Shanghai Pathways Blog

Understand ​China​ ​From the Local ​Perspect​ive



Chinese Style Blind Dating


A new dating show is sparking huge controversy online after inviting bachelors’ parents to judge if a candidate is a good match for their son, leaving the audience questioning whether Chinese men are overindulged and their families meddle too much in marriage. Continue reading “Chinese Style Blind Dating”

Chinese Parenting Style

Chinese Parenting Style

“Not to lose at the start-point of your children’ is somehow an alarm clock ringing to parents at all the time. In Chinese context, education is a business with the whole family as cooperators.” Continue reading “Chinese Parenting Style”

TCM – A Positive Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease


I first noticed my mother’s slowing body movement three years ago. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t spend any money on herself, so it took my father and I over three months to persuade her to visit the hospital.

There, we learnt about Parkinson’s disease. The doctor said that there is no cure for Parkinson’s and every word from him sounded like a death sentence. The solution was to take drugs and increase the dosage over time, but no matter what you do, it will only get worse and the drugs come with many side effects. This came as a massive shock – the thought that my mother would ever get this disease had never entered my head. I had a horrible image replaying in my mind of my mother unable to walk with me again, sadly sitting in a wheelchair. It was as if my mother’s life had been taken away from me. After countless consultations at different hospitals, my mother was in denial, then became extremely upset and lost hope. At this point, I started to look at alternative treatments, trying my best to help her out.


You may think it strange but most Chinese people have never had acupuncture. Ever since the Communist Party’s take over, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been disregarded as primitive witchcraft and almost no Chinese even consider it. Everyone wants a quick cure – fast food style treatment. After learning some of the basics from my teacher Lijie, I decided to give it a try and do acupuncture on my mother’s hand which always shakes. After just one month, her swollen hand went back to normal, and slowly the dark skin color on her hand also disappeared. Right now, you wouldn’t even notice that she has Parkinson’s Disease.

I still remember the first time I put the needle on her hand, she couldn’t feel the needle at all. Now, after 12 months she has sensation back and the acupuncture treatment has reduced from once every two days to once every two weeks.


Moxibustion is a Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy using moxa which is made from dried mugwort. It is primarily used to treat a deficiency of yang energy in the body. Yang energy governs movement and warmth. A deficiency of yang results in cold symptoms.

Since my mother’s body has become slow and inflexible, she always has very cold hands and feet. I chose to use stick moxa as a primary treatment due to the fact that it actually adds yang qi to the body. For around three months, my mother’s hands and feet have become warm again and she never feels “chilled to the bone”, or “cold in the heart” as we say in Chinese.


My mother used to hide the disease from those around her but as time goes on she has started to openly discuss her Parkinson’s with anyone who asks. Sharing her experiences, doing regular exercise and meeting new people has helped her. It was a matter of luck that we met the Qi Gong teacher, Yuan Feng, who was extraordinarily patient with mom. The Qigong Horse Stance helped her with chronic back problems and strengthening her legs. It relieves back pain by realigning the vertebrae, thereby relieving pressure, correcting posture, and allowing the chi energy to flow smoothly through the spinal column, thus healing scoliosis and a host of other back problems. Apart from the above treatment, my mother takes coconut oil to prevent shaking, has a Chinese massage once a week, together with Gua sha and Cupping to help her energy flow.

Parkinson’s Disease took my mother’s normal life away, but has given her back a new one. My family used to be secondary to my work, but now comes first. Because of my mother’s health, I’ve been forced to slow down, lead a healthier lifestyle, learn traditional Chinese medicine and enter a world which is alien to most people. I’ve learned you have to work with Parkinson’s, not against it.

I don’t think too far ahead, but for now, I’m by my mother’s side. She is getting better and is not in a wheelchair. Life is good.

