After taking you on an extended trip through Southern and Southwest China, I thought I’d give you a tour of something a little closer to home: my neighborhood.

As I mentioned at the end of last year, I moved out of downtown Shanghai into a suburb in the southwest area of this (massive, 23+ million population) city. My neighborhood is called Xinsong, it’s located in the bigger neighborhood of Xingzhuang, in the district of Minhang (see a map). Here is my apartment building:

I’m enjoying the change very much, not only for having my own space, but because the intensity, energy and constant noise of my former location was quite a challenge for someone who is more at home in the mountains. My apartment building faces a busy four-lane street, but overall the neighborhood is much more quiet than where I was before, and there is more greenery.

These photos are basically the “back street” behind my apartment building. It is lined with little shops, like most back streets in Shanghai.

A tall Westerner is much more of a rarity here, as evidenced by how often little children stare, point, and comment to their parents.

Look closely in the above photo, and you’ll see a black iron gate on the right. That’s the entrance to my neighborhood.

There’s more I could photograph when I have the time and interest, like… a dirty canal, a stinky indoor meat market, a fruit stand where the workers always gawk at me, a variety of ugly buildings…etc. etc.  🙂

Xinzhuang park is my closest nature escape. It’s very nice to have something like this nearby, after my first half year in the heart of downtown Shanghai. This first photo (above) shows a bit of a canal or river (really hard to tell the difference here).

In the above photo, a few musicians were just finishing up evening practice using traditional instruments. Hopefully I’ll catch them in the middle of it sometime.

Above is one of the many interestingly shaped trees in the park. There are also some fairly large trees too, thankfully.

No blog post would be complete without some food adventures. Maodu (pictured above) and baimoudu (pictured below) are two types of cow stomach. Apparently cows have two stomachs and you can eat them! Some Chinese friends and I tried both as a hot pot. It didn’t have much flavor, but it did have an unusual, cat-tongue-like texture, even when cooked. Hungry yet?