Exploring Shanghai with Flamidwyfe.

When I started blogging in January, I viewed it as an isolated endeavor, a forum in which to practice writing and photography and to record events in my travels and daily life.  It did not occur to me that I would develop friendships online. There are several people whose blogs I follow closely and I have begun to get a sense of the person behind the blog.

Although I do not share intimate aspects of my life on my blog, I do share enough that those who follow it know quite a bit about me. Because I’ve written about my travels and job in China last summer, I’ve “talked with” quite a few English speaking bloggers who live in this vast country.

One such person is Sandi, an American who lives and works in Hangzhou, about an hour from Shanghai. She writes an inspirational blog about her profession as a midwife and about her incredible weight loss journey. Check it out: Flamidwyfe’s Blog.

What a treat today when Sandi met me in Shanghai! As we explored the city via foot, subway, bus, and taxi, I found that I like this strong, intelligent, and funny woman who grew up just a stone’s throw from where I lived and taught in Florida (we both miss the South Florida beaches).

Meet my friend Sandi

It’s rare for me to be on this side of the camera lens.

Sandi is more outgoing than I am; I like to hide behind the camera or at the edge of the crowd. She asserts her way across the chaotic intersection and with shopkeepers, but she also reaches out and talks to people.

And then, Sandi took me to a hamburger place; I had a big, juicy HAMBURGER! The Blue Frog .. What a treat!

I don’t know if I’ll see Sandi in person again, but I’m sure that we will continue to relate through our blogs and email. (I love the Internet!)

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

Traffic Model

I find that a lot of people shy away from my camera; however, as I was waiting to cross the street, this traffic assistant continued to stare at it. Initially, being the paranoid woman that I am, I thought I’d done something wrong, that I should not be taking pictures in public.

Then I asked him (words & pointing) if he wanted me to take his picture. He gave a big grin and nodded yes. As I focused the lens on him, he took on this official pose. Cool guy!

Crossing Guard

Friday Alone in Shanghai

As I find my way around this fabulous city by myself, I wish more and more that I could communicate; I make feeble attempts with my Chinese/English Dictionary. Sometimes I use Google Translate. Both strategies have left me and my victim confused and frustrated. Occasionally, however, I find someone who is willing to laugh with me; today, they were all far too serious.

I needed to exchange a $100 for Chinese currency (RNB). To begin with, it took at least five stops and numerous confused inquires before I found the bank that would perform this service for me. Next, I had to get past the guard who instructed me to fill out a form in triplicate and to sign a paper written exclusively in Chinese. (I had no idea what I was agreeing to.) As I sat in the chairs waiting for my number to come up, I was reminded of the interminable waits at the DMV before it was possible to renew car registration online.

Eventually, my number was called. I had to produce my passport and present my information (filled out in triplicate). But wait! I had crossed off a minor mistake which is not acceptable and once again, I was instructed to write all of my personal information on the form in triplicate.

Then, something about my passport raised some flags (or so it seemed). The young woman behind the glass enclosure typed in my critical data, compared my passport to the information on the computer screen, called two other women over for consultation, fiddled with my passport, bent it, curved it, turned if over and over. I envisioned myself being taken into some back room. Did I have the number of the US state department with me? No, it was back at the hotel. Would my sons know how to find me? What on earth had I done to merit such scrutiny? These and at least 17 other questions and concerns raced through my mind during the seemingly endless wait.

Probably, everything was quite routine, but it unnerved me. When the young woman behind the glass wall finally started counting out the money, and filling out no less than four receipts, and passing to me the copy of my information written in triplicate, and the money, and then my passport, I breathed.

Now, I know why I was told that it’s easier to use the debit card at the ATM.

Functional currency safely stowed away, I was at liberty to do some people watching. This young woman fascinated me. What catches her eye as she speeds down the street, pulling her load? What is she thinking? (Click on any image to see it full size.)

Dumplings, Blue Sky, and Massage

What a delightful day! My friends took me to Yang’s Fried-Dumplings, the Bund, and …. drum roll please …. the massage place! After my 3-hour meandering yesterday, I was slightly embarrassed when they guided me this afternoon. It seems that I had turned right when I should have turned left. However, the massage was well worth the wait.

That chicken was still pecking away on the sidewalk along Wuding Lu.

All in all, a wonderful day in Shanghai, Thursday, June 21.


Ni Hao Shanghai

I arrived in this beautiful city last night and have enjoyed walking in the streets around my hotel. The skies are cloudy, hinting of rain; however, I have not yet seen a drop. I am savoring the food as I had not found a single restaurant in Phoenix that serves authentic Chinese food and I have missed the delicious flavors and textures of the dishes here.

The shot below is from my stay here last summer. I am looking forward to roaming the city with my camera in hand again.

Shanghai Street

Sunday Post: Work

When I saw the topic of this Sunday’s Post, I wondered if I should go out and find someone working; however, I remembered I had shot quite a few images of people at work during my stay in China last summer.

I find it interesting that I still have not gotten comfortable taking similar pictures here in my own city and country. I guess there’s something about being a tourist that gives me (in my mind) license to shoot just about anything.

And now, I’m off to the gym before returning to my work, prepping my lessons for the week. I hope you all have a satisfying and productive work week.







Where They Live

Because I was involved in a ridiculous amount of work in the last week, I have not had a chance to take a picture or even write a word except for lesson plans and comments on my students’ work. I am itching to “get out there” and see what my Nikon can find.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these shots of homes that I took last summer in Shanghai. I was surprised that everywhere I traveled in China, I saw laundry hanging from balconies, doorways, and window ledges. Here in the US, we keep our laundry behind closed doors or hanging on lines in the back yard, away from the eyes of strangers. Different cultures.

Click on any image for a closer look. 

Shanghai Buildings

My friends had to drag me away from the Bund area of Shanghai. I wanted to photograph every single building from every possible angle. Most of my shots were snap and run and because I’m still a fledgling photographer, most of them are pretty awful.

Shanghai Confluence

I like this shot, taken from the large river walk (promenade) along the Huangpu River facing the Bund. It shows the confluence of the old architecture (1920s) with the modern. The new building doesn’t compete with the old; I believe that it accentuates the beauty and character.