Friday, August 2, 2013

Footprints : Tokyo

Oh hello pseudo readers!  Thanks for your concerns, July was a very hectic month hence the lack of updates! In short, I was back in Singapore for a wedding and I came back to an empty apartment because the Mr was back in the UK. I promptly proceeding to cry myself to sleep for the next two weeks andthatmeantIpotteredabouthehousebeinglazy.

We flew to Tokyo at the end of July for one of Mr's old friend's wedding. We I have always spoke about how much I want to visit Tokyo and so this seem like a good opportunity. The Mr also took this chance to whisked me away for a birthday trip, how very generous of him!

Once we dumped our bags and had a quick change, we went out for dinner. First stop of course, would be Shibuya! I don't think one can fully fathomed the dynamics of this place until one is really there, especially at night when all the lights come on, people are out to play and the noise is just... loud.

I commented to the  Mr that Tokyo reminded me of Edelweiss. Small and bright, clean and white, I was very happy to be there. It's so drastically different from Shanghai. The Japanese are so smiley, courteous and polite. No shoving! No litter! No cars beeping! Everyone stands at the right side of the escalator! Its sad to say but having lived in Shanghai for seven months now, I think I have gotten used to the dirt, polluted air, noise and yes, generalizing now, the people, so much so that Tokyo was such a breath of literally, fresh air.

Standing near the famed Shibuya cross roads, you feel so
insignificant with the sheer number of people. 
The next day, we travelled an hour out of Toyko to this small coastal town called Zushi for the wedding. 

 Meet Mr & Mrs Chris Idon'tknowhislastname

Oh you know, just telling the groom my trademark, registered, patented idea of
how I plan to harness energy from lightnings. 
Bait ?
Glorious evening
We just seemed to naturally gravitate back to Shibuya
Because the Mr thinks going to Disneyland is 'such an Asian thing to do!' ,
 I can only pose like one outside a shop.
The retort of 'BUT I AM ASIAN' fell on deaf ears. 
One of our best meals! The melt in your mouth Kobe beef. 
We had to draw our dinner
Fill in the blank: The owner of this car has a very small _____.

A unicorn decked in MCM, bet you've never seen one! 
Sayonara, Tokyo. You've stolen my heart. 
Upon arriving back in Shangers, I immediately fell into depression. Doesn't help that some lameassphucker slashed the sled's seat. Right, signing off now to nom on some Tokyo Banana. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Footprints: Hanzhou/Xidi

After about six months in Shanghai, whenever people asked me where I have been, I can only smile sheepishly at them and say...Nanjing. They will look at me incredulously and with open eye disgust and go 'What about Suhang? You HAVE to go, how can you be in Shanghai and not visit the two nearest province, blablabla...'. Suhang, is colloquial for Suzhou and Hangzhou. Both are about 1-1.5hrs away by high speed rail and easily done in a day or the weekend. 

So over the Dragon Boat festival, we booked ourselves a trip to this place that J kept raving about called Xidi, which was a four hours ride from Hangzhou. 

The high speed rails surprised me. They are efficient, on time and CLEAN. 
Of course, what's a visit to Hangzhou without checking out the famed West Lake? The weather was rather shitty but while we were walking around the lake, the clouds broke for about 15 mins to offer us this view.

West Lake
 The next day, we embarked on a three hour bus ride to Tunshan. From there, we met up with our driver and it was another hour's ride to an Unesco World Heritage Site, Xidi.

Before the trip, J kept raving about the unspoiled charms of this little village. The last time he was there was about three years ago, and he was blown by the historical value of the place. Relatively untouched by capitalism and tourism, Xidi has managed to keep her charms.

Tiled roofs
Welcome tea and snacks
The winding alleyways with no street lights. It gets really dark and quiet and night! But the crime rates are really low as the village consists of about only 300+ families and they all know each other. 

Took a short hike up the hill, with a fantastic view of the ancient village
Feeling top of the village! 
These stones are probably older than I am. 
 We also went to a neighboring village, about 20 minutes away, called Nanping. Nanping is as old, if not older than Xidi. It made famous when they filmed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon there and in the surrounding places.
An ancestral hall where Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons were filmed.
An extra for the movie, many years late. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Une Cafe Une Semaine - Tick, Tock's

After a late Friday night at Dada, awoke to a rainy day in Shanghai. Pottered around a little before deciding to have a late lunch/early dinner aka 'linner' at Tock's. Newly opened and located in Henan Zhong Lu, it caused a minor confusion when we rode there and saw that it was a little fried chicken shop. We went 'what the...' before realising that the restaurant was just a little way further up. Tock's specialises in smoked meat. According to Timeout, he 'cures his beef brisket for two weeks in a mixture of spices he developed specifically for the China market, then smokes it for 14 hours.' 

Entrance with a menu
The decor is quite the norm of a bistro, wooden benches and wall murals.

Quite a small place, but cosy
After being shown to our seats, we were asked if it was our first time time. They then gave us a plate with some smoked meat for samples.
Hailing from Canada
 I am not a huge fan of smoked meat as they tend to have too much of a smoky taste. Duh. I know, I'm weird. But Tock did it really nicely. The saltiness of the cured meat blends in very nicely with the smoky flavour and the taste is not over powering.
Look at that! 
We were deciding between the beef sandwich and the platter, as the description in the menu sounds similar.  We asked the server on the difference and the answer was 'Beef sandwich as two slices of bread and the platter, four.' Right.  We opted for the former.
Really with 2 slices of small bread
Although I don't get why they can't give proper sized bread - the bread although soft and fresh, seemed cut from a baguette loaf, which means that the size is not proportionate and too small to actually make a proper sandwich - they were quite generous with the meat. 

