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The Magical China Trip 2012

On the Plane and Arriving in Shanghai

CHINA | Thursday, 27 September 2012 | Views [332]

26 Sept. - Retro Restaurant, retro dishes

26 Sept. - Retro Restaurant, retro dishes

On the Plane

I had conversations with several nice people on the plane.  My seatmates were a young man from Shanghai who had been in the US for six years and a woman, originally from Shanghai, who has been in the US for 20 years.  She was returning to visit because her father is in the hospital.  I also met a couple of educators who are delivering talks at Sanda University, a new private university in Shanghai.  They will be spending the holiday in Hangzhou and Suzhou, which is where I will be after the holiday.

Arriving in Shanghai

We landed exactly on time and I zipped through customs with nothing, of course, to declare.  Huiling and a friend met me as I came out of customs.  What a nice treat to see a familiar smiling face!

The first thing we had to do was to eat!  This is a very strong Chinese custom, so, although I had eaten on the plane, I loosened my belt and participated with enthusiasm.  Huiling and her friend took me to a very special restaurant that evokes many memories of school for them, where we met her friend’s wife.  If I heard correctly (and, since it was in Chinese, I may well have not got it right), Huiling’s friends either met there or he proposed to his wife there.  It is very small and cozy with metal school desks for tables and retro enamel dishes to eat from.  The rooms are covered in the kinds of posters that were hung at schools, along with chalk boards containing inspirational slogans:  “Study well every day to contribute” - or something along that line.  It was a fascinating ambiance.

We had a delightful feast!  I am attaching the pictures to the blog and hoping I have the dish names correct.  Huiling’s friend wrote them down for me, but I have to remember which name goes with which dish.  (By the way, I forgot to ask the names of Huiling’s two friends, so I apologize for not knowing them.)  Every dish had a different flavor, color, and texture, and all were very, very good.  I tasted everything and had a very hard time to not stuff myself sick.

As it was, it was a relief to have a modest breakfast this morning.  I am including a quick shot of my choices from the breakfast buffet that the hotel provides.  They had everything from cook-to-order chicken eggs and toast to purple sweet potato porridge and “various cold dishes” that looked like cooked vegetables.  I enjoyed the watermelon, tasted a spoonful of buttery fried rice, and consumed a half cup of the porridge, which was good, but definitely not sweet – which was just as well because they didn’t have honey and I used a bit of raw sugar for my coffee.  I rather liked the coffee, too, because it was strong enough to peel paint!  I used milk and the little bit of sugar to mellow it, and had three cups.  All in all it was a very relaxing breakfast.

One thing I am liking a lot about China is the size of the furniture.  All the chairs are short enough to allow my feet to touch the floor.  Apologies to all my tall friends, but it is wonderful to relax in seats that fit.  The planes try to gear themselves for the average 6’ Caucasian male, which makes them too big for me to sit comfortably.  I had opportunities to stand and walk enroute, but upon returning to my seat my “sit upon” became numb very quickly.  I kept a pillow or jacket behind me in the seat to push me forward enough so that my knees could bend around the edge of the seat.  And I still don’t think they’ve got it right for tall people, either.

[Except for historical figures, I am trying to use first names in this blog to balance between personal and private information.]

Tags: shanghai


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