Work has kept me fairly busy lately but I still have time to learn Mandarin and Tai Chi. I recently finished learning the 24th style of Yang Tai Chi, I practice fairly regularly to perfect it, and find it much easier than learning Mandarin. In a few months I’ll begin learning another style.

ru doh bin - green bean cake

This is called ru dou bin. It is basically a green bean pastry cake, quite tasty despite being unsweetened. They also make a red bean cake, but I like the green better.

ru doh bin - green bean cake

the gym

I found a climbing gym here in Shanghai and went climbing yesterday with a work colleague. It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve climbed — my hands are still aching. In the picture below is a young man from Oregon climbing a route up on the ceiling. He is also an English teacher. There were also a few young, English speaking, Chinese youths there pulling some amazing dynamic moves.

ceiling route

After climbing I went to a massage place recommended by one of my Chinese colleagues for their skilled blind therapists who can really find the knots. I was worked on in a room with about eight beds, all but one with people being massaged, and all fully clothed. It was my first fully-clothed full-body massage, and my first in China. After 80 minutes of some serious (and at times painful) digging, elbowing, and hard patting, I left there feeling like dough ready for the oven, and completely renewed. It cost a whopping $14 US. I’m told for a little less money I can also get a 70 minute foot and leg massage. I’ll be going back there again.

the "new" wheels

I bought a good looking used bicycle recently and it’s fun riding around, but it’s a hard ride, it doesn’t have any gears, and the axle squeaks noisily. I’m on my second set of pedals, the first broke. I think of it as a metaphor for my overall experience here so far: everything looks good on the surface and promises to take you places, but not everything works perfectly, smoothly, or quietly. 😉  I’m told this also matches other teachers’ experiences here.

the store

Even the Apple store in Shanghai is huge. This is the first floor. Apple products cost way more than they do in the US, even though they’re made here.

These women, outside the stadium near my home, are practicing some sort of sword dancing in slow motion.