Thursday, 30 August 2012

Explore Shanghai: Flower & Bird Market

Some call this the Pet Market. Other sites have named this the Flower, Bird, Fish & Insect Market. I'm just gonna do a literal translation from its Chinese name and stick to Flower & Bird Market, though I wouldn't mind a nicer name. (And also, most tourists don't travel for the sake of buying a pet. I think?)




Julia Dress from Volupza.livejournal.com.
I didn't know those uncles were behind me when I took this picture. Plus I couldn't wait for them to leave cos they were just..doing their stuff there. I think they kind of add a market mode to the photo, don't u think? ;)


I've never seen a kitty cage this populous. 









These poor tortoises were all stacked up on each other in such a small tank, it's cruel. They have no space to move about, much less swim. Inhumane pet trade... Then again, who really cares? It's not like they're big on having personal space. 

Which brings me to one thing I noticed when I was in China, and I really say this not to offend anyone, which is that many Chinese people have no sense of personal space. On the escalators, while queuing up, while standing waiting for the traffic green man...they just stand so closely to me...for what??? I remembered queuing for shengjian and the person in front of me moved forward like half a step, so I didn't really see a need to kuay sio (squeeze), then this woman queuing up behind me went "Eh!" then gestured for me to move forward. 

Excuse me. Go where? If it was raining and we were outdoors and you were standing in the rain, SURE! I would inch in even if it's a little bit just so you can squeeze in to hide from the rain. Auntie, we were in a shopping mall, and there is a proper queue with everyone having their own collection receipt. There's no need to be worried that anyone will cut our queue yo? (Mind you, she was literally breathing into my hair.) 

China has a lot of land. Someone please explain to me why the sense of personal space is as such. Please? 

Anyway, I hope these tortoises somehow, someday, end up in a good home, or at least be put out into the wild where they can be free to swim. 

Caught this parrot just STARING at me. Even from afar. Wonder if it was the blue dress or my earrings. I used to have a cockatiel & it had a ring toy hanging from its cage just like this earring.


Eeeek!!
Mind you, these things were alive. They're not specimens. The red tiny condom-lookalike thing is a plate for their food. People really keep them as pets????




!!!!!!!!!!! *screams!!!* *faints*

Okay fine it doesn't look so bad. Doesn't this remind you of the cricket in Pinocchio?  


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *SCREAMS!!!!! FAINTS*






...for the crickets~ 


This looks like something we would have in Singapore in one of those alleys in the wet markets.




Ducklings!!! They're one of my favourite birds of all time! Don't know why, maybe cos they're billed? I just think they somehow look cuter than chicks.


Are you saying I'm not cute?


The Flower & Bird Market (aka Pet Market) is located at:
405 Xizang Nan Lu, 
near Fangbang Zhong Lu 
西藏南路405号 
万商花鸟鱼虫交易市场, 
近方浜中路



Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Explore Shanghai: Dongtai Lu Antique Market

Junkie Alert! 

The following place will seem totally unappealing to my mother, and probably many of you as well, for for those into really old things, or looking into interesting props or home decor, this is where you can dig out interesting stuff:



If we ever have such items at home, Mum will throw them out with no second thoughts. She doesn't believe in clutter. Not that I'm a hoarder, but sometimes we keep things because they have some special meaning, or the items are attached to a particular piece of memory, or maybe because "someday we might need them". 

Don't tell me you've never kept items just because. I'm not so bad now. At least not in the acquisition of things. If you don't acquire them, you won't need to figure out what to do with them or face the difficult decision of throwing them out later, right? Especially when you don't exactly like it enough for it to take up a spot in your S$60,000 room space. (Assuming you live in a S$300,000 HDB flat.) 

Home space is precious in Singapore, so these days I consider something very carefully before I actually acquire it. (I stood in front of a tissue box holder in Franc Franc for 20 minutes before deciding to get it, and that is after I picked it up, put it down and circled the store for 45 minutes.)


Most stalls sell the same old things, so I wonder how these owners earn their keep. If you wish to get old coins, those old-school green canvas school bags, crockery, male beads (???), weird statues of Chinese mythical creatures, Mao Zedong memorabilia, old televisions, or even 80-year-old trunk cases which you don't mind if it's not LV, you can come here. 

There ARE interesting things if you look hard enough, except I'm a little superstitious when it comes to old old old old items. Especially things like vases (goodness know what has gone in there), clothes, watches... They give me the creeps. Plus old things almost always have this....smell. 

That said, I do like certain old things, because they have an understated charm and mysterious air about them, like this gramophone that I found:

Can you see the angels engraved in the "petals"? (What do you call that part of the gramophone?!)

This shop also sells old sewing machines and grandfather clocks! One statement item is all u need to up the vintage vibes in your home decor.


政府牌香烟???

Almost everyone smokes in China. Simply because cigarettes are dirt cheap over there. RM15 for Marlboro Lights or something. Divide that by 5. S$3. THREE FRIGGIN' SINGAPORE DOLLARS! Here it costs close to $12? #ThatsWhy 

What comes to mind when you think about Shanghai? How about Shanghai movies? 
Yup, Shanghainese women with perfectly coiffed hair, red lipstick, tight bodies in Cheongsams (with bushy underarms), and sucking long and hard on a cigarette 夜上海-style. Think Lust, Caution. Or 2046 with Maggie Cheung minus the armpit hair. 


