Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Nanmen Small Commodities Wholesale Market

About a month ago I went with a friend to look for some fabric. She had a skirt that she wanted to make and she remembered me saying I wanted to make a pillow to go in Baby O's circus tent.
The first level of the market is actually a flea market. To get to the fabric section we walked straight back and then up to the second level. I knew it wasn't going to be like JoAnn Fabric, but it was a little crazier then I was expecting it to be. This is China I should have known there would be fabric everywhere. There was fabric piled on fabric from the floor to practically the ceiling in some of the stalls. Others had roll after roll leaning against the walls. There was almost any type of fabric you could want: linen, cotton, silk, plain, plaid, sparkly, lace, flannel, wool, denim, etc.
You could also get zippers, buttons, thread and ribbon.
My friend was able to find some pretty fabric for her skirt. I didn't find any fabric I wanted for the pillow, but I wasn't looking very hard, I was just talking it all in. I ended up taking J to this market a couple of weeks later. He got some plaid fabric for a couple of shirts.
Both J and my friend took the fabric they purchased here to a tailor to have their clothes made. It appeared that some of the stalls also had tailors, but when my friend asked they all said no, they wouldn't make the style of dress that she wanted. Luckily there is a good tailor close by that would make it for her.
On the visit with J we also wandered around the flea market before leaving. There was SO.MUCH.STUFF and all different types too! You could get plants, dishes, buttons, shoes, clothes, underwear, pajamas, art, goldfish, rubber bands, brooms, tape, purses, toys, and probably a ton of other stuff that I didn't even notice.
The market was easy to get to by public transportation. I will definitely be going back some time soon.
(Address: 63, renmin road gusu)

A Picture a Week | 11/52

On Monday Baby O and I did a little bit of shopping at a 'new to us' mall. The mall is located near Taihu Lake. (Taihu lake is the third largest freshwater lake in China (869 sq mi; 2,250 sq km).) After shopping our driver suggested we stop and look at the lake as I haven't been to this area before.

We were the only people in the park so I let Baby O walk on his own. He loved it until we got to the board walk area at the lakes edge. He didn't want to walk on it at all! When he did he was very cautious about his steps. I tried to get a video of him taking his tiny careful steps, but he just stood in one spot.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Picture a Week | 10/52

This week at Gymboree!

A Picture a week | 9/52

Oops! I never got around to posting last weeks picture. Better late than never right?

Last week Baby O and I were going to take the train to Shanghai with a friend and her daughter. By the time we got to the train station there weren't tickets for the train we wanted and we would have had to wait two to hours for the next train. That didn't sound like any fun at all so we scratched the idea and decided we would try again at a later date. Most importantly we will be buying our tickets beforehand.

Anyway, this picture is from our taxi ride to the train station.

Tiny hand holding! So adorable :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Picture A week | 8/52

Long hair no more! Well I finally cut Baby O's hair and I miss it. (Technically these pictures are from last week.) He looks like a different kid now, well more like a kid and not my baby any more.

 I cut it myself, so don't look too closely it is not a great hair cut. I read a few tutorials and watched a couple of videos. I got out the Bumbo seat, some Puffs (he ate almost an entire container) and put a Baby Einstein video on and an hour later he had short hair! Everything I read said to have an extra person around to help....I should have done this. J was out of town and I knew if I didn't just do it than I would keep putting it off. Hopefully it will go smoother with someone else around next time.
Just in case you forgot how wacky his hair was.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Jing'An Temple

We recently visited the Jing'an Temple in Shanghai. Jìng'ān Si is translated to Temple of peace and tranquility. It seems odd to have a peaceful/tranquil temple like this in the middle of such a huge and busy city like Shanghai, but it was quiet and peaceful once you got inside. This Buddhist temple was originally built in 247 AD along the Suzhou Creek. In 1216, during the Song Dynasty, it was moved to its current location. During the Cultural Revolution the temple was used as a plastics factory. In 1983 Jing'an Temple was  returned to original purpose. Renovations on the temple were competed in 2010.

It was interesting to see people praying in this beautiful temple with skyscrapers and ads for Tiffany & Co. on the buildings next door.

Here are some pictures from our day.
People were trying to throw coins into the little pagoda on the left. It seemed kind of dangerous to me since no one had very good aim.
We stopped to listen to these guys chant for a while. Baby O really enjoyed it.
This is a large piece of jade that you are supposed to touch for good luck.
 After the temple we stopped at the Shanghai Brewery for some lunch. J enjoyed a porter (he hadn't had a porter, in China, since we moved.)

First Visitors

About a month ago we had our first visitors here in Suzhou and it was so fun! My cousin JS and his friend D came to visit for a couple of days. They had already been to Beijing and Xi'an before stopping in Suzhou/Shanghai for a couple of days. After seeing us they were off to Hong Kong. What an adventure they were on! They have seen more of China than I have and I've been living here for seven months. I need to start planning some trips ASAP!

After JS and D got settled and some laundry started we headed out for an afternoon of Suzhou sightseeing. Our first stop was supposed to be an old canal street, but we went to the wrong spot. So we headed to the Humble Administrators Garden. Unfortunately it started raining just as we started walking there. We still went to the garden in hopes that the rain might stop. We road in rickshaws part of the way. Baby O wasn't sure what to think of this ride.
This was my second visit to The Humble Administrators Garden. This time it was very rainy, with lots of puddles and slippery spots. But the garden was still pretty.
Canal outside the Humble Administrators Garden.
The happy travelers!
After the garden we all wanted to head inside since it was still raining. We stopped at the Suzhou Museum. This museum houses Chinese art, calligraphy and handmade crafts. I forgot to take pictures here.

We headed home after the museum to relax and dry out a bit before heading to dinner. For dinner we went to Hai Di Lao Hot Pot. This was my first experience at Hai Di Lao (a hot pot chain here in China) which is known for its service. J did the ordering and he enjoys ordering new fun things to try and also ordering a LOT of food. At this dinner he decided to order snake, bull frog and pig brain! JS and D were both great sports about J's excessive (and interesting) order. All of us tried at least a bite of all three. I didn't really care for any of them, but I thought the snake was the best. My favorite part of the evening was the 'Lamian' that we ordered. 'Lamian' is a type of Chinese noodle, lā, (拉) means to stretch or pull and miàn (麵) means noodle. A guy came to our table and pulled and stretched the noodles right in front of us. I loved it!
Some of the food that J ordered
More food!
The waitress holding Baby O walked him around and played with him all evening. He loved stopping at each table saying 'ni hao' to everyone.
Eating brains! Notice the hesitation to close my mouth and actually eat it!
We all got aprons to keep our clothes clean while we ate, even Baby O. It was also a good leash :)
JS and D spent their next two days in Shanghai exploring. It was really great having them here. I learned a few things from their visit: 1. I need to have more food options in the house when there are people visiting and 2. I need to make a better tourist attraction plan (and probably do a test run) before our next visitors. Hopefully I will be more prepared next time!

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Picture a Week | 7/52

Every Monday there is a outdoor playdate at one of the other apartment complexes here in Suzhou. This past Monday was a beautiful day so we went to play in the sun. Baby O mostly walked around with that yellow rake. He also ate some sand and tried out the swings.