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There Goes the Neighbourhood! (part 1)

Change in Shanghai happens quickly.  People are becoming richer, want bigger and better apartments, and don’t feel like talking to their neighbours any more. So, whole communities are being demolished and redeveloped in the blink of an eye.  Here I attempt to document one before it goes for good.
08 May 2012

There Goes the Neighbourhood! (part 2)
And continuing from the previous post, risking personal safety and community backlash, I get a bit closer to life inside the neighbourhood.
:08 May 2012

Dull building alert: Shanghai Library

Proof that a building can be shiny and dull at the same time.  Shanghai Library is the tallest library in the world, which means that it’s totally out of character with its surrounding neighbourhood.  Nevermind, it’s still the tallest library in the world.
: 08 May 2012
Huh Wot?
9 more images added 05 May 2012

I tried to resist, but the city keeps giving.  Plenty of Chinglish.  Which is making it one of the most popular posts on the blog …

Figuring out the last year…

I’ve discovered some new features on WordPress, allowing me to understand the who, why and how of my dear readers.  Which compelled me to think about some of the statistics of the last year if my life.  Turns out I am a bit of an environmental hazard.
22 April 2012

I See Red!  aka The Amazing Hong Yi!

I am working with an interwebs sensation .. the Amazing Hong Yi.  She makes art out of weird stuff like basketballs and socks.  And I got to help her make her last artwork.
15 April 2012

Don’t eat meat! Don’t seduce your mother!

It’s also good to offer your arm flesh to your parents, but only if they are very hungry.  Also, you should not trust women or monkeys or soldiers. These and many other lessons I have learned by visiting the famous rock carvings near Dazu.
18 March 2012

10 Things I Not-so-love About Shanghai

In order to balance my incredibly glowing run-down of all the good things in Shanghai, here are some of the small and frustrating things I encounter.  It’s not a big whinge.  Just things that are mildly annoying.
18 March 2012

Fun with Food!
9 new images added 16 March 2012
I do love food. This is a new gallery devoted to the stuff that keeps me alive and happy.

Walkabout / Fangbang Dong Lu

Part Two of my stroll down one of my favourite streets in Shanghai.
It is the more colourful, slightly touristy bit.
15 March 2012

Walkabout / Fangbang Xi Lu
Part Two of my stroll down one of my favourite streets in Shanghai.
It is the older, more run-down bit
15 March 2012

It’s Personal, the February Edition
This month’s highlights from the personals page of Enjoy Shanghai, one of the city’s weekly street mags.
14 February 2012

Ha’erbin / The City of Ice …

Over the Spring Festival, we took a small vacation to Ha’erbin, one of China’s northernmost cites.  That makes for a very cold winter – minus 15 degrees was the maximum temperature most days we were there.  Yes, MINUS 15 degrees. Ha’erbin is famous for its amazing Ice and Snow festival.
05 February 2012

… and snow sculptures …

One of the city’s largest parks gets turned into an outdoor exhibition of crayzy snow sculptures, inspired by kids’ fairy tales, historic figures and events, and Nintendo characters.  You can ride a dune buggy or a husky-pulled sleigh.  It’s a full Winter Wonderland.
05 February 2012

… and Russian Revivalist architecture …

Being so close to China’s big northern neighbour, Ha’erbin historically has had a large Russian population.  This has brought a vibrant cultural mix, border disputes and an incredible diversity of architectural styles.
07 February 2012

… and miscellaneous cold and weird stuff

And like anywhere else, there is always some weird stuff – Marilyn Monroe statues, vomiting dragons and men dancing in golden gimp suits…
07 February 2012

Kooky building alert: The Himalayas Centre

It is big and blobby and has a hotel and an arts centre and a shopping mall and is inspired by a forest and a cube and has a bit like a cave and it hosted the World Chocolate Wonderland and was designed by an almost-famous Japanese guy and is described (by its owners, no less) as a “masterpiece”.  Please judge for yourself.
22 January 2012

The World! Chocolate! Wonderland!!!

