Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Springtime for Mao

There is one, just one, beautiful season in Shanghai. Blink, and you will miss the budding forsythia, the blooming cherry trees, the blossoming redbuds, and the weather...well, that's still unpredictable. Monday I wore my LIGHT leather jacket on a nice long walk before school, and it was too hot. Yesterday I wore my linen pants, but forgot that the storm that blew in the night before (some nice, albeit brief lightning and a hard shower) could drop the temperature 18 degrees fahrenheit, and realized, when I started to head off on my bike, that I was going to be too cold. However, the reward for putting up with this weather is scenes like this...
Or this...
Or even this (this is on my street, walking from the apartment to the subway at Longbai Xincun)...
Well, I promised you one blog a week, and I figure I should make myself useful and write about more than just the flowers, so I decided to visit the flower market. Okay, maybe that's still just writing about the flowers. And yet, the flower market is more than just a flower market. You can buy all sorts of things here - antiques, fish (the kind you keep for pets), handicrafts, and you can get paintings framed here for really cheap. During December it's the best remedy if you find yourself missing Christmas carols and the smell of pine. To get to this wonderland, go to Longbai Xincun on line 10, and go out exit 5. Walk straight (north) along Hongjing Lu up to the light, then cross over so that you end up catty corner, and keep going. A half a block later, you'll come to a large gate that looks like this:
Now, it's called the flower market for a reason. Want flowers?
We've got them. Oh, you wanted LIVE flowers, growing in a pot?
Got those, too. Want to try your hand at keeping a bonsai tree alive (for the fourth time)?
We can make that happen, and at a significantly lower price than you'd pay in the states. Let's say you love orchids, but don't want to throw the money away on them, knowing they are persnickety and bound to die in your care?
Doesn't matter - they're so cheap here that you can buy a new one every couple of weeks without breaking the bank. And if you've gotten fed up with being eaten alive by mosquitos, we've got the solution for that, too.
The next building in has animals and ceramics and crafts and antiques, but rather than put even more pictures of THINGS on here, I'll leave you with a little Chinese slice of life, because you can't be angry here on a beautiful tomb sweeping holiday! Hope you're having a good week, too.
Not sure what they're doing, here in the sun-dappled space between the two buildings, but they seem to be having a good time.

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