Days of Summer in Shanghai

As summer approaches, everybody in Shanghai should be preparing to live well and stay fit during the hot and humid season. But how do Chinese people stay fit without suffering from the effects of summer’s intensive heat? During my time in Shanghai, I have received some great advice from family and friends on how to keep the summer heat at bay. Here, I share some of those wonderful suggestions with you:

Daily Life – Day to day solutions:

Compared with the other seasons, it is actually OK to stay up later in the evenings in summer and get up earlier in the mornings.

Summer bamboo mahjong cushion

In order to keep cool while sleeping or resting, some smart person thought of using natural bamboo blocks shaped like mahjong tiles and with a strong rope, created a plaited mat. It is a lovely Chinese summer cooling invention as many middle-aged and elderly people enjoy a 1-2 hour nap in the afternoons.

Cold shower

It’s summer and what better way to beat the heat than by replacing your scolding hot showers with a cold one? Lowering your water temperature can do far more than just cool you down. Cold showers can also help improve blood circulation, flush out toxins and boost energy levels.

Proper diet

A proper diet, especially during the summer months, is very important. My mother would always prepare nutritious light dishes and tell me to avoid oily and fried foods. Eating light does not necessarily mean being a vegetarian. It is recommended to eat lean meats eggs, milk, fish and soy bean products. According to traditional Chinese medical beliefs, most bitter tasting vegetables relieve internal heat. Vegetables such as sow thistles and bitter gourds are popular summer foods that help relieve summer heat, eliminate fatigue and bring the spleen and stomach into harmony.

Lu Dong gao or mung bean cake (绿豆糕)

According to traditional Chinese medicine, green beans help relieve internal heat, quench thirst and are good for detoxifying the body. It is the most popular snack in summer for many Shanghainese and as the name suggests, the most important ingredient is the mung bean powder which is mixed with pea powder, sugar and sweet-scented osmanthus flower.

Summer on a Stick

Juicy wedges of fruit skewered on a stick for 2-3 yuan is a summer delight. The vendors are on every street corner and the fruit sell as fast as they can be prepared. You can choose from a variety of fruits such as watermelon (西瓜) rockmelon, honey melon (哈密瓜), or pineapple. Cold, ripe, fresh and delicious!

Xiao long xia (crayfish, 小龙虾)

Shanghainese are crazy for crayfish in summer. The hot weather is just not bearable without these buckets of crayfish tossed with chili and downed by one or more cold, cheap Tsingtao beers. This is without a doubt, the most popular midnight summer food in Shanghai.

Summer ice creams

To keep cool, here are some famous old-school ice creams and popsicles that I just love. These Chinese ‘ice creams’ bring back memories of my childhood, when life was much slower in Shanghai.

Xue nuo mi ice cream (血糯米)

A popular milk-flavored ice cream stick is one covered with xue nuo mi, a kind of black sticky rice. The sticky rice sits on top of the ice cream and creates a unique flavor that balances the richness of the milk and freshness of the sticky rice. An intriguing texture that combines smooth cream and chewy rice.

Salty-sweet popsicles (yan shui bang bing, 盐水棒冰)

This is a classic. A household favorite that many Chinese make at home when they were students. The ingredients are sugar, salt and water and the slightly sweet and salty flavor is appealing and thirst-quenching.

Sweet red bean popsicles(hongdou bang bing, 红豆棒冰)

Sweet red bean is a traditional Chinese treat that cools the body, removes heat and dampness from the body during the humid summer. It is also said to help in the prevention of heatstroke. The combination of mashed beans and hard ice creates an intriguing texture.

Things to do

In order to cut utility costs during the summer months, many Chinese like to hang out in supermarkets, shopping malls, book stores and even subway stations. Ikea turns out to be a popular choice as it comes with furniture, affordable meals and refillable drinks. Additional ways to enjoy the season can encompass taking walks, dancing or taijiquan (a kind of traditional Chinese shadow boxing).

Dino Beach

Shanghai’s biggest water park, offers a selection of fun water rides including the 1,200-meter-long “Thunderbolt River” and “Storm Beach” wave pool — just be prepared for the big crowds.