Shanghai is currently hosting the second-ever World Chocolate Wonderland (after a successful run in the nation’s capital).  Packed full of chocolate replicas of famous buildings, cultural icons and stunning fashion items.  Thanks goodness for airconditioning!
16 January 2012

Totes randomz in the streets

I love to walk around finding totally weird things … and Shanghai delivers with reassuring regularity.  The city is just a blur of corn cobs, fluorescent sneakers, sexually-charged artworks, cars missing wheels and stunned dogs.
08 January 2012

My favourite sponge-cake neighbourhood

In keeping with the previous post, I present unto you a second little neighbourhood of Shanghai.  This one is kinda beige and creamy.  And it contains some shikumen, the traditional housing type of Shanghai.
sted: 08 January 2012

My favourite choc-mint neighbourhood

I have been documenting many of the neighbourhoods of Shanghai … from high rise apartment buildings to Art Deco walk-ups.  This cute little complex is just around the corner from our apartment and proves, if nothing else, that a good colour scheme goes a long way.
06 November 2011

A tale of two karaoke lounges
It has been suggested that karaoke is the key to a longer and happier life.  With Shanghai’s air pollution and crayzy traffic, you need all the help you can get.  Follow my journey into two of the city’s life-extending karaoke lounges.
06 November 2011
A big bunch of posers
The top two leisure activities of the Chinese could well be: 1. Taking photos.  2. Posing for photos.  I did just make that up.  But, I have taken lots of photos of people posing for photos (not always my fault, sometimes they just get in the way) to support my assertion.
29 October 2011

What happens on site stays on site…

Part of my job involves stumbling around construction sites, avoiding uncovered holes and unshielded welders, testing out the safety of handrails (just by leaning on them, really, there’s no science to it …) and spotting some “accidental haute couture”.
: 26 October 2011

Archi-Pops! Small Man Big Hair
It doesn’t  matter how they start (but preferably with a good architect and a signed fee agreement) but Shanghai buildings tend to end in a real flourish. 
After a 18 month absence, I have updated this gallery!
11 new images added on 24 October 2011

Beijing / The Forbidden City (XL to L)

The Forbidden City is all about huge … so huge, I need two posts to fit it all in.  This one deals with the grand stuff, from Supreme Halls to courtyards that can house the biggest CGI martial-arts battle ever!!!
12 October 2011

Beijing / The Forbidden City (M to S)

And this post is all about the more intimate side of the big City – the special spaces, the people-free experiences, the unexpected discoveries.
12 October 2011

Beijing / Eating up the hutongs

It’s a story that repeats across much of China – unique historic housing style lost to the push for modernisation and homogenisation.  And it may be partially my fault …
09 October 2011

Beijing / Where Mao meets factory meets subversive art
Visit 798 Art Zone, an thriving centre for culture and naughtiness!
07 October 2011

Beijing / Laying the golden egg
China has invested huge amounts of money and national pride in its National Centre for Performing Arts.  Despite being like a big egg and mostly underground, it is still an amazing building.
07 October 2011

Beijing / Closed for business
It’s National Week, you are visiting the National Capital and you want to see some National Icons (that’s not a real term).  Who would have thought it could be so hard?
07 October 2011

The writing on the wall
Harsh punishment, social pressure, a lack of spraycans?  Whatever the reason, China doesn’t have a lot of graffiti.  But here is some of the best and weirdest I’ve seen.
11 September 2011

Rui’an / a shop for everything
But not everything is (literally) in a shop. This is a photolog of shopfronts around the old part of Rui’an city … from hardware to mobile phones to piles of old rags.
11 September 2011

You call that 4 stars?!!
This is what a 4 star hotel looks like in China.  I guess, in a place where some hotels claim to be 6 (even 7) stars, 4 stars is pretty average.  Indeed.
07 August 2011
constantly remind everyone that I am constantly updating it.
10 Things I Love About Shanghai
For once, I put aside the irony and questioning.  From babies’ bottoms to amazing food, here is a short list of things that I love about life in Shanghai.
30 July 2011

It’s Personal, the July Edition
This month’s highlights from the personals page of Enjoy Shanghai, one of the city’s weekly street mags.  I am still finding ones about architects!
24 July 2011

Lanzhou / Moving mountains (literally!)
What to do with the world’s most polluted city?  Why of course, just open the world’s largest “window” and let the breeze in.  How’s that working out, I wonder …
Posted: 17 July 2011 sist, but the city just keeps giving. Some Chinglish. Some good English (when I can find it).

