriously. Almost every corner has one. A few of my favorites are:

Shanghai Gechang
688 Huaihai Middle Road (near Sinan Road)

Mago KTV
98 Huaihai Middle Road (near Longmen Road)

Monday, August 26, 2013


The following conversation took place recently between my husband and yours truly.

For the record, I actually typed wing. But apparently living in China made my autocorrect assume I meant Wong. On the bright side, at least it didn't change to Wang.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What We've Bean Doing

On Sunday, Matthew and I participated in the annual Shanghai Photo Scavenger Hunt hosted by Bean. Bean is a networking, volunteering, and social group for young professionals in Shanghai. We've participated in a number of events put on by Bean and I have to say, this was my favorite thus far.

The photo scavenger hunt had us running all over Shanghai looking for landmarks, making fools of ourselves, and just having a great time. While we didn't win this year, here are a few highlights from the day (not all these photos are from our team).






00 Best Individual Picture




Head over to Bean's Flickr page to check out more photos of the day's shenanigans. And next year, we're going for the win.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pet Care in Shanghai

When moving to Shanghai, bringing our cat along was non negotiable. If we were moving, so was she.


I previously outlined the steps we took to bring her overseas, but also wanted to share some resources we have found since moving here.

Pet Supplies

Wills Pet: I order all of my cat food and litter from Will's Pet. Their website is bilingual and they offer free same day delivery service. That's right, they deliver 25 lb boxes of cat litter to my door. They also stock a nice variety of imported pet food, treats, and accessories. And they text me when the food I buy is in stock. This is by far one of my favorite vendors to work with in Shanghai.

Pet Zoo: Before discovering cat food delivery, I bought Snowball's food and litter here. And I probably would have continued to buy her food here if they hadn't stopped stocking the food I was using. They offer a number of different imported food brands, all of which Snowball stubbornly refuses to eat. They also have in house grooming and veterinary services, none of which I have personally used.

Mignon Boutique: I loathe pet stores and firmly believe in adopting pets not buying them from stores. So while I do not endorse them as a pet shop, I have found Mignon Boutique to stock imported foods, treats, toys, and litter. Plus, they are around the corner from my apartment which makes it easy to for me grab food if I am in a pinch.


Veterinary Services

Shanghai Pets Are Wonderful (PAW) Veterinary Clinic: Snowball goes to PAW for her checkups for a number of reasons. First, they follow international standards for veterinary medicine. Many local vet training and licensing standards lag behind those in Western countries and I wanted to ensure she got the best care possible. Second, PAW came recommended by Second Chance Animal Aid, one of the animal rescue organizations in Shanghai. PAW takes care of all the shelter kitties which endeared them to me immediately. The staff here speak English and are all well trained.

Doctors Beck and Stone: I have not personally used this vet however, they also follow international standards for veterinary medicine and employ a large number of Western educated doctors. Their staff speak English and come highly recommended from JAR, another animal rescue organization located in Shanghai.


Pet Sitting

I have a good friend who looks after Snowball when we are out of town. She snuggles her, watches movies with her, and loves her as much as we do. However, if she is unavailable, we turn to:

Pet In Shanghai: Offers reasonably priced pet sitting in your home while you are out of town. They come 1-2 times per day and even water plants if you ask them. Very trustworthy and worth the peace of mind when I'm away from my baby.

Do you have any favorite pet vendors in Shanghai? Anything I left off the list? Feel free to leave a comment below with your tips for taking care of our furry friends in Shanghai.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm feeling hot, hot hot

It's been a rough few weeks back in Shanghai. It isn't jet lag or feelings of homesickness that have me feeling a bit cranky though. It's the heat. Day after day, we have seen temperatures over 100 degrees F (or ~38 C). In fact, last Wednesday was the hottest day ever recorded in Shanghai.


So how have I been dealing with these oppressive temperatures? By turning into a hermit, that's how. And on the rare occasions that I do venture out of the apartment, I find myself covered in sweat within minutes. Heck, I even took three showers last Thursday.

Which is why I find it hilarious that the women in Shanghai put on more clothing in this sweltering heat.

Yes, that is a winter jacket.


In China, very white, pale skin is considered beautiful. And the women here will do just about anything to keep their skin fair, from skin bleaching creams to wearing long sleeves as the temperatures begin to rise.

And for the first time in my life, I have been praised for my paleness. Guys, I've found my people! 


For years, I've had people tell me to get a tan. Or that my white legs are blinding. But me in the sunshine is like tinfoil in the microwave. A combustible combination that usually ends with me covered in a heat rash and crying. 


So while I may not opt for wearing a winter jacket while biking in 95 degree temperatures, I at least appreciate not being teased for my whiteness. Heck, maybe I'll even invest in a sun umbrella this week.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

White Cloud Temple

Situated on the former location of Shanghai's western city gate, the White Cloud Temple or Bái Yún Gùan is a Taoist Temple located in Shanghai's Old City.

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 4.42.21 PM

To be honest, there isn't a whole lot of information available about the temple and only a handful of signs here are in English. The modest entrance fee of 10 rmb (~$1.63 USD) allows you to enter the temple and compare it to the many Buddhist temples located around Shanghai.


The temple is made up of a number of rooms such as the Palace for the King of Medicine, the Founder’s Palace, and the Palace for the God of Fortune as well as offices and residential units for the monks. Once inside, you'll encounter incense burning worshippers, practicing monks, and a hall full of gilded deities.


From my limited understanding, deities are assigned by birth year and you'll have fun trying to figure out which is yours. Mine inexplicably has feet coming out of his eyes.


To visit White Cloud Temple, head to 239 Dajing Road, near the Old City Wall off Renmin Lu.

Monday, August 5, 2013

How to eat Chinese baked goods

Today I have a lesson on eating Chinese baked goods. I know what you are thinking. Why do I need a lesson on eating? Don't I just find food and then stick it in my mouth?

But trust me on this one. You do not want to blindly stick a Chinese baked good in your mouth. Take this little breakfast pastry for example. He looks harmless enough. Flaky, buttery crust topped with a smattering of black and white sesame seeds. What could be so dangerous about this little guy?

Well, he just so happens to have a hot dog inside. I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of surprise sausage in my mouth. 

How exactly do you avoid finding random meat products in your baked goods? 

1) Inspect the baked good. Look for hints that a revolting piece of flesh is hiding inside. And don't be seduced by whipped cream or blueberries on top. This is just a distraction. I once bought a frosted donut only to discover a frankfurter hiding inside.

2) Rip that sucker in half. 

If you are unable to determine whether or not a hidden surprise is awaiting you inside that benign bagel, simply break that puppy open and have a look. It's the only guaranteed way to avoid a mouth full of meat with your danish. 

Unless of course you like a side of sirloin with your strudel. In that case, proceed as usual. But for the rest of us, give your croissant a second glance.

Side note: Now that Google Reader is gone, I've switched over to Bloglovin. And here is a link to follow my blog there.
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