Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hi again all,

Feels like forever that I'm vented/spit out/shared some of the amazing experiences of Shanghai. Let's see, I finally got a chance to seriously adventure off the beaten path, albeit it's only 7 minutes from my apt., and head into one of the local neighborhoods. Now you've got to rethink...if you venture into a gated area with a guard hut, surrounded by 6-10 seven story apts., all of which all have their own gates, that have small pathways between them that allow a walking/biking path-if you know where they are, you have then entered a "neighborhood." The neighborhood's will often have every kind of store (10' x 15' on avg.) you can find on the main roads, along with 10' x 5' hardware stores, hair salons, fruit shops, restaurants-some scary, some adventurous, others...good...maybe...if I knew what to order or what some of the options were for the noodle soup. Hey, I'm done with pork knuckle tendons so I'm picky. Annyyy freakin' way, the neighborhoods also have wet markets. I hadn't actually seen one till last weak. Wow, Pike Place Market on steroids with no conscience. You can buy anything filleted; it's just fish, recently killed, and many that are still swimming or in a bag huffing and puffing around. The beef-mostly pork-is waiting to get the cleaver: raw, boiled, steamed, fried, seared, frozen, and there are no prices to be found. The veggies look very good. Everyone selects their own by handling each and every one. I calculated that each piece of fruit and veg are touched 7000 times per hour. If you set your mind to it, you can visualize the viruses interacting, having sex, and creating super viruses. We have a large bottle of vegetable/fruit disinfectant. I went through for the second time today and was astounded by what I ran into immediately upon entering. There was a guy about 25 yrs. old pointing to a cloudy glass encasing under the counter. The guy in the Nike t-shirt yanks out 2 live chickens. I took a closer gander at where they'd come from--OMG, there were 30 birds crammed into a space that may be deemed cruel by 100% of any animal lover on the planet. The cashier bound each chicken's feet with a specially tagged wire, tossed them into the weigh scale-digital I might add-and determines the $7 price, and then upon agreement, hands them to Frank. Well, he looked like a Frank. Frank inspects the binding, flips the first bird's neck into his thick fingers, and then out of nowhere his boning knife appears-I don't think it was a Henckel-and he slowly, as if hoping to spy the moment the blood spurts out, slices the throat just halfway open. I don't know, it must be part of the blood letting. But after this careful incision, he literally tosses it into a 20 gallon vat of bubbling oil. 2 minutes, then remove with tongs and give it to Alice. She has the big spoon and stirs them up until she's convinced that most all of the feathers have either burned off or been rubbed away. 3 minutes more and Johnny dips them in the good grease for a minute, bags 'em up, and they're ready for the Harvest Moon Festival celebration.

Later today, Anne decided we had to go to the hospital. Doc Brown from New Orleans thinks she developed some secondary bacterial infection from whatever her Imodium AD and Lomotil wouldn't clear up. Antibiotics is the cure all here too. While filling in paperwork, Anne had to give them history; you know, heart disease, cancer, typhoid, etc. and in the middle of the pack was "Bad Breath", I kid you not...I asked the nurse if she could give us the answer.

On a lighter note, I went to a technology learning conference in Pudong over the weekend. I filled out huge applications last spring in hopes of being able to go, to give me a jump in learning more about the Smartboard I was selected to receive in my room-it's an interactive white board for those that need to know-and share some of the ways the rest of Asia was using it in their classrooms; I mean surely our school must be on the cutting edge! Smartboards(I used a similar ActivBoard every day last year for 2-3 hrs./day, document cameras, overhead projectors installed in the ceiling of my room, decent big screen, 6-12th grades are one to one with new Mac laptops, multiple rolling carts full of Mac laptops for classroom use. This could be fun! The week before I leave, the portable carts are dead/dormant, 2 computer labs have not been running yet, the projector in my ceiling has been transferred to the music room along with my big screen, and I was left with a cheap document camera that hooks upto an LCD monitor in the front of the room. Anyway, I did come away with a FABULOUS list of technology tools for teachers, that are available on the Net. If you'd like the list, provided with descriptors and links, just shoot me an email and it's yours. Lots of geek man hours went into finding, filtering, and organizing them into categories. Let me know!

We thought about buying the cat. Too much hair-we almost adopted a cat that was hanging in front of our apt. bldg., but it disappeared before we could keep it from being mistaken as chicken. Anyway, the tiny little pet store wouldn't bargain down from $450 US!!!!!!! NO cat is that cute!

zai jian--dg ;)

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