Archi-Pops! That IS crayzy!
An ever-updating collection of weird shots, featuring huge ferris wheels, odd vending machines and elevated roads.
6 new images added on 17 July 2011

More wheels; extra crayzy
Here are some more wacky contraptions from the streets of China … including some very strange home-made people movers.
Posted: 13 July 2011

It’s Personal, the June Edition
This month’s highlights from the personals page of Enjoy Shanghai, one of the city’s weekly street mags.  There’s another featuring architects, of course.
05 June 2011

Wuzhen / discovering special places
If you slow it down a bit and take a few detours, you can discover some very nice things … a winery and a barbershop and a Ralph Lauren advert.
Posted: 30 May 2011
Wuzhen / putting on a show for the tourists
So, you go somewhere planning to be a tourist and end up being the main attraction. Anyway, Wuzhen is a lovely little water town just near Shanghai and we took a visit there.
Posted: 30 May 2011
5,164 steps into unbearable pain
It was my first visit to the Great Wall.  But it also included a sub-marathon, which doesn’t necessarily make it a fun-time experience.
Posted: 28 May 2011

Let’s (sort of) talk about sex…

You can lead a horse to condoms, but you can’t assume he’ll know what to do with them.  Like everywhere else in the world, the Chinese approach to sex can be a bit confused.
Posted: 20 May 2011
“Antique” being a relative term, of course. Despite the name, you don’t come to Dongtai Road Antique Market and expect to find antiques. More likely, lots of tourists politely haggling over mass-produced curios.  It’s all in good fun though.
Posted: 04 May 2011
A New Life for the House of Death
Vegetarian.  Art Deco.  Abbatoir.  Sometimes, strange things can go together.  Here is my visit to one of Shanghai’s quirkiest buildings, a kinda-newish retail and cultural centre housed in a former slaughterhouse.    Posted: 28 April 2011
In any colour, as long as it’s pink
I am re-posting this to commemorate the Shanghai Barbie Store, which shut its doors this month.  It burned bright pink, but alas, for only a short time.
Re-posted: 22 April 2011

Tianjin / Many ways to cross a river
In addition to vertical landmarks, Tianjin has been busy making horizontal ones too.  So many bridges … old and new, big and small, spectacular and downright wacky.
Posted: 17 April 2011
Tianjin / Fakin’ all over
Just like at the markets, it’s a bit hard to tell the real from the fakes sometimes.  Exhibit 1: Ancient Culture Street. Exhibit 2: Italian Style Town.
Posted: 15 April 2011
Tianjin / I do like to be beside the riverside

They oughta close these riverside parks.  Full of old people with nothing better to do than rollerblade, ballroom dance, play with swords and practice their yelling voices.
Posted: 15 April 2011
Life at 350 kilometres per hour

Here is a slice of Chinese life, as documented from the Shanghai-Hangzhou Express.  Fast and furious, but not like the movie.  Enjoy it while it lasts!
Posted: 05 April 2011

2 wheels good. 3 wheels crayzy.
Bikes, bikes, bikes … there are heaps of them here (though not as many as there used to be).  Here is my collection of some of the regular and less-than-regular bikes I see.
Posted: 21 February 2011

The Unfinished City
With a booming economy and a burgeoning middle class, the cities of China are redeveloping at an amazing pace.  I have been taking loads of photos of stuff under construction.
Posted: 20 February 2011
60+2 hours watching The Wire
With winter coming to an end (soon…?), I can spend less time stuck inside (watching TV) and more time outside (watching the sky).  Happy days!
Posted: 18 February 2011
My first year in Shangers
It’s been almost a year since I arrived in Shanghai.  Here is a highlights package of my time here, as well as a photo of my underpants.  If that doesn’t make you look … 🙂
Posted: 13 February 2011
It could hardly be called humble…
A breath-taking example of trying to buy your way to a higher  level of spiritual being.  That said, the Humble Administrator’s Garden is big and beautiful and full of very strange names.
Posted: 06 February 2011
Suzhou Museum: it’s all-white
The Suzhou Museum was Chinese-American architect I.M Pei’s last major commission.  It’s inspired by the city itself, so I thought I would do a side-by-side comparison for youse all.
Posted: 06 February 2011
Carpet-bombing in the new year
Xin nian kuai le everyone!  Shanghai’s new year celebrations really are an assault on all of the senses.
Posted: 04 February 2011