Dina Beach Water Park, 78 Xinzhen Lu, near Gudai Lu, Minhang District 热带风暴水上乐园, 闵行区新镇路78号, 近顾戴路.

Oriental Sports Center

The best swimmers in the world came to this newly built sports center to compete in diving, water polo, swimming, synchronized and swimming Now it’s your turn to enjoy it!

Oriental Sports Center, 168 Jiyang Lu, near Yaohua Lu, Pudong New Area 2011世界游泳锦标赛, 东方体育中心, 浦东新区济阳路168号,近杨思路

Jinshan City Beach

You think Shanghai doesn’t have any beaches? You just haven’t been looking hard enough. Jinshan City Beach is an artificial beach with crystal clear waters. It is a rare thing in the vast sprawling metropolis of Shanghai to have a man-made delight of sand and seawater.

Jinshan City Beach, 5 Xincheng Lu, near Jintao Lu 金山城市沙滩, 金山新城路5号, 近金涛路

Bihai Jinsha Waterpark

Sometimes you don’t want to do anything but lay in the sun with a book and the pools here are perfect for that. Ignore the crowds at the water park rides and instead head to the sunbathing area where you can plop down in a deck chair facing the sea and take in the sun.

Bihai Jinsha Water Park, 39 Haiou Lu, near Jinhuitang Lu 碧海金沙水上乐园, 海湾旅游区海鸥路39号, 近金汇塘路

French Wines from a Chinese Perspective

10 years ago, red wine would be drunk as a highball with coke, and white wine with 7Up. In the old days, when it comes to the western wine, I only know two types: Red and White. Now, most of my Chinese friends would turn to me when they decide to order some western wine during parties, they often assume that I would have a better taste in wine simply because of the international travels that I did. During such occasions, I always say to my friends that “the more you drink, the less you understand.”

Is China becoming a wine superpower?

China uncorks more than 1.2 billion bottles of wine every year. Most Chinese people, saw fine wine primarily as a way to impress their business clients and guests and reach for French wine when they want to sip something special. Wine from Bordeaux is, by far, the most fashionable beverage among China’s elite. France supplies nearly 40 percent of the total wine imported by China in 2012 and China has also invested heavily in vineyards in France. By August 2012, an estimated 30 chateaux in the Bordeaux region had been bought by Chinese businesses and investors and an estimated 20 deals were in the pipeline.

The interview with Vincent Hess, general manager of Vins Descombe, has really opened my eyes and answered to this question. Just like the Chinese tea is sipping into western healthy lifestyle, many young people in China are trying to copy the western lifestyle, drinking has become a new social language in China. It promotes friendly relations between people during business dinners and parties. Vincent says: “Chinese mainly drink and order wine at restaurants but as the western wine is becoming more available from specialist wine retailers, stores or even supermarkets, they are also starting to drink more wine at home as well. They opt to drink wine because it is seen as fashionable, rather than the traditional alcoholic drinks often preferred by their parents. There is also a lot of talks about red wine is good for health and skin.”

Wine to show off

While there is a small growing group of wine connoisseurs in cities like Shanghai and Beijing, Vincent notes the bulk of wine consumers in China are still in the “beginning” phase, buying bottles to show off to their business partners or as an expensive present.

China has also become obsessed with one source and one source only – France. “Bordeaux was the very first French wine entering the market, and so much money were spent on marketing, so it has become a super brand for Chinese people,” Vincent points out. “When they buy wine, it is always the 1st option if they can afford it. Very often, rich Chinese people would come to Vins Descombe and just want to buy the most expensive wine which we have in the store.”

French really believe “a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine”. The common misperceptions about wine that Chinese believe is that wine is only for the rich people, and drinking wine means you are western educated. At Vins Descombe, some Chinese wine consumers even judge a wine by the label, they do not particularly like plain white labels, but tend to prefer red backgrounds and golden writing, as the two colors are regarded as lucky, and suitable for the gift season.

