December 2009

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The subway system in Shanghai has always bee pretty good, but since taxis are relatively inexpensive at 12RMB starting price, I tend to opt for the taxi if the destination is requiring more than one transfer on the subway.  This month (December 2009), three additional subway lines or segments (Line 7, 2nd phase of Line 9, and Line 11) have opened and made taking the subway from the city center much more attractive.  These new line currently operating from 9am to 4pm, and gradually expanding service to 5:30am to 11pm in the next three months.

New airport route:  Visitors coming from Pudong Airport can now change from the maglev train to Line 7 and arrive directly at the ChangShu Rd station, which is closer to Quintet than Line 2′s JingAn Temple station.  You’d have an easier time walking with your luggage.

Fabric market: we used to recommend that guests take a taxi to South Bund Fabric Market, but now you can also take Line 7 to transfer to Line 4 at DongAn Rd and get off at Nanpu Bridge station.  The fabric market is within 5 minute walking distance from the station.

Expo site: go one station south on Line 7 from Changshu Rd Station and change to Line 9 at Zhaojiabang Rd Station.  Then at the Madang Rd station, change to the soon to be open Line 13 directly to the Expo site.

Shanghai F1 Race Track:  With the opening of Line 11 to Jiading, F1 race goers will be able to take the subway to the race track.  Change from Line 2 Jiangsu Rd station to Line 11, and then continue on the west branch of Line 11 at Jiading Xincheng to reach the race track.  The train’s top speed reaches 100KM/hour, the fastest in the Shanghai metro area.

As there will be more lines coming on-line in the next few months, keep an eye on the development by checking this very nicely done English subway map site here.

For our first anniversary, I though we’d make a Christmas keepsake for guests who come to stay with us around the holiday time.  If everyone likes it, we can potentially do a version every year!

While brainstorming on what the gift should be, I was inspired by the recent “Tiny Feet” exhibition at the Plum Gallery.  Why not make a Christmas stocking with a Chinese flavor?  For those who know a bit about Chinese history, women, especially in the royal and wealthy families, used to have their feet bound to about only 3 inches long starting in their childhood.  Women with tiny feet supposedly looked delicate and attractive to men when they walked and swayed from the imbalance.  While the feet finding custom is now seen as an evil, sexist tradition that kept Chinese women subdued for centuries, some of the design and crafts that went into making the tiny shoes that covered those feet were exquisite.

I brought up this stocking idea to my guest-friend Hiroko and she also thought this ideas was interesting.  So when she came to Shanghai a few weeks ago, she helped sketched out a design for the stocking and then we went to the fabric market to pick out the fabrics together.  We chose four different patterns and colors for the stocking to give it a luxurious look and feel; the fabrics we used are also the same fabrics that people make “qipao” dresses and “mian-ao” jackets out of.

Each of the stockings is sewn by my housekeeper’s neighbor so each one looks a bit different and unique!  For a limited time only, we will sneak these little stockings into the guest rooms as parting gifts.  If you want one, come stay with us soon!