Note from my editor:  The site has had some technical issues and in the process of eliminating GoDaddy, WordPress, Facebook, general internet connection issues, and having certain sites blocked by the local authorities, everything pretty much blew up.  It took several additional days of troubleshooting and a few more rebuilding the site, but now we’re confident that it will stay up until the next failure.  Carry on.

I know you enjoy a good three-day weekend.  We all do.  So to, do the Chinese.  This past Thursday was the Quingming festival, or Tomb-sweeping day.  It is a day to honor family members who have passed with offerings in their honor and tending to their gravesites.  With the holiday landing on a Thursday, however, getting to a three-day weekend is a bit difficult.  The Chinese have their own approach to that problem.  Thursday there was no work because of the holiday.  Friday will be given as part of the holiday, too.  But the day off isn’t completely free – the work week will start on Sunday.  So it started with a three-day work week, three days off, then closes with a 6-day work week.  On my way to the basketball court (more on that later), a couple of the guys I was working with were saying that after Chinese New Year, a holiday where they get the entire week off, the following work week was 9 days long.

The pears are also finally resolved.  I was right – there is a station in the back of the grocery store with a guy operating a scale.  I still have no idea why the first cashier used my pastries in her tirade against my inability to find the scale-guy, but the problem is now solved.  I can do fresh fruit at the grocery store without fear of reprisals when I check out.

I’ve taken a few more trips down to the Bund.  I’ve made a pretty good panorama of the Pudong side – the one with the tall buildings – but it’s impossibly large and my PhotoShop skills are very lacking.  When I get it looking decent, I’ll post it.

I’m a goofball sometimes – a ham if you will – and enjoy a good laugh.  It’s the little things that keep me happy… There is a scam that happens down at the Bund where a girl will approach men pretending to want to practice her English.  She will suggest they sit for a tea so she can practice further.  At some point, she will get up and the bill will arrive.  Unknown to the scammed, they have been drinking tea that costs $100 or more per cup.  So…  A couple of other Microsoft folks were in from Redmond and we were taken on a tour by some of the locals.  On the agenda?  An afternoon tea at the Bund!  Our hosts had never heard of the scam, but I had lots of fun with them on that one.  Tea party at the Bund?  Really?  Just what exactly are you planning to do to us?

The Pudong and Shanghai Museum along with Xintandi (shing-tan-dee) were the other stops on our tour.  The museum was very interesting – we only made it through 1.5 of 5 floors before we ran out of time.  Definitely going back.  In my trips to Europe, I had felt humbled at the age of the USA versus the age of Europe and the monuments they have there.  Yeah.  They got nothing on the Chinese.  The Chinese had a civilization going almost 1,400 years before Romulus and Remus played on the banks of the Tiber river.

An area I enjoyed for people watching was Xintandi.  It had many more westerners there and lots of shops.  High-priced shops, but lots of them.  While I was here, nobody asked to have their picture taken with me, they just walked up and took it.  Even while I was sitting down.  It was odd.  There was one guy who held his camera to his hip and snapped pictures as he went by.  Another woman was pretending to take pictures of the building when she snapped one.  I smiled and waved for her picture.  She looked a bit embarrassed, but smiled herself and scurried away.  So maybe I’m not the only one doing the people watching here…

Pudong – I like that area, too.  Going to the top of what was once the world’s tallest building, standing next to what will be the world’s tallest building.  This is the area that was featured in Skyfall.  I’ve got some interesting pictures from there and will put them in the other posting.  For now, you can look out a window:

Click, hold, and drag in the picture to move around.

So now that it’s been a week+ since my last post, I’m also backed up on some pictures.  I’ll get a posting up tomorrow that will be mostly pictures and get caught up on them, putting the stories in each one – just click a picture to bring up a scrolling gallery.