Beneath this bowl of stars...

toddler activites, food, photos, and other orbital occurrences

There are fireworks stands everywhere! Today we went and bought some medium sized ones and shot some off tonight. (we had already bought sparklers, which are not really sparklers but more like a 'fountain' that you hold, not for kids in my opinion.. box of 200 was less than $3). For around $3 we got one that shot about 20 nice little flowers up about 10 stories in the air (fireworks are sold by the height that they go, so I guess the ones hitting my window last night were more than $3 since we are on the 16th floor). We have another one that weighs more than amber on the back balcony for tomorrow night, Dave didnt tell me how high it goes, but it was $30!!!

None of these photos were zoomed in, these fireworks were happening right outside and right at eye level. Also, the fireworks went on like this for at least an hour and then slowed down in pace but are still going on now over 24hrs later.

you don't want to open your windows!

A couple weeks ago we went for a walk around our neighborhood and saw lots and lots of eel, duck and duck parts hanging out everywhere drying. I have heard/read that since Shanghai has such a dry winter and all of the markets are closed for the week of Chinese new year, everyone stocks up on dried fish and duck products to eat throughout the week. It is now 2 weeks later (CNY is just now beginning) and its all sold out... streets and streets that look like the one below were filled with eel and duck and are now all back to normal, it really amazes me.

We have been making lots of martinis lately. Dave got on a Lychee martini kick but I wanted variety, so every time we have them he creates a new one for me. Golden Eye -- Vodka, triple sec, OJ
Dave's Jade -- Vodka, blue curacao, triple sec, peach juice
Tiffany -- Vodka, blue curacao, coconut milk, peach juice
The Watson -- Vodka, triple sec, blue curacao and peach juice (named after Watson's pharmacy since it is the same color as the bag)

Recently I have been buying interesting looking snacks in the supermarket just to see what they are. Here are a few:These sausages are not at all weird, they are actually imported, but what is weird or crazy is the price, they cost nearly $20! ($115rmb)
These cheerios might look normal at first glance, but if you look closely you will first see that in addition to the chinese characters on the box, they are made by Nestle. I opened the box and popped a couple in my mouth expecting them to taste just like the ones I had last summer, but was I wrong! They tasted like rice crackers that were dipped in sweet syrup. Same colors as the ones in the US, but taste nothing like them. I guess that is why this box was 24rmb and the imported ones are 88rmb.
This next item, also from Nestle, is supposed to be cream for your coffee... sweetened condensed milk in a tube with strawberry flavoring. They also suggest using it for fruit salad, its a little strange... i still pay 45rmb for my coffeemate liquid creamer.
This sushi came individually wrapped! They had a whole selection and you picked the ones you wanted and then packaged them up and put in the condiments.The cookies on the left were little animal cookies but they were sesame, so just like those sesame sticks in snack mixes. The ones on the right were little cocoa bears, nothing like chocolate teddy grams though.
On the left are chocolate dipped corn curls. For some reason corn crunchy things are really popular and come in many flavors including strawberry and shrimp. My favorite is actually the caramel that is part of the actual corn crisp and not just a dip. On the right are some little cookies with a smiling guy on them. They had a weirdly addictive flavor, almost like coconut.
The cookies on the left were my favorite as far as the package goes.... it looks like french fries drinking wine! They were actually little animal crackers shaped like little sticks or fingers, not bad. On the right are Snoopy chips... kinda like pringles, but not as good. They came in about 6 flavors, I got "Latin FLavor" but it didnt really taste latin at all, just weird.

Today Amber and I went out to lunch with another mama and her two kids who are 5 and 3. These were the first kids that Amber has spent this long with who talk and speak English since she has been a full out talker herself. It was so cute to watch or really listen to her playing with them and the things they talked about. She told them how her daddy takes a taxi to work, to the bank! And that she wants to be a butterfly (we were butterflies at Gymboree this morning), and that there are fireworks everywhere. She also mentioned several times that she wanted to go home.... but she really had every reason for wanting this... see we had quite an adventure. I met the mom from my email list and she offered to come all the way to pick us up go to lunch at a place back near where she lives and drop us off! She said its a 10-15min car ride. I was skeptical b/c I thought I had been to that part of town before and it took more like 45min-1hr. She arrived a bit late, but it was raining. I was very impressed that she drives herself around in Shanghai, i have a hard time walking much less riding a bike or driving. Dave even says there is no way he would drive in China.... so i was very impressed that she drives herself and her 2 kids around. I felt much much safer than in a taxi, but it is really all of the other people that you have to be scared of. 45min into our short drive, we got side swiped by a van. It really was not bad, we had slowed to a stop and they really only hit the mirror. We took photos of the license plate but then at the next stop light she put the car in park, hopped out and banged on their window. This was in the middle of probably the worst traffic street in shanghai. I was now even more impressed. Not only does she drive, she hops out and yells in mandarin to a van full of men in the middle of 1000s of cars honking at us with her 2 kids in the car. Lots of hand waving, head shaking, cell phone pictures and pacing later, she returns to tell me that they are calling the police, the other car refuses taking responsibility. We have to hail down a taxi to ask the number of the police. When the police arrive, the guy is laughing hysterically. He looked like a big teddy bear on a bike. After more hand waving, head shaking and laughing, the driver of the van pulls out 100rmb (around $14) and everyone smiles laughs and says goodbye. We totally made the cops day... he now has a great story to tell tonight to his friends, about a blond American woman who yelled at a van full of guys for only 100rmb. After that we made it to lunch, but on the way home, my new friend realized she was not going to make it to drop her parents off at the train, so i got out and took the subway home. She's picking me up again tomorrow, this time we are going to a big mall, all b/c she has our car seat, and to get it back, we may as well go on another adventure! Amber is very excited to see her friends again.