Wine to socialize

East has more of a private, service-oriented mindset, while the West has more of a public, business-oriented mindset. The tea ceremony is an act of service by one person toward another as a fairly private occasion, usually taking place in someone’s home or even in a special room constructed specifically for tea ceremonies. The wine tasting is usually a public occasion with any number of people participating.

“I have been surprised by the increase in the number of people who want to sign up for our wine-tasting club. And more and more Chinese people were able to tell the difference between two wines confidently in a blind tasting.” Vincent says, “Through wine and wine-related events, you can know people with similar interests and similar income. So it is an easy way to make friends and create business connections.” Some of his Chinese client tells him that “If we don’t drink, you don’t get the same atmosphere and things are not as lively.”

“It is quite hard for Chinese to understand when they read ‘hints of blackcurrant leaf’ in the tasting notes, because they don’t have blackcurrant China and there is just so much chaotic wine information online.” Vincent says, “To teach people about wine, you have to speak their language.”

Perhaps very soon, the stereotype of foreigners knowing more about wine than Chinese is about to lose ground.

Pairing Chinese food with French wine

In Vincent’s opinion, wine is like women: really attractive in the outside and so complex in the inside. Sometimes so complex that not able to understand them fully. Food and wine pairing is a complex art that only few are able to master. The best achievement for a good food wine pairing is not only that wine and food goes along but more that wine brings another taste to the dish and brings it to another level, following are the insider’s info from his own experience with Chinese food:

Sichuan: beaujolais chilled or Rhone Valley wine

Shanganese food: white chardonnay or Burgundy

Peckin duck: Beaujolais

“The Chinese are very interested in our wines and buys a lot. They’re looking for companies specialized in producing high quality wines,” said Vincent, “Not only we are selling French wine, we also share with our clients about the French culture and arranged wine trips to France.”

The Unmarried Crisis in China

At the age of 28, right after my one month holiday break in Europe, I got two interesting books from my friend Amanda, one is “I Know How You Become the Leftover”, the other one is “How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You”.

The most fantastic thing is that my friend carefully made notes in these books and highlighted the important instructions. Let’s try to imagine my facial expression at that moment when she handed me these books with excitement. If you know me well, you could tell that I laughed really hard.

“You got to be kidding, does these books really work?” I asked with amusement after going through her notes quickly and thinking it is going to be a nice business if I try to write one similar book as well.

Amanda and I has very different personality which almost feels like the Yin and Yang’s. With the fact that we have known each other for more than 10 years, our difference in life style only made some conversation more interesting and fun. She has witnessed me getting all sorts of rewards at university and some achievements in business, I have been closely updated with all of her dating stories and studies of different men.

In China, beginning at 25, women must “fight” and “hunt” for a partner, so they will not end up alone. By 28, it implies the heat is really on, telling women “they must triumph.” Between 31 and 35, these women are called “advanced leftovers,” and by 35, a single woman is the “ultimate” leftover. Because people talk and the neighbors ask, parents feel social intimidation and start helping their beloved single child. It is easy to sense the pressures my friend has right now, Amanda is older than me, almost 30, surrounded by married woman at work and her parents are much more traditional than mine.

Now with these two books sitting quietly at my desk, I wanted to share more insights with all of you about the biggest crisis in China – it is not the economic slowing down, not the island dispute between China and Japan, it is the unmarried woman and man in big cities.

According to a study from the University of Kent, in ten years China will have approximately 24 million unmarried Chinese men who cannot find wives. That’s more than the current female populations of Taiwan and South Korea combined.

In big cities like Shanghai, there seems to be much more single woman than single man, woman from the country side are coming into the city to full in the need at the growing service industry. And as you might notice, Chinese women have become quite a strong power to be reckoned during the past 10 years. According to Forbes magazine, 11 of the 20 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese. In fact, there is even a phrase for their sudden rise: yin sheng, yang shuai, which means the female (yin) is on the up, while the male (yang) is on the way down.