And because we were still hungry, we decided to order the platter. Said decision was quite bad as it just seem like a deconstructed  beef sandwich. Still finished it though, because we are such greedy pigs we shouldn't waste food.
Beef Platter 
It's not as pricy as I thought it would be, the beef sandwich and platter, two cups of latte costs about 200RMB. Overall? Yea, it's a place I'd go back to again.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Little Dude Comes to Town!

When my parents first mentioned that they would like to visit me in Shanghai, I immediately asked requested DEMANDED for them to bring my darling boy along. At first they were hesitant about bringing him - the costs, no freedom, troublesome, etc but all hesitations quelled when I said I'll pay for his flight, put him up at mine and bring him out over the weekend so they can go to some boring offshore island 

It was something that I was looking forward to ever since I came here. I see him almost every day back home in Singapore and then none at all when I got here. Skype calls back are useless because it's so hard to hold the attention of a 3 year old when Thomas and friends are much more interesting than his Yiyi. :( 

I think I was much more excited about his arrival than he is. In preparation, I went to Carrefour and bought his shower stuff, a ball, a Frisbee and a remote toy truck (which I don't have the opportunity to give!). Also bought lots of fruits and made watermelon popsicle which I knew he'll love - it also works as a healthy bribe. 

Finally! Day of arrival and I was almost bouncing off the walls with excitement! One of my worries is that he would have forgotten who I am and we wouldn't have the closeness that we shared. The cab drove into the hotel lobby and when the door opened, he was there albeit groggy eyed from the nap he just took. I swooped him up and oh joy! My darling boy is here with me! 

Once he properly woke up, it was like nothing has changed. He is still the sweet and lovely boy and prefers me to my parents when we're all together. I love that he still likes holding hands everywhere we go. Over the few days that we spent together, I thought it might be hard to discipline him but he still listens to what I say, although sometimes it takes a few 'BENJAMIN!' and 'NO' to get his attention and that I meant business.  

This little boy has grown so chatty and smart. In the mornings he'll wake me up with songs 'Ants on apple a a a. Balls are bouncing b b b..' or 'The wheels of the bus' and we'll watch Thomas and Friends The Great Discovery. We will also read his Thomas book together. His demands for chocolate biscuits were incessant.

So happy to be holding him once again. We broke the ice by
sharing a box of raisins,which he kept feeding me with. 'Yiyi eat!' 
Feeding the fishes. I stuck his hand into the pond and he was surprisingly calm.
Although after a while he was like 'Yiyi, don't let the fish eat my hand'. LOL
Watching the fountain at Yu Garden
<3 td="">

I miss the routine of making his milk and putting him to sleep.
Although in this case he cheated  me of a bottle, was demanding to watch Thomas after he finished. -_-
The Little Dude looks so adorable and cute with his little backpack. On the way to brunch! 
Playing with the big boys
Knackered after a day out
Building a 'house' puzzle together with Uncle J
Getting ready to go for lunch on Sunday, before heading to the hotel for a swim!
The boy and his car
Threw a tantrum. He was tired and nothing makes sense to him and he refuse to sleep.
Rejecting every single thing and  cried for about an hour. 
Took a 'train' at People's Square after dinner
With the grandparents
What could possibly hold him in such attention other than Thomas?
This was probably the 4th time he watched it.
He grew more and more horizontal. 
I missed having him around. I missed tackling him and blowing 'farts' on his stomach. I missed walking my fingers down his face, getting stuck in his nose, jumping down into his mouth and escaping down his chin and him erupting into chuckles. I missed holding his hands everywhere we go. I missed singing songs with him. I missed him telling me to drink whatever cold drink I was having so he could drink it too. I miss his smell. I miss toweling him dry and putting moisturizer, baby powder and his oil on him.  I miss reading with him. I miss him. Just one more month till I see him again! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer in Shanghai!

Well well, let's see. This weekend was a very chilled affair. Met the homies at the park for some lame frisbee throwing, chips, wings and beer at The Boxing Cat and then went for a facial at SkinCity 5.5 and tried microderabrasion for the first time. I gottta say, although my skin is blotchy and sensitive now, it is much softer. 
Meet P and E, my PIC*! 
On Sunday, woke up late and we went to Cafe Sambal for lunch because I was craving for roti prata. Turns out they only have roti chennai and it's 25rmb for a piece. Somebody, set that place on fire please. In the evening, J and I went to a circus acrobat show called Era: The Intersection of Time. I was quite excited about the show because of all the good reviews, and it did not disappoint. For two hours we sat there transfixed and the crowd going 'waaaah' and several 'ohmygod' from me. Some of the stunts they did actually left my heart in my throat, and as J puts it so aptly 'I kept watching waiting for something bad to happen'. Tickets aren't cheap but really, just buy the 400rmb tickets because the venue is small and there is not much difference between 400 and 600rmb tickets. 400rmb seats are just two rows from the floor and you rather have a vantage point too see more anyway.

Had to sneak these cuz they prohibit photography.  
Saw this post here and decided to do one for fun. 

Things in my bag (left to right):
- furry pouch from Daiso (from Singapore**) that acts as my make-up pouch
- LV wallet (from Paris)
- Bag that I bought in Bangkok
- Apartment and moped keys and mini 8GB thumbdrive held together by Cath Kidston keyring I bought in London
- Sunnies from H&M, bought in Paris
- Tissue
- Chocs that I grabbed from the fridge before going to the park on Sat (some random supermarket in Shanghai)
- Cath Kidston card holder that holds apartment, metro and office card, bought in London
- Clinque lip gloss (PVG duty-free) and BodyShop lip balm (Delhi)
- iPad mini (from Singapore)

What's in yours? 

The Accidental Mom Blogger

*PIC - go watch this film and you'll know what I'm talking about. 
** I was trying to recall where I bought each item which is why there are locations stated.