A city full of ghosts
You couldn’t really call it a ghost town, as it’s never had living people in it.  Anyway, welcome to Ordos!  China’s second richest yet emptiest city.
Posted: 01 February 2011
Snowing me, snowing you
It’s snowing again, heavier and longer than last time.  Here is my journey to work this morning, told through a frosty lens.
Posted: 20 January 2011

The insect market, it was buzzing!
Shanghai’s Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Market is an interesting, albeit somewhat challenging, place to visit.  Ever heard of cricket fighting?
Posted: 09 January 2011

One way to please your parents…
Get a good job.  Call once a week.  Or build them a humongous garden to hang out in.  Yu Gardens (an example of the latter) is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Shanghai.
Posted: 09 January 2011

Discovering Shanghai’s Jewish history
Shanghai has a Jewish story to tell, full of hope and horrors.  It’s another fascinating layer to the city.
Posted: 03 January 2011
Festive celebrations / let me count the ways
In China, and especially Shanghai, there are always lots of ways to celebrate something.  This is what I did over the Festive Season.
Posted: 01 January 2011

Nanjing / A nice place to spend eternity
I went to the biggest Ming Tomb in China.  I don’t think I saw the tomb, but I saw lots of other stuff.  Mythical animals, halls of sacrifice … that kind of thing.
Posted: 25 December 2010
Nanjing / Avoiding the tiger summer
Behold the wonders of Zhongshan Park … Beamless Halls!  Sweltering weather!  Too many people!
Posted: 25 December 2010
Nanjing / The other great wall
Nanjing is home to the world’s longest urban wall.  It is way big and way long and made of sticky rice (no kidding!).
Posted: 23 December 2010

Snow. Shanghai has that too.
Not to be outdone by lesser warm-winter cities, Shanghai can also make good snow.  It snowed today and everything got white.
Posted: 15 December 2010
Tripping the light cheesetastic
It’s supposedly the 4th worst “thing to do” in Shanghai. But the only way for pedestrians to get from one side of the river to the other. Cheesy.
Posted: 11 December 2010

Suzhou / canals, gardens, silkworms
A daytrip to one of the ancient canal cities near Shanghai. Alas, a day was not enough … We saw canals and gardens.  We missed the silkworms.
Posted: 11 December 2010
I Heart Bobo
I am a bit of a sucker for small and vulnerable animals (I guess that’s why I don’t eat them).  If you will, meet Bobo.  She is just one of the many pampered pooches of Shanghai.
Posted: 09 December 2010
Another one for the trainspotters…
Some more stuff about the amazing trains of China.  They are big and fast and out of control (not literally, thank goodness).
Posted: 08 December 2010

A daytrip to Wee Britain
Actually a half-day trip … to see Shanghai’s replica English village, full of empty shops and wedding photographers.  Familiar yet frightening.
Posted: 16 November 2010

Animal, vegetable … unidentifiable?
The other day, I saw so many weird foodstuffs my brain almost popped (‘popped brain’ would be right at home in this market).  Click if you dare…
Posted: 09 November 2010

Showing off a bit of flesh…
Here are just two of Shanghai’s many markets – one specialising in ladies’ knickers, the other in dead animals.  I’m not really into either, I guess.
Posted: 08 October 2010

Exploring Shanghai’s Nether regions
When I heard that Shanghai had a new Holland-style village, I just had to visit.  Those planners are certainly smoking something … which is very Dutch of course.
Posted: 07 October 2010