However, single Chinese women who are older than 30, are viewed for being too picky or too modern and cosmopolitan, or are pitied for being overlooked, and called “leftover ladies” (shengnü). They can also be described as 3S lady – Single, Seventies, Stuck, or the SAS lady – Single, Attractive, Successful.

By now, you might wonder why these women are becoming the leftover ladies while there are so many single man who can’t find a wife? It has something to do with the ABCD rule in Chinese culture, and here is the secret behind everything:

A type means the best in the market, then it follows with B, C, D types.

The ABCD rule goes like that:

A man looking for B woman

B man looking for C woman

C man looking for D woman

When you have A woman and D man, they are pretty hard to match, right?

China also has a convention of men marrying slightly younger women and women marrying slightly older men. A widely publicised survey in 2010 by the government-backed All China Women’s Federation showed that that 92 percent of men questioned believed that a woman should be married before the age of 27.

As beauty is perceived to decrease with age, women’s marriage “shelf-life” is thus shorter than men’s. Therefore a 30 years old man is more likely to date a 22 years old woman who just finished university than his smart and clever female co-worker. It is also an every man’s dream to find a “Bai Fu Mei”(White – Chinese man prefer whiter skin, Rich and Beautiful).

Every Saturday and Sunday, at the Shanghai marriage market, parents, with or without their children’s consent, arrange meetings, dates and potential matches for their kids. Some children, often too busy working to devote time to meeting a soul mate, accept their parents’ help. But its not easy even for a parent, and many also employ matchmakers to help with their search. But according to the local matchmakers, every 1 single male follows every 5 single females.

The history of the market started in 1996, by a small group of elderly people(less than 20 people) trying to help their kids, later on it was reported by the local media. Now by 2012, it is the largest one in China, with more than 1000 people attending in a day. Hundreds of worrying parents gather up, regardless of the weather, clutching single sheets of paper that present their children in simple phrases — age, height, education, job, salary, whether they ever studied abroad and whether they own their own apartment. Chinese parents believed that it is better to set up date offline than online. Over the internet, everyone is richer, taller and better looking. Over here, at least you can meet their parents face to face.

While everything seems to be so material based by the parents view towards relationship, known as “Love is a luxury, not a necessity”, and many are hoping to marry a “Gao Shuai Fu”(Tall, Handsome and Rich), or looking for the “5 Cs”(career, cash, car, Credit Cards and Condominium) and it is no secret that some women in China are gold-diggers and use marriage as a means to acquire wealth, however “shengnu” are generally educated, well-to-do females who support themselves and have less of a need than their mothers and grandmothers did to enter a marriage for economic reasons. Therefore the majority of “Shengnu” are still hanging in there as they don’t want to compromise their hope in finding the true love or at least a bit of chemistry. They no longer views marriage as just being about securing a future through money, a car, and a house. And disagree with the idea of marriage just for the sake of it, even if it means facing pressures from their parents and endless reminders that nobody will want them after 30.

So does Shanghai marriage market work at all? It’s wildly known that it is busier than a wet market, but the success rate is worse than a job fair. But a friend told me a true story.

A 29 years old lady does not have boy friend, and since she is approaching the expiration date, 30 in Chinese standard, her father worries a lot.

So on a Saturday, he went all the way to the marriage market, it took him 2 hours by bus because they live far from the city area. By the time he arrived there, the market almost finished. He rushed – almost run into the center, but accidentally he knocked a woman down.

Feeling sorry and embarrassed, he apologized to her and then they had a chat. It turns out that she had a son who is also 29 years old. So they agreed to let them meet.

Guess what? After 3 months, their son and daughter are happily married. More amazingly, one works as an accountant, another is a banker.

Well, I think we just need a bit of luck in life, right?

As modern Chinese women, there are no more foot-binding custom to keep them from achieve their dreams in life. They are encouraged to pursue education and develop their careers, and be self-sufficient and independent. At the same time, they also desire to follow the traditional path of marriage and family.

For better or for worse, Chinese women are on her own terms now.

