The people here are very personable and friendly.  They love to laugh and they’re not afraid to approach strangers – a topic for another posting.  I did go out one morning in search of some locals doing Tai Chi or just some sort of choreographed exercise.  It wasn’t really difficult to find them.  I wanted to get some pictures of them, but most didn’t turn out so well because I was afraid of being disrespectful and disturbing to those doing their exercise.  I know if someone showed up at the club and started snapping pictures…  Well, I might ham it up a bit, but it felt odd imposing on others.  One gentleman, pictured in the gallery, was doing a rehearsed choreograph with his sword.  He kept getting to the same point and forgetting the next movement.  He would repeat the last move several times, trying to find that elusive next step, but it didn’t come to him easily. What I loved most about this image was that he finally did get that next step while doing this ancient choreographed exercise with a red-tasseled sword – in front of a Donut King.

One of the things I have observed about the women here is that they will walk arm-in-arm with one another.  Not all of them, but enough of them that I noticed it.  It reminded me of my Grandmother and my Grandfather’s sister, Aunt Jessie.  The two of them walked together that way, leaning on one another for support and being close enough that they could carry on their own private conversation in public.  Seeing these women walk together in a similar fashion reminds me of those two and makes me smile.  For those of you who have ever seen Adventure Time, Aunt Jessie was saying “Yeah-yus” long before Finn and Jake.  It’s just a Malta Bend, MO, two-syllable way of saying “yes”.  So now I smile twice.  Yeah-yus!

I’ve already heard from many people about the pig situation here.  For those that haven’t heard – head on over and read this. I suppose I should be concerned, but all I can do is avoid street vendors until they stop pulling pigs out of the river.  I can’t not order pork here for two reasons.  One, most places I go in I have to use a picture menu which means I don’t usually know what I’m ordering and two, pork here is like chicken in the States.  It’s in everything.  So, since I can’t really avoid it, I’ll just have to be as reasonable as possible, smile, and swallow hard.

In one news article I read, it quoted someone from Beijing saying that the government was so nice to them there, all they had to do when they wanted a smoke was to open the window.  “That’s nothing,” replied someone from Shanghai.  “All I have to do here is turn on the tap for free rib soup!”  Thank goodness my apartment has water delivered…

The air quality here in Shanghai isn’t the greatest and varies from day to day.  There was something at the airport when I first landed that gave the air a very metallic taste (yes, taste), but I haven’t noticed that again since.  I brought some generic Claritin with me and it was noticeable the two days I’ve forgotten to take it, so I’m trying to be more diligent with that.  In the gallery below are a couple of pictures from my window – I’m on the 23rd floor of my building and have some fairly decent views when they present themselves.

Mandarin lesson #2 tomorrow…  Most likely a short post if one at all.  I leave my apartment around 6:30 in the morning and the nights when I have my class, I’ll get back around 10pm.  Mayhaps the bus will provide an opportunity…  We’ll see.