This weekend I received the opportunity to take part in a yoga and wellness retreat. Yoga classes, hiking, time outside and food were all in the books.
Before leaving for summer vacation Kyle and I had just moved into a new apartment. Even though it is only four blocks away from our old place it seems like a different world. Our old address on Wuding Road had grown to become a hip bar area for foreigners while we lived there. When we first moved in there were two bars and zero import stores. Two years later a new string of bars and restaurants and three import stores meant it was a popular laowai (foreigner) hangout.
We decided to move for a change of pace (and cheaper rent). We liked our old place, but since neither one of us did much work at home we had a lot of unused space. We are only four blocks away from our old place but it’s a much different vibe.
With the new neighborhood comes exploring. On any Shanghai street there are plenty of places to get your hair cut. I usually go to a reasonable $10 dollar place in the old ‘hood but with more and more foreigners in the area the salon had become rather busy. As I didn’t want to wait (days) to get my hair cut I decided to try a new place. Right outside our apartment is a nice looking salon but cuts there are $20 which I deemed too much. So I decided to go local. Our neighborhood is more “local” so why shouldn’t I be as well.
There are many hole-in-the-wall hair salons where mostly, older locals go to get their perms, shaves and dyes and I decided to give one a try. The hair dressers at this locale weren’t too welcoming (unsurprising, service is sub par n China) but my hair dresser got the job done. I was quite nervous not only for my hair but also for my eyes and neck because my hairdresser was quick with the scissors and I was certain they were going to fly out of his hand any second. Luckily I escaped lacking cuts or stab wounds but with a decent trim for $3.22. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from this adventure but I’ll be back.
On a related note an American, Ben Ross, had an interesting adventure living and working in a Chinese hair salon for a year. Also, a quick look in to hair stylists in China here.
My all-time favorite fruit, the banana, has been (temporarily?) replaced. Bananas are always delicious and abundant but they seem a bit heavy for this heat. And this heat is serious. There’s no use in making yourself up for the day because no matter your activity you will be dripping in sweat. I’ve also heard that in Traditional Chinese medicine you aren’t supposed to eat bananas in summer because they are too wet and heavy for your digestive system this time of year. Got to keep my Qi in line.
On to my new favorite: the mangosteen. There is an abundance of strange-to-me looking fruits in Asia and too often I stick with what I know. But at the park the other day a friend brought mangosteens and was not only kind enough to share but also to show me how to eat.
To eat you have to apply pressure with your hands and twist. The fruit will then split open revealing the edible inside part. It light and sweet, sort of like a grape. Supposedly there are a bunch of good-for-you reasons to eat this fruit, but the best reason of all: it’s tasty.
A great Sunday spending time in the park with friends. It’s still smoldering hot and humid as what I presume hell to be like, but I don’t mind a bit of sweat in a relief to escape the air con. The highlight of the park was two grannies exercising. And exercise they did….
My new bike. The day before I left for vacation my bike was stolen and below is my new beauty, a “Flying Pigeon”.
Garden Hotel Park. Hot, hot, hot.
Weird exercise and lots of hitting yourself as exercising are common sites in China. But this woman took it to another level. I admire her.
And then she got her friend to take part. “Bear walking” the hot new exercise among the older exercisers in Shanghai. Give it a try – it tones your whole body and will give you killer buns!