A Day with Janny

Sometimes I wondering what does it feel like to spend a day with me for people travel from other countries, what sort of experience do I bring to them, etc. Sometimes I wish to get into other people’s mind and see what will they understand from the prespective which I gave to them during a tour.
This is a post from Brian Krueger, he is an Internet entrepreneur, author, lecturer and business leader on the subject of entry level job search, especially for college students and recent graduates. Brian was most recently Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition for before departing to become Co-Founder and CEO of Mobile Recruiting Ventures. He previously worked for IBM and Computer Sciences Corporation. 
In 2011, Brian and his wife Kristin spent a day walking around Shanghai with me, and they will return to Shanghai in 2013. I can’t wait to show them more of Shanghai.  They have a very nice blog for their world cruise.
Following is their story of the Shanghai trip in March 2011.
When we woke at 6a, we were already tied up alongside the dock.  I went out looking for a city view or possibly a peek at a sunrise, but we’re pretty boxed in here at the port and it’s still pretty foggy.  Here is the best pic I could get from port side of the ship (we are tied up starboard side):
This pic is of the Yangtze River with the Pudong (new Shanghai) skyline in the background.  Just to put size and scale into perspective, most of those skyscrapers in the background are 40-60 stories and the tower is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, one of the world’s largest TV towers.  Behind those two boats going further upriver are scores more stretching as far as the eye can see up the Yangtze River.  I was talking to one of the ship’s officers and he said that we arrived so early to get on the other side of the convoy, which he said will continue in one direction for 6 hours, then the boats going in the other direction will go for six hours.  Most of the boats are carrying coal, like the boat in the foreground of the pic above.  Shanghai is the world’s busiest container port.  There is a building with “Cosco” on the top of it right outside our balcony, not sure if that is global headquarters for Cosco, but we see Cosco ships all the time in Puget Sound back home.
Shanghai has a total population of 23 million, so about 3x the size of New York City.  It is the world’s largest city proper in the world (some other cities are larger in their metropolitan area).
It’s going to be a pretty warm day today, although this is a high chance of rain.  Forecast high is 62 and low is 51, which is warmer than normal.  We’ve had a string of good weather throughout this trip.  Yesterday was rainy, but we were at sea, so we were snuggled up inside with plenty of indoor activities going on.  Our port days have all been warmer than the normal average and very dry.  We’ll see if today keeps the record going, in spite of the forecast.
We did a Bible study and video sermon this morning from John Elliott entitled “Freedom from Slavery” then did some walking around Shanghai later in the day.

Janny Chyn was our local walking tour guide for the day.  She gave us a good overview of the city in several different areas.  We went first to Yu Garden.  Here is a gate as we came near (but not yet to) Yu Garden:

These people were doing a form of tai chi that looked kina like our Zumba class in the morning:

This is the more traditional tai chi, being done on the sidewalk with scooters racing by:
They were lined up along the sidewalk, about 10 or so people, all doing tai chi:
Another traditional Chinese building on our way to Yu Garden:
Look at the people in the foreground of the picture with their dogs in the basket of their bikes.  Janny said that this is one of the ways people take their dogs out for a walk in China.
This is a local dumpling maker.  How would you like that job, filling up the dumpling containers?
Lots of the dogs we saw in Shanghai were dressed in a variety of outfits.  I like how this one had both a top and pants:
This is at the entry to Yu Garden, these flowers floating on the water:
Inside Yu Garden, one of the traditional buildings facing the garden.  Note also that the trees are blossoming behind Krissie:
Note the lentil in the doorway above.  Janny said that the Chinese are very superstitious and they build things to keep the evil spirits from entering.  So the bridge to enter is in a Z configuration, because evil spirit can only walk straight and they cannot jump (hence the door lentil).  There is a mirror in the house to keep them away, since if they see their own reflection, they will be frightened and run away.

