An Afternoon Stroll

29 Sep

On a recent Sunday we went to lunch at a seafood restaurant that we have walked by dozens of times but never entered.  We had fresh grilled oysters,mussels and steamed fish with soy sauce and ginger.  While I was stared at quite a bit – “A foreigner is in our restaurant!” by this point I’m pretty used to that and after a while the waitstaff left us to our food.

After lunch we decided to take a walk – it wasn’t too hot and it’s always nice to take a stroll.  We wandered a bit and then I suggested we walk by the neighborhood temple that is close by.  The street was turned into an open market.  Each shop had its wares turned onto tables – children’s toys, backpacks and lots and lots of wrapping paper.  I took the opportunity to buy several sheets because wrapping paper is strangely difficult to find here. 

Because the area borders the temple the architecture is more classical.  Tiled roofs, low buildings – it called for a picture, but I didn’t bring my camera.  Turning another corner or two we stumbled onto a street full of book stalls – the books spread out, slightly dusty but full of bright pictures and so tempting.  School starts in September so there were stacks and stacks of textbooks, with dollies stacked high – children’s books, high school books, dictionaries.  I love the start of a new school year and the promise of autumn.  I wanted to buy books – test my Chinese ability against gradeschoolers, but I refrained. 

I don’t know if the book market is permanent or a seasonal occurrence and if I go back in a few weeks it may all have disappeared, fading into the past of the constantly changing Shanghai landscape.

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2 Responses to “An Afternoon Stroll”

  1. Christa October 6, 2011 at 1:16 am #

    Hi Greta-

    I bought a children’s book (actually, probably a pre-teen “novel”) when we were in Spain, thinking it would be a good way to get more practice with my Spanish and do some relaxing reading at the end of the day. Boy was I wrong!!! Children’s books are HARD! I didn’t realize how many made-up words are in children’s literature until I tried to read that book and couldn’t find definitions for most of the words I didn’t understand. I have found an “encyclopedia” of Planet Earth (written at about the 3rd grade level) to be helpful though. It might be interesting to pick up a gradeschool history textbook or something to see what the kids learn about history in their schools. Thanks for sharing your stories!

    • gkm2011 October 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

      I totally understand – when I was teaching English I had a fellow teacher help me get a couple of “easy” books in Chinese. No way! I still can’t read them almost four years later. It is tempting though. Hope you’re doing well.

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