Crayzy bright things in the park…
I took a trip to the Jing’an Sculpture Park.  Loads of crayzy artworks.
Posted: 04 October 2010
Confucius say: new temple just as good as old one
Knock-down-and-rebuild applies to everything here, even temples.
Posted: 04 October 2010
This Buddha ain’t jumping over no wall
Due to popular demand (emphasis on ‘demand’), here is a catalogue of some of the super meals I have experienced here.  All photos are taken before consumption.
Posted: 03 October 2010
Macau / Actually, the fake Venice of China!
It just gets worse.  I had to reserve a special post for the Venetian, the world’s largest casino.   It is extra crayzy, I’d say.
Posted: 24 September 2010
Macau / No, no, the Disneyland of China!
If you prefer fake, Macau has that too.  It is both China’s gambling heart (bigger than Las Vegas) and empty soul.
Posted: 24 September 2010
Macau / It’s just like the Portugal of China!
It’s a bird!  No, it’s a place with loads of casinos!  No, it’s that place the Portuguese grabbed and wouldn’t let go of for a very long time.  Actually, it’s quite lovely and well worth a visit.
Posted: 21 September 2010
Hong Kong / City, nature and nothing in between…
The title pretty much sums it up.  I just can’t get enough of the HonkyTown.
Posted: 17 September 2010
My first trip to Expo…
I finally made it to Expo!  Summary of events: big site, hot weather, long queues, a little underwhelming.
Posted: 16 September 2010
Our new place – from front door to jamban
Part Two of the exciting feature on our new apartment.  In this edition, delve deep into the stylisticly confused interior, be amused by oversized and useless items of furniture, and awed by our electronic toilet.
23 August 2010
Our new place – from street to front door

And, introducing our new apartment!  So many images, I had to split them over two posts.  This one takes you from (buzzing tree-lined) street to (cooking-oil-infused) front door.
23 August 2010
Our old place (bland but clean)

People have been asking what our apartment looks like. Don’t get too excited – it’s not that interesting. Plus, we have moved now. Anyway…
20 August 2010
My Walk to Work, Version 2

While the office has moved, my house hasn’t.  Instead of a short stroll through Pudong, my new journey to work is a multi-modal, cross-river caper.
15 August 2010
Goodbye Docks! Hello Cool!

They’re not really Docks. And actually, they’re not so cool, just yet. It’s like the Fine Art of Fakery, the Riverside Years.
13 August 2010

Switching to Team Puxi

It’s time to make a move to the other side of town.  It’s all about tree-lined streets, Art Deco architecture and fluffy white dogs.
11 August 2010

Waterhouses and Bomb Shelters

Two perspectives on the city – above and below ground, high society and low brow – linked by the promise of free alcopops.
Posted: 10 August 2010

Next week: Golden Week!
My promise to you, dear reader … next week, a post a day!  I have been a bit quiet lately and need to get back into the blogging.  It’s kinda like a revival.

The sea that ate Old Bar
In the immortal words of Meryl Streep: “That ocean ate my coastal resort!” Better enjoy Old Bar while it lasts, because the ocean has an appetite for destruction…

Sydney / It changes too
I was expecting Sydney to be pretty much the same as I left it.  And generally, it was, except for the surprising absence of my least favourite shop, Meatbusters.

65 Channels and Nothing On…
The other night, I did some channel surfing. I bring you my findings … low-end soapies and high-end dramas, reality TV extravaganzas and the constant hard-sell of Expo. Oh yeah, some ethnic minority stuff too.

Fashions of the Footpath
Sometimes it’s more catwalk than sidewalk … if you are into absurd fashion choices, that is. Here I profile some of my favourite fashions, fresh from the streets of big bad Shangers.
Our Smoking New Studio
My work is on the move … to a place called Dream Wharf. We have a great building and a lovely fitout. Just waiting for the neighbourhood to catch up…
Density? Hong Kong Has It.
Hong Kong is crayzy dense. Mong Kok is even denser. The Doctor has stats fever, it appears. But there’s some good pics too, of course.
How To Sell 1.4 Billion Movie Tickets
Chinese? Japanese? Dirty knees! What are these? Does it really matter in Hollywood? If you are trying to make money, yes … Warning: spoilers!
High Speed Rail? China Has It.
China is building the world’s biggest and fastest rail network. Trains can travel at up to 430 km/h. And maybe, all the way to London. The scale and speed of delivery is a little mind-bending.
Forgive me, Gods of Caffeine
I have done bad things. I have taken your name in vain. I have coveted the caffeinated goods of neighbouring nations.  I have drunk with the Devil himself.
Some archi-hits from Seoul
Just when you thought Seoul was done and dusted (as I certainly did) … here is a small collection of some of the city’s interesting buildings.
The Rules of the Road (etc)
It might seem chaotic, noisy and dangerous (and it is) but there are clear rules for on-street behaviour. You have to learn fast … there are Hummers here.
Yuyuan (Gardens and) Bazaar
I didn’t make it to the gardens. And the bazaar was a bit too much.  But I did discover Shanghai’s oldest vegetarian restaurant and a very nice part of the Old City.
Little gifts at work
My colleagues sometimes leave little gifts on my desk at work … some are sweet, some are quite sour!
Another crayzy motorway
This time it’s the approach road to the Nanpu Bridge, a huge double spiral that dominates the sky and kills the streetscape.  Not for the faint-hearted.

