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13th Sep 13 at 03:09pm

To my dad...one year on...

Today is the Morkel’s France wedding anniversary.

Today is also one year anniversary of my dad's passing. Dad passed away a year ago today sometime late morning.

This morning during my walk-ercise, I was thinking very hard about how to commemorate his passing, how to remember him, a tribute, in memory. Should I sit in a park later on, think of him solemnly? Light a candle? Read his letters once again, cry my eyes out and down a bottle of wine, which I did last year? What shall I do? I wanted very badly to do something.

As I power walked on this hot sunny September morning, I couldn’t think of anything that would resonate, anything that felt right. 

Suddenly, a thought came from nowhere. I realized as I pushed on, out of the blues, that this walkercise, this very walking is my tribute to my dad.

He loved walking. He never failed to do his evening walks, right up until his mind failed him when he didn’t want to leave the house. And walking was my way of bonding with him when I was young. On school holildays when I came back from Singapore to spend time at home, I walked with him around our neighbourhood.

We walked, we talked, we shared, we gossiped, we laughed. Those were indeed one of the best daddy moments in my life. As I thought more, tears poured out of my eyes and then I knew, that, that very moment of walking is just what I needed to do to remember my dad. I felt it deep deep inside me, reassuringly. It felt so sad yet so special.

Thank you Dad, thank you for reminding me that it is the simple things in life that matter, the everyday things we do. Not the pomp not the champange.

To my Dad!  

1st Sep 13 at 06:09pm

Collection of Silly Menus and Signages

I am going to start collecting these. Initially I couldn't be bothered because there is just too many of it floating around in China. Shop fronts with the funniest English names. Bless the Chinese as you can't blame them, maybe blame google translate. Whatver the real reason behind the bad Chinglish, it's worth collecting. There must be a website where people can post these funnies....

This same restaurant has an outlet in Pudong International Airport where I first came across their speciality on their menu. Come on....Pudong airport? Hello? Lots of international tourists/travellers etc etc you think someone would do something about this?? 

    

   

 

 

 

1st Sep 13 at 06:09pm

And life goes on in Shanghai with its quirks, summer heatwave and Pet Shop Boys

We have just come out of Shanghai hottest summer in 140 years. Since mid July, we have had continuous high, blistering Dubai-like temperatures that just went on and on and on. For 6 weeks the temperature dance around 38 to 42 deg C. Some weather apps claimed real feel that went as high as 46 deg! It did feel like it. I felt I was back in the Middle East.

It became a daily routine of taking 3 showers what with biking around. Forget about walking. At least with the bike there is somewhat a breeze, even though its oven like breeze! 

And then suddenly, the weather changes and last night was distinctive. You could just feel summer is done for and Autumn is near. We walked back home after dinner and with a sleeves blouse, I swear I needed a pashmina or light cardi!

Wow!! Seasonal changes can be quite fun!! I get it now!! 

After brunch this morning we went for one of our self guided walks with a guidebook in hand and yes, walking time is back in Shanghai!! Pleasant, super comfortable temperatures, though warm in the sun but not that scathing stiffling OMG-I-am-going-to-die-in-this-heat-like weather!! 

Happiness in the air!! 

One of our highlights this summer was for sure the Pet Shop Boys Electric Tour in Shanghai! I loved every single minute of the 1.5 hours concert. Fabulous for a group that has been around for a long time. Neil Tennant is 59 and you have got to give it to him! He can still sing and certainly hasn't lost any of the glamour and fabulousness. Very unlike the 80's concert we saw in Dubai with Paul Young, Belinda Carlise, Boy George and some other has beens. They were a wee bit sad. Even though we did enjoy the concert and danced all night to the songs we grew up with. But Pet Shop Boys, they still have it!! 

4th Jul 13 at 04:07am

Filling my blog...

With ....

 

 

Which one do you like best?

 

4th Jul 13 at 12:07pm

Summer Reading

Add info here...

4th Jul 13 at 04:07am

Sexy Summer

Summer has arrived! Woohooo!!

This is what we have had for the whole mth of June. The dreaded Plum Rain Season, rainy, grey, super dreary, mold growing season! 

(Photo taken June 12th, Imandarin (language school) Dragon Boat Competition at the Shanghai Aquatic Centre in Qingpu, haour and a half drive out of Shanghai city centre. David was pat of a project/work team) 

This is what it is since this week!

 

Photo taken from my study window.

19th May 13 at 10:05am

Farewell Spring until next year

Spring has been temperamental this year. It's has been hot and cold and hot and cold, hot and cold, hot cold.

I bitched about it being still cold so late, then I bitch about it being wet, then I bitched about it being too hot too early. I shout every morning Can't you make up yr bloody mind??' cause I just don't know what to wear today! 

But alas....Spring is no more.

Note to self, stop complaining and bitching about the weather and enjoy it before it disappears before your eye!

