Monday, June 25, 2012

Xin Tian Di

On Sunday afternoon, we had our driver take us into Shanghai to meet up with NZ's cousin, TZ. He emailed NZ earlier in the week to let him know that he would be in Shanghai and wanted to know if we'd be interested in meeting up for dinner & drinks.

The obvious response was a "YES!" from both of us.

Our first visitor and we haven't even been here a month.


Since TZ had been traveling for work across Asia for a week already, and we hadn't really been into Shanghai other than our stay at the Sheraton our first night in China, we offered to make the drive to meet him. It was a 2 hour drive, and for the most part, we didn't hit traffic till we got into Shanghai past the Hongqiao airport.

Shanghai has an area called xin tian di, which is architecturally rich with history (shikumen houses), but also very modern with the shops and restaurants that are located in these reconstituted homes. The area takes up a few city blocks. Xin tian di reminded Nick and I of Disneyland because it was like we were taken out of the city and into another world. It had cobblestone walkways & old stone buildings. Pretty much straight out of a storybook.

Our first stop was at a Tapas bar for some Tsingtao beer (this brand has replaced Budweiser on our fridge shelf) and a prosciutto & salame appetizer. I loved people watching from the patio. There were many foreigners in the mix, and there was even a John Mayer imposter singing "Georgia" for a big crowd. It was just a really neat place..and although the mall that anchors xin tian di was calling my name, I headed off to dinner with the boys. TZ had been to xin tian di many years ago, and recalled a super delish Chinese restaurant within the corridor. We found it and decided to give it a go. As formal and Chinese as it was inside, I was laughing at their use of the iPad for ordering off the menu. They literally give each table an iPad, and the guests order from there! We ate family style and I enjoyed my first taste of Peking duck. Yes, mom, this is the same daughter that lived on plain egg noodles for much of her teenage years.

One unforseen issue that arose not one, not two, but THREE times yesterday was that of our son's need to poop.

Yep, poop.

THREE times!

Now, in the states, this is no big deal. At home, I'd grab the diaper bag, head to the restroom, pull down the public Changing station, and get to work on the clean-up. Not the case here in China. Sal has been changed on, dare I admit it???


Hey, when in Rome, right?

Thankfully I have an arsenal of disposable changing mats I can toss, and I use an extra diaper under his head to keep his head cushioned.

What was different with yesterday's change at the restaurant was the help I received.

I asked to be directed to the toilet , and instead of the hostess just pointing, she walked me down & opened the stall door. I quickly decided that I could not close the stall door and complete a change, so I started to pull out my changing pad with the door wide open. A mom has to do what a mom has to do! Imagine my surprise when I felt a hand tug at the mat I was struggling to unfold with one hand. Out of my hand it went, and next thing I know, it's been shook open and laid on the floor by the sweet hostess. I thought to myself, OMG, she is going to watch me change a poopy diaper in her restaurant. She is probably cursing me under her breath! with no other choice than to have an audience, I removed the diaper. I looked up to grab a wipe, and I then had 3 more restaurant staff staring over my shoulder. What came next shocked me ( in a good way). The sweet hostess grabbed hold of one of Sal's wild legs so that I could finish cleaning up the mess. I jokingly kept saying " Peeee-eww and Stinky" and I think she understood English a little bit because she giggled. Once I was finished, she picked him up and played with him so I could clean up.

How's that for service?

Never in a million years would that happen in the States. Had this happened to us two weeks ago when we arrived, it would have creeped me out..but even just 2 weeks in, I realize that the saying, " It takes a village to raise a child" is sort of how Chinese culture works. I saw the woman who helped me in the bathroom as so very kind--but I think all she saw a mother in need of an extra hand, and jumped right in. I've noticed this also with our ayi. If she sees Sal just even begin to fuss she goes to try and fix it...even if it's just that his toy got away from him ( never mind that he has 16 others within reach-there's no shortage of toys here). The Chinese women I have run into this far, have been very warm and nurturing.

After our bathroom incident, word got around the restaurant that there was a kě ài (cute) baby in the house, and many of the employees came to our table, picked Sal up and took photos with him. He was a good sport with the paparazzi until he had had enough flashbulbs in his eyes and broke down crying and wanting his mama. NZ so awesomely documented the breakdown so I could share it in true oversharing fashion.

And with that breakdown, our driver picked us up, dropped TZ at his hotel and we hit the (sleepy) road back home.

Thanks for the visit Tony!

1 comment:

  1. Love to see what you guys are up to! Sal is already more of a world traveler than most of us. :)