Give Praise Unto Almighty Haibao
The little blue mascot for the Expo is inescapable.  No one deserves to be as happy as he, even with a multi-billion dollar budget and the attention of the world.
The Fine Art of Fakery
Along with fake DVDs and sports shoes, China also does fake neighbourhoods.  At least this one is a good lesson for the developers.

All about the Doctor…
Well, not really (the Doctor likes to keep a low profile). But it does explain the name of blog.

Seoul / Postscript (aka WTF)
Some things that defy categorisation – on this blog and generally. General themes = food and toilets. One leads to the other.

Seoul / Takin’ it to the streets
Hey, read this one!  It’s full of lots of great things that I saw in the streets of Seoul.

Seoul / Making green from grey
The one about the mayor who ripped up an innercity motorway to make a new park.

Seoul / Palace of Shining Happiness
A literal translation of the Korean name.  Big palace.  Huge mountains. Fake beards.  The whole world in one post.

Seoul / Space saving devices
Some very cool ways to create more space in the city.  Cars go up.  People go down.
Seoul / Bukchon Village
Trawling through one of Seouls’ most exclusive hillside neighbourhoods, full of traditional hanok (wooden houses), cafes and galleries.

Seoul / Hoodie, 2 Shoes
Definitely the best named post so far!  (Thanks Dragonboy).  A catalogue of Korean crimes against fashion.  The focus is on the head and the foot.

Archi-Pops! O RLY?
Shining a light on some of the more dodgy aspects of design and culture.  Not everything is what is claims to be in the big city…  Last updated: 30 May

We are always be your side
A little partial to mass spectacle, the Doctor went to a football match featuring the local team Shenhua.  Fair play and synchronised bopping galore!

My daily walk…
In response to many a question, this is a documentation of my daily walk to work … featuring soaring skyscrapers, Chinese laundry, market streets and steamed buns!

Shahping … Eating … More shahping
Hanging out with the Totally! Twins in Hong Kong.  While my eating prowess easily matched that of my companions, they were well ahead on shopping bags filled.  Totally!
One huge-ass model
No trip to Shanghai is complete without a visit to the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall to see its main attraction … a rather large model of Future Shanghai.

Take an old industrial site, add a subversive artist community and presto!  you have M50.  A nice way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Turtle-necking in Wuxi
A day trip to Tai Hu, China’s third largest lake.  A crayzy mix of cherry blossoms, relentless crowds of holidaymakers and hopeful lovers.

A major Bund-fight
Braving the crowds to have a look at one of Shanghai’s favourite places – the recently refurbed Bund. A great location to take in the Jetsons skyline of Pudong (where I am living).

The funny things that happen in parks

One of my favourite posts.  This demonstrates the lengths to which people go for love – or perceived desperation.

What I learnt at the museum today…
At the base of the Pearl Tower, a trove of weird and wonderful treasures await.  Lots of displays, just not many people looking at them.

The Tower of Pearls
Leaving my chihauhau and samurai sword at the front counter, I explored one of the landmarks of the city, the Oriental Pearl Tower.  This thing kickstarted the modern era of the city, and the growth of Pudong, just 15 years ago.

Some things in Shanghai are big – like the elevated motorways that criss-cross the city.  Some things are small – like the shops and alleyways of Taikang Lu.  All things are worth a visit.

Supermarkets and Super Markets
The difference between paying too much for a plastic-wrapped broccoli and next to nothing for a giant wad of tofu. Some places must make a killing out of expats like me…

The Doctor Is In.
My first post.  So fresh and full of hope. Bless.

The Rules of the Road (etc)

It might seem chaotic, noisy and dangerous (and it is) but there are clear rules for on-street behaviour.  You have to learn fast … there are Hummers here.


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