I liked how this stone entryway framed the garden behind:

You can see more of Yu Garden here.  And note that throughout the day you will see what looks like a “mist” in the background of the pics.  That is actually mist and it lasted the entire day:
There were dragons in several areas of the garden, this wall was topped with one:
There are elaborate lanterns and ceiling decorations in the buildings:
Still in Yu Garden, very picturesque:
This is on the top of one of the buildings, note the warriors and the dragon:
Two dragons facing each other over a gate:
There was a nice koi pond in Yu Garden as well:
Note the stone behind Krissie—that is a very rare and valuable stone, so it was made the centerpiece of what the owner of the garden would face from the nearby building:
Another tree in early bloom:
Look closely at this poodle.  It is wearing shoes:
Do you know what this is in the pic below?
We guessed cable box, Internet connection, phone connection, electrical box, all wrong.  It is a milk delivery container.  One key for the milkman to open it, another key for the local owner.

These children were walking down the local street:

Note that they all wear pants with a flap that allow them to both have their diaper changed easily as a baby and to go to the bathroom as a toddler.

Do you know what this guy is carrying that looks like a big flower pot?

Yes, it is a pot, but not for flowers.  It is a chamber pot.  He had just emptied it and is returning home.

This guy is cleaning out his chamber pot after emptying it:

We then went to Xia Hai Temple where Janny showed us how they lit the incense…
…then bowed at each position in each direction:
This is the entrance to the first temple:
Buddhism in China is a combination of several influences, including Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto.  Lots of Buddha statues:
Afterward we walked through a market area where they were cooking local delicacies:
And selling live chickens  If you look closely, you will see the remains of chickens in the red tub below:
They kill and de-feather the chicken right there at the shop.
This guy was selling a variety of beans as we made our way to the Jewish Ghetto:
There is a mix of different modes of transportation including bicycles, scooters, strollers and walking, all mixed on the same streets:
This is the interior courtyard of the Jewish Ghetto.  Many Jews relocated here between 1933 and 1939, although only one Jewish family stayed in 1949 when the Communists took over:
There is a park in the Jewish Ghetto where the kids were out playing:
The three boys on the right were fighting over the green ball:
These two men were playing a form of Chinese chess:
This is a hot pot restaurant, where you buy food on a stick, then cook it in a hot pot:
We had lunch at Shanghai Min Restaurant:
Shanghai food uses more soy sauce, is sweeter and uses more oil than typical Chinese food.  We had chicken soup, beef tenderloin wok style with peppers, asparagus and Shanghai style fried rice.  It was the highlight of the day for Krissie (mine was cricket wrestling and marriage market, coming up soon).  The lunch was wonderful, the dessert (sticky rice) was awful—yuck!
Even though I didn’t get a picture of it, several times during the day we saw people walking around in just their PJs.  Janny said it’s more comfortable for them to walk around in their pajamas.
Then we went to the cricket and bird market.  Outside they were selling cans for storing your cricket, small ones for normal crickets and large ones for fighter crickets:
Do you know what these are for?
The trays at the front are food dishes and water dishes for your cricket.  The grey and orange pentagon pots in the back are “cricket taxis” for moving them from one place to the other.  Top right are brushes, which are used to tickle the crickets to get them to fight.
There were all sorts of birds for sale in the market, cage after cage after cage:
This is the different type of bird food for sale, made right there on the premises:
Or you could buy a little worm to feed to your bird:
This is cricket food, sold in small packages:
Here are the fighting crickets for sale.  No kidding.  They have cricket fights (looks more like cricket wrestling) and then bet on the matches.  The Chinese like to bet on just about anything, including cricket wrestling.  Janny said this guy was probably there all day examining the crickets to decide which one to buy as his fighter:
He would take out a cricket and put it into this small container, then tickle it with one of the brushes you see on the right.  If the cricket showed its teeth (I didn’t know that a cricket has teeth?), that is a good sign that it will be a good fighter.
This is a cricket match on TV, the one on the right is about to attack the one on the left:
Yes, this is two crickets in a duel to the death (or until one of them breaks a leg), then the match is over:
You could just buy a “normal” cricket to make a cricket noise that you could carry around in your pocket.  Or several crickets to give you a peaceful sound to put you to sleep.  But a fighting cricket would cost anywhere from $1 to over $1,000.
Krissie in front of the more expensive birds.  If they sing and/or talk, that commands a higher price:
Krissie in front of the Shanghai Museum at People’s Square:
Then we went to the Marriage Market:
Parents come to the Marriage Market to make matches for their children.  It’s more than just a few parents coming together to try to matchmake their kids, they are very organized about it, including putting up personal ads about each guy or girl:
Note the pic in the one that is top left.  It’s rare to see a pic.  But you will see age, what type of job they have, how much money they make, where they live, what kind of car they drive, etc.
I had to act like I was taking this pic of Krissie and Janny to get the actual pic I wanted of the people behind them.  Most of the ads are placed on an open umbrella:
This guy was very popular:
When Janny read the ad, she found out that the guy’s son is 28 years old, earns 180,000 RMB/year (about $30K/year) and she said he was a hot commodity.
Janny is 28 and said that when you are over 30 and single in China, you are viewed as being “expired.”  She said that the A guys go for the B girls, the B guys go for the C girls, the C guys go for the D girls, so the D guys and the A girls are left without.  She’s an A girl, so if you know of an A guy in Shanghai who isn’t intimidated by an A girl who has a good education and a great job, contact Janny.  If you need a good tour guide in Shanghai, she’s great.
We rode a subway over to the French Concession.  When we first got on, we were squished in like sardines.  But then we switched to another subway after a few stops and it wasn’t as crowded.  Note the girl and the little boy in this pic working the crowd for money (the girl is singing, the little boy is begging):
We went into a part of the French Concession that used to be narrow back alleys, but is now converted to retail shops and restaurants:
Nice place for young people to hang out:
We ended our day on The Bund, with a view of Pudong on the right of the pic and our ship (very faint) in the middle left of the pic (not the one in the middle of the river, further back).  It’s still very hazy, but we haven’t had any rain:
Janny also took us to the Fairmont Peace Hotel, which has some wonderful art deco design:
Then we walked from The Bund back to our ship (also visible in the background of this pic, but again very hazy):
We ate dinner on the port side of the ship, where we could see the Pudong (new Shanghai) skyline when a brightly colored ship went by:

