Friday, April 24, 2009

Walk in The French Concession

Good evening,

Monday was the day I got to meet CeCe's sister Carol and her friends, Ann and Amy. Carol is from Wisconsin, Ann is from New York and Amy is from Connecticut. They are lovely ladies and I felt like I'd known them forever.

Yvette took us to the French Concession and we all enjoyed it immensely. We found ourselves at Joffre Terrace where the famous writer, Ba Jin. We walked a little further until we came upon the home of Xu Guangping, the editor and his wife, Lu Xun. We walked to the Astrid Apartments that consist of 8 floors and 40 apartments - it was built in 1933.

We saw a lovely building owned by the Chinese government but the suites there can be rented. Lovely antiques - some shown here - I loved the red trunk and the screen.

It was a warm day - lots of sun and we moved along to Fuxing Park where we met a lovely older couple near the Rose Garden here. Not many blooms yet - maybe in a few weeks - The gentleman was writing calligraphy on the sidewalk with a long pen with water in it. Just as soon as he would finish writing a character, it would disappear. His wife told us that he took up this art about 3 years ago but we thought he was an expert. She said he had a career as a designer in Shanghai. Their only child, a daughter, now lives in New York City. Her mother told us proudly that she has a 4 story home. They lived with her for two years. The older woman didn't like living in New York. She couldn't talk with her neighbors;even though her husband had learned a little English. They moved back to Shanghai because "the leaves were falling from the trees". Which meant she wanted to be home in her own country when she died. What lovely people they were.

Yvette told us the story of Mr. Du who was the "Mafia" person here in Shanghai back in the day. He was into prostitution and even had his own opium den. He had a few wives and many children. We saw his garden - see above.

After the walk, we went to Pearl City where I finally finished my Chinese Charm Bracelet. It is one of my proudest accomplishments. I got this great idea when Denice told me about the charm bracelet her mother had made for her when she was young. I decided that I wanted to make a charm bracelet with all the good things I've found here in China.
I went to Pearl City months ago after I met Valerie who owns a little shop there. She's a lovely woman who sells her beautiful sterling silver and gold-plated jewelry at the American Women's Club and Shanghai Expatriate Association Coffees. She had a wonderful chain and I bought some wonderful charms - a map of China to anchor it and a little heart-shaped locket with a key - it sort of reminded me of Mike; you know, like the "key to my heart". Valerie had those two charms soldered onto the chain and off we went in search of additional charms.
In the past few months CeCe and I've been to the Commodity Market and the Science and Technology Market scouring the shops for sterling silver charms. I have found some great ones and the bracelet is now complete - well, maybe I have space for one or two more items but it is basically complete and I'm taking it home to show my Mom and Kate. I think they'll like it too!
There are no photos of it in this posting - I want it to be a surprise. If you want to see it - post a message for me and I'll create a blog posting later next month - after I've shown it to them.


Jonathan said...
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Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

Hi Annie,

You don't know me but I got a kick out of your posts. I lived in Shanghai from 2000-2007 on Heng Shan Lu (was there last summer too), and can appreciate the finer novelties of good paper towels and Bounce. I used to import tooth paste and shell out rmb65 for imported Oscar Mayer bacon at City Shop...

Anyway I actually saw your post as I was googling for info about Westinghouse & Shaw in China, and saw your post about the golf tournament. I speak fluent Mandarin and just finished my MBA in the US, having worked in China for engineering and construction related firms (started with 3M) my whole career. Recently I've been networking in Westinghouse for career opps. (I actually worked on the Qinshan nuclear plant outside Shanghai in 2000-2002 while with 3M.) I know my name's been brought up with Bill Poirier and Jeff Lamb in China, and I've had a few chats with people in the US as well. Do you think it would be possible to connect me with your husband Mike to see if he has any pointers and/or contacts for me? Would you have any similar advice?

I have email at hotmail and gmail, each with the prefix "jbhousto@..." (I don't want to put my whole email address online.) Thanks in advance for any feedback. I hope you're having a great summer and still enjoying your time in China!

Best wishes,