Every Spring the cherry blossoms next to our compound bursts into the world with its beautiful bloom. It makes coming home so heartwarming and happy.

This is one of my favourite streets in the French Concession which I just discovered with Karen. It's Yu Qing Lu. Absolutely beautiful tree line street and on a Spring day, you could just walk on forever on a street like this. 

19th May 13 at 06:05pm

Zhaji in April

To celebrate Mate's birthday we had a wonderful weekend in a tiny but charming village called Zhaji in neighbouring Anhui province. Zhaji is about a 6 hour drive east of Shanghai with about  2,000 inhabitants, primarily known for its Ming Dynasty styled houses, virtually unspoilt since.

It is in the popular Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) area, smaller and less well known than the UNESCO status villages of similar fame - Hong Cun and Xidi. You can read more about these villages here.

To me, to us, we do not care about the UNESCO status nor its popularity. It only meant more people, bus loads of tourists, not our scene. Zhaji is quieter, less to do, less to see certainly not any less beautiful.

Like Hong Xun and Xidi, Zhaji is also popular spot for art students to sit and paint or draw all day. There are bus loads of tourists but it takes them less than an hour to see the entire village so many don't stay and it's just a quick stop among the many other places to see.

Zhaji is so lovely and quaint. Little lanes, old houses. Although, give it another year or so, commercialisation will soon set in as many many houses are being renovated and probably turned into brick a brack shops, guests houses, restaurants and stuff for tourists. For now, it's still a good balance, there is enough for the tourists to see but not yet over run.

There is only place to stay in Zhaji - in Chawu guest house. For now. Julien Minet, owner of Chawu, bought the Ming Dynasty house 10 years ago when he fell in love with the village and its people. He originally bought it to live in it himself. He took a couple of years to restore and renovate it but decided to turn it into a guest house a few years ago.

It is tastefully decorated as authentically Chinese as possible, except for the big fire place in the living room. There are 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a toilet upstairs, another bedroom with an ensuite downstairs, a dining room, kitchen and sitting area in front of the fire place. Throw in a lovely garden, a tiny pool, mountain views, old lanes and Chinese styled roof tops. It's a formula for success.

For us, it's the entire experience. Firstly the guest house itself; quaint, comfortable and modern (he had electric heating  as it was still cold when we went). Julien himself. It takes a certain type of character to do what he does. He was interesting, engaging, hospitable, friendly without being too intrusive and has many stories to tell from his years of living in China. The meals, 3 X a day, home style Chinese food, no frills nor fancies but tasty and simple, cooked by Julien's neighbour. Included in our stay was a complimentary guided tour to the hillside. We followed our guide Shan Xing up and down hills, across paddy fields, passed Ming and Ching Dynasty grave stones and tombs, learnt about plants that he and the villagers were familiar with as food, medicine, poison. We saw an old pagado dated even earlier than Ming Dynasty. 

Rural China. Beautiful, raw, somewhat still messy and dirty but authentic and unspoilt. Best of all, no crowds!! 

This was China at its best. A gem yet undiscovered. 

 
   

An old grave from Ching dynasty. The side of this hill was dotted with numerous graves and some have been opened like above probably due to roads being carved into the hills. 

28th Apr 13 at 06:04pm

I miss hiking in HK

At the same time we went for our cultural fix in HK, we took the opportunity to do something different this time round. Enough of the partying, drinking, eating and shopping. We went hiking!!!

Since we were staying with Chris in Discovery Bay, it was perfect. We took the cable car to the Big Buddha and walked down to Cheung Sha Beach! The weather was unbelievable kind to us, superb for hiking!!

You can just about see our flat in the background on the right.  It's part of the set of 3 blocks next to the hill.

Hong Kong is actually very green. It's incredible that within 20 minutes of a dense, busy, chaotic city, you can be smack in it with nature.

Just beautiful! I do miss HK like that! 

19th May 13 at 02:05pm

Easter in Shanghai

My lovely Indian writer friend suggested we go for Easter service at the oldest Church in Shanghai. We were blessed with good weather, a typical spring day, clear blue sky, cold.

A Hindu, a Buddhist, a Jew,  a Church of England and Mishi and Scott's beautiful daughter strolled into St Xavier Church, also known as Dongjiadu Lu Church, the oldest and most well preserved Church in Shanghai. It was built by the Jesuits in 1853 and is also the first foreign built church in Shanghai.

David and I had been working till midnight the night before. We have had a busy, hectic and fairly stressful week. So to sit in Church, listening to spiritual sermons and holy music, soaking up the atmosphere was divine! Considering none of us are very religious, it was meaningful in other ways! 

Later at night, in contrast, David and I went to a Public Image Limited concert at Mao Livehouse. In case you don't know, PIL is a post punk band formed by Johnny Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols. Pretty amusing to see many bald and over weight on the wrong side of middle age gweilos who remember Sex Pistol and PIL from their youth, mixed with trendy young Chinese kids int just about everything they can get hold off.