Moganshan: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo

Moganshan: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo

Last weekend it was outing time! Our company here gives each employee a budget and an extra day off to go on a trip, aka the outing, with coworkers. Thorben’s department always does something pretty fancy:Β  Japan last year and Vietnam this year – I’m still bugging him to finish his blog post. My department wanted to take it a bit easier so we stayed in China. Our destination was Moganshan, which is a 3-hour drive from Shanghai.

Moganshan or Mount Mogan is both the name of the mountain and the village we spent 2 1/2 days in. Our hotel was located on the edge of the town and – as everything in this area – was surrounded by bamboo. Besides lunch and dinner we didn’t have any planned group activities. The weekend can be summed up in a few words: Relaxing, reading, hiking and eating. Many of my coworkers brought their spouses and kid(s), so you could also call it “31 Chinese and Marina in a bamboo forest.” πŸ™‚

On Saturday and Sunday we got quite a bit of rain, so when I ventured outside the air was pretty misty. I joined some colleagues on a little hike to a waterfall on Saturday and then on a bigger one through the bamboo forest and up the hill for some good views on Sunday. Sadly, just because there is bamboo doesn’t mean there are pandas. They prefer a different he climate, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer to see some.

Monday morning we had beautiful weather but unfortunately our bus already picked us up at 10:30am. I took advantage of the sunshine for as long as I could and took lots of pictures. If anyone asks, that’s what Moganshan looked like the entire time πŸ™‚

Overall, it was a very relaxing weekend (especially after all the kids returned to Shanghai Sunday after lunch πŸ™‚ ) in beautiful surroundings.

Shanghai Sights: Jing’An Temple

Shanghai Sights: Jing’An Temple

Jing’An Temple is a big golden Buddhist temple and the place our district is named after. It is our closest metro stop and the actual temple is a short walk away. We’ve driven past it many many times on our way to work and seen the outside lots of times. Still, it took me almost a year to finally go inside.

The first time I went was at the end of April when a colleague from Germany was in town.

… and I went again with my dad last weekend, so I thought it’s time to finally make a post about “our” temple.

Fun facts

The shrine at the entrance is really tall and people try to throw coins into it for good luck. Dad made it on the first (okay, it was really the fourth) try πŸ™‚

Jing’An Temple was first built almost 2000 years ago, relocated to where it is now over 800 years ago but then used as a plastic factory during the cultural revolution. In the 1980s it was turned into a temple again and then got renovated in 2010, so that’s why it looks very shiny and new.

Shanghai Sights: M50

Shanghai Sights: M50

This morning we said good-bye to our second visitors: my parents. They only stayed with us for a few days after their 2-week tour through China but we tried to squeeze in some sightseeing in addition to the dumpling eating πŸ™‚ There were also some spots on the list I hadn’t been to before, so this will be the start of a few posts about the Shanghai sights we saw. Up first: M50.

On Saturday we headed to M50, an art district named after its address 50 Moganshan Road. It consists of many little galleries/studios you can visit with different types of art. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, pottery, jewelry … there is lots to see.

In one store we encountered a rather pushy artist trying to sell us every piece in the space but mostly, you can just wander around and look. While I’m not very into art/ don’t know much about it, I think M50 is a cool place to spend a couple hours exploring.

Chinaversary

Chinaversary

One year ago today I landed in China and started this crazy Shanghai adventure. Happy 1 Year, Shanghai, and thanks for all the memories!

I know it’s a cliche to say this but time really does fly πŸ™‚ On the other hand, looking back on everything that has happened it’s hard to believe it’s only been one year. To celebrate this day, here is a little review of the past 12 months in China:

After one year I can definitely say that moving here was a great decision. Now if only our families and non-Shanghai friends lived closer, life would be even better πŸ™‚

Archery Tag

Archery Tag

There are so many fun things to do in Shanghai and a few months back, Morgane and Leyfa took me to Archery Tag. I didn’t know what to expect, just knowing that it is something like a mix of dodge ball and paintball, using bow and arrow. And that’s pretty much what it is.

It’s a ton of fun! Every time we play, there are 28 players and we play in four teams of seven. A game lasts a maximum of five minutes, until all players of a team have been hit, or all targets have been shot. If you’re hit, you’re out, and can only get back in when someone shoots a target or catches an arrow.

To get a spot to play is the first challenge. It is first come, first serve – and being two seconds late for sign-ups gets you a spot at the bottom of the waiting list. The games are on Sundays and are called the ‘Hungover Games’, since some players still feel some effects from the night before, or directly go there from one of Shanghai’s many free-flow-brunches.

In May and June it’s league time! While you don’t always play with the same people during normal games, you do during the league. Six captains drafted their teams, and, what can I say, it is getting quite competitive!

Michael made a nice video to show what archery tag looks like. See for yourself:

It’s not easy to take pictures during a game, it’s indoors and pretty dark, but here are some snapshots:

A bike tour around Shanghai

A bike tour around Shanghai

On Friday, we said good bye to our first visitors. After a 2-week group tour around China, Thorben’s parents stayed with us for a week. Besides celebrating my birthday we also did some other funΒ  activities, one of them was a bike tour through Shanghai at night.

Our guide had to cancel the day before but we still wanted to go, so they sent one of their technicians. Our new guide didn’t speak English but he knew the route and played recordings at some of the stops for some background info. We started at Hengshan Road and biked through the French Concession, passing big villas, embassies and Fuxing park. In Xintiandi, we went into one of the alleyways and learned about community life there. Our next stop was the Yuyuan Garden/Old Street area which is the old center of Shanghai. Now it’s really touristy with lots of shops but lit up nicely at night. We have yet to visit Yuyuan Garden, I think Thorben’s parents have seen more of Shanghai’s sights then us πŸ™‚

After biking through some small dark alleys in the old town, we went to the bund. It was really visible again that Shanghai is a city of huge contrasts: Some people share tiny, old lane house apartments with their extended family, have communal kitchens and bathrooms and sit outside around plastic tables with their neighbors playing Mahjong. A few meters away there are fancy hotels, glitzy, modern high-rise buildings and the Pudong skyline.

On our way back we passed Nanjing East Road, Shanghai’s major shopping street and People’s Square. You can really see a lot of Shanghai in 3 hours on bikes πŸ™‚