Stay in Shanghai – The Hotels

Finding a good Hotel in Shanghai can be tricky, but here is a list of good suggestions:

The Bund Area

Go with Les Suites Orient will be a good choice, it is the largest boutique hotel in Shanghai. The building’s foundation and first four floors date back to 1860, a small yet warmly decorated restaurant and eclectic decor that mixes vintage radios with traditional Chinese pottery and interesting antiques.  The river-facing rooms of this Shanghai boutique hotel provide sweeping views of the entire Bund and the curve of the Huangpu River. The night view is particularly impressive when buildings on both sides of the river are lit up. Inside their room, everything is controlled within a small magic box – placed right next to your bed, which means, you don’t even have to move your leg or left your arm to open the window curtains – this maybe the real reason why I fancy it so much. However, their food is really just so so, but this is the only 5 star hotel in Shanghai which provide umlimited tea(all western tea bags, no Chinese), cookies, internet and nice free hotel rooms for their guests. 


About 20 years ago, Shanghainese used to have a saying that “I’d rather have a bed in Puxi(the old Shanghai) than have a house in Pudong”. Well, things in Shanghai just change too fast. Pudong has become a really fancy area in 20 years and it has the best and the tallest hotel in China, Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt and Shangri La are the top choices.

French Concession

JIA Shanghai, it is a place includes sleek furniture, funky lighting and edgy artwork, super good for your eyes but you will have a hard time to find where is the hotel entrance. URBN boutique hotel is China’s only carbon-neutral hotel. It recycled and sourced every piece of building material locally. It has its own water filtration system for on-site purification. Environmentally friendly cleaning products, light bulbs and shades are used to cut down the hotel’s energy use.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: