So, as I told you, I'm very busy! It turns out that every Wednesday from 10:00 am -12:00 Noon, Denice and I jump on the Metro and ride it four stops to Huangpi Road which is the Metro stop for Xintandi (pronounced Shin Tan Dee). It's a lovely area - somewhat like Southside Works in Pittsburgh. However, the Sikumen buildings here were once located somewhere else and an architect took them all down, brick by brick and had them moved to this location where they are all two and three story buildings housing great restaurants and shops. We've been to some of the restaurants and some of the shops. We've determined what shops are too expensive for us and what restaurants are just out of our price range. We've eaten at the Latina restaurant - Brazilian Bar B Q and Luna which was a Spanish tapas. We've also bought a few items that are great!
There is a wine shop there called Vin - who is run by our good friend, Jack who comes to Shama - our housing compound - once a month for a wine tasting. Mike and I have managed to buy maybe 4-5 bottles from Jack. His prices are high - yes, much higher than the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. However, his shop is much smaller than the typical PA Wine & Spirits store and I'm sure his overhead is higher. He's very nice and trying to make a living so we give him business and stop in to see what else he's got once in a while. He gives us a 20% discount on bottles and that is good. Last night we had a wine tasting here at Shama and there were 4-5 wines - I only liked one bottle last night - a South African red wine. We bought one bottle of it. The Pino Grigio from Chile and the Reisling from Australia just were not what I'm used to - Mike didn't care for either of them either. There was a French Medoc but it was very dry and we tasted it but tossed it out. I usually like French wines but not this time. I think the South African should arrive tomorow by courier. What I wouldn't give for a nice glass of Snoqualmie Reisling. Ginny, please help me out here and drink a glass tonight?
Back to the story - anyway, the reason we travel to Xintandi is for the American Women's Club Coffee each week at the Coffee Leaf and Bean. It's not Starbucks (there is a Starbucks at Xintandi but we don't meet there). It's like Crazy Mocha in Dahntahn Pixburgh - nice neighborly feel. Good food BUT they don't know how to make a French Vanilla Coffee.
Each week we go to Coffee Bean and Leaf and meet new friends and we have lunch somewhere new and enjoy the scenery. Last week, we met Elisa DeParolis, who's husband Raffaele is an Italian diplomat. They are here from Rome. Lovely woman who is about our age and has two children - a daughter who lives in Tel Aviv and a son who lives in the Ivory Coast. Both are diplomats as well. She is lovely and she lives now in PuDong, the part of Shanghai on the other side of the Huang Pu River. We live in Puxi (pronounced Pu Shee). Anyway, she has not received her sea shipment yet but she lives in a big house and we were so happy to meet her. We have been comparing restaurants and clothes and food and she has even promised me a bottle of Marsala wine because Jack from Vin cannot even order Marsala for me. Can you imagine that? No Marsala - what is this world coming to? It is just cooking wine but we cannot buy it here so Elisa will make sure I get a bottle when her shipment comes - am I a lucky girl, or what? No, I guess the story is that once again, Mike is a lucky boy!
Yesterday we met Debbie from Philadelphia and Lynn who is from Hershey, PA. We were just a bunch of Pennsylvania girls sitting there with a lovely woman from Italy - what does that tell you? We also met Anne Lee who is the Webmaster for the American Women's Club. She was telling us that the recording secretary has left Shanghai and they are in search of a new one. SO, that is now my new job. Other than laundry, that is. I'm happy to help and I'm happy to keep my typing skills at about 75-80 WPM.
We also met Julie Richardson who is a nurse and she told us to be careful about where and what we eat. She explained that even though we are very very careful, we will no doubt acquire a parasite of some type during our stay here. That didn't go over very well with Denice or I. In fact, we have taken such steps to avoid such a thing. I am just very glad that we've got the Parkway Health Clinic and they've got Cipro. I so miss Dr. Dan Steiner and Rosie Martin in Oakmont but this place is great.
Mike and I are planning our Autum Holiday. Yes, the Chinese have an Autumn Festival - they celebrate the harvest and pass around moon cakes. You can order these specialty cakes from anywhere - the grocery stores, Starbucks, Coffee Leaf and Bean, hotels. They come in many varieties but I don't think I'm going to order them. They have some odd flavors - chocolate is good choice for me but our cross cultural expert, Rachel Hsia, tells me that red bean paste is a Chinese favorite. I somehow cannot imagine a red bean paste being any good. I hate beans and it sounds like tomato paste, doesn't it. Maybe I'll try just a taste. . .
Anyway, we are trying to plan a trip to Seoul, South Korea for September 29-October 3. This will be nice for Mike to get back to Seoul to see his Korean friends, DY and JK and I can finally get to meet Miss Lee - the fabulous administative assistant there and her handsome husband and her beautiful daughter, Rebecca. We have been in contact with them for ages. DY and JK have been to our home in Pittsburgh for dinner but I've never met Miss Lee so this will be a treat. I am also excited to visit the Korean Folk Village that Mike has visited before and see the grandfatherly gentlemen that Bill Slaman tried to impersonate lo those many years ago when we all worked for Westinghouse PSPD/NOD in Greentree. I'll be taking photos so watch for those.
Well, Denice and I are jumping in a cab for a ride to dinner. We'll be meeting Kirk and Mike at a Japanese restaurant near the Renaissance Yangzte. Mike's colleague, Da Li has made a dinner reservation for maybe 6 or 8 of us so we're all going as a group. I hope it is like the Samurai restaurant. I hope it's not too off-the-wall. I'm still sensitive regarding food, how spicy it is and how clean the restaurant is. Da doesn't seem to care about such things - he just worries about quantity!
So, for now - Bon Appetito!