Copies. Imitations. Fakes. Whatever you call them. They're not the originals, for sure. Then add the ah-yi inside the shop at the side of the picture yelling at me "No picture no picture!!!" 

Oh the irony. \^.^/

By the way I wasn't trying to "copy" her pictures for duplication pictures. The 3 arses with 2 butt cracks caught my amused attention. 


Dongtai Lu Antique Market is at Dongtai Lu, between Fuxing Lu & Congde Lu, or enter from another entrance between Xizang Lu & Liuhe Lu.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Review: HappyBox & Clover by the Spa

If you're tired of receiving gifts you don't want, or fear gifting such items, you now have the ability to buy a gift for someone, yet let him/her choose what exactly they would like to have. (No, we're not talking about angpows.)

Sounds like a good deal? 

Seemed like that to me. happybox.sg has partnered with over 20 quality establishments to bring to you Beauty Delights Happybox, & Wine & Dine Happybox, so you get to choose which type of gift you would like to present. What your recipient will get is a box like this


Inside will be a catalogue of services they can choose from, and a Happybox gift card. 

Beauty Delights happybox catalogue

All they have to do is make their selection, activate the gift card at happybox.sg, and present the gift card as payment when they go for their reservation/appointment. Voila~! It's done! You got someone a present, and he/she can't blame you for giving them something they don't like cos they get to choose. 
The only downside is there isn't enough brands I was familiar with (or maybe I was just not that updated), and the only ones I know from the catalogue were Mentsu, Fabulous Tan, Rustic Nirvana, and Serendipity Nail Spa. Perhaps I was being greedy and spoilt. Nevertheless, it was good to explore and learn about new brands I never knew of.


I chose a facial treatment by Clover by the Spa, situated at The Central. The reason? I like clovers. Lucky clovers. The 4-leafed ones. Plus the name sounded nice. =D




Clover by the Spa uses only dermalogica products. I'm not a user of dermalogica products, but I've heard enough about them to know that they are very very reputable. My therapist that day said he used to have very very bad skin, and he joined dermalogica immediately upon graduation as dermalogica really transformed his skin and his life.


Initially I was skeptical about having a male therapist, but I was immediately put at ease by his expert knowledge in his field. Kenneth knows that he is doing, and he is good. Every step was carefully explained to me, and he handled my face with the right amount of pressure - systematic, firm yet gentle.

After deep cleansing my face, I was treated to an IPL session. They call it PTF, and can treat anything from pigmentation to acne to aging, loose skin. 




 Kenneth uses guasha to rid your face of toxins as well as improve facial metabolism and to achieve that glow~ This is then followed by mask chosen for your skin condition. Mine was a delicious-smelling oat mask which really smelt like oatmeal. I drifted off to sleep in oatmeal-smelling bliss. Heavenly~


After the treatment. Me without makeup. 


My therapist Kenneth whom I raved about so much. You would have read about it some time back if you've been following me on twitter. ;)


 For those curious about the PTF (IPL) prices for hair removal, here is their price list as of August 2012.



Overall, I very much enjoyed my session at Clover by the Spa. If this is the kind of standard of spa treatments available from the range in the Beauty Delights Happybox catalogue, I say a Happybox would be a great gift idea for the ladies, the stressed out, the vain & the body-conscious. Hopefully in time to come there would be more partners to spoil us with. For now, 17 options will suffice. ;)

Read more about happybox and their partners at happybox.sg.


Explore Shanghai: Indian Food @ Tianzifang 田子坊

I haven't been blogging too much about my one month trip to Shanghai because I've been so busy since I came back. Yeah yeah, I know you're going to say it's always the same excuse, but it's true! Sompah!!! I've been trying to juggle my real-estate learning, catching up with friends, spending time with Alton (he's recovering very well and is very active again!), and trying to find a way to get everything organized. I call this my transitional phase, which I foresee may take a few months. Bear with me for a bit, and I promise I'm going to keep writing for you, for me, because you keep coming back. 

I have a calendar (the calendar which I synchronize across all my devices on Gmail actually) which I schedule my posts and videos now, so hopefully that helps to keep me focussed on you. That calendar is actually looking a tad daunting at the moment cos I've stuffed everything in my life in there, including backdated posts supposedly due last month and beyond (& I mean from my dENiZEN China posts...Oh GAWD~!!!!), as well as appointments, events, shoot dates, meetings, real estate matters, yada yada... Whoa~

Having everything in my calendar is great though because I can see everything at a glance. All I need to do is improve on my time management skills and I'll be good. 

Back to Tianzifang. I briefly talked about it before in one of my dENiZEN We Are Explorers posts, and I'll probably need a few more to finish it. In my month in Shanghai, I went there a total of.......one time. Lol. Weather was too hot for me to want to venture out much, & chances are, unless the Boyfriend takes me out, I just want to stay indoors most of the time. 

Wait. Did I just say the B-word? 

I did. I've been thinking if I should reveal his identity yet, and trust me, it's not because I'm ashamed of him or anything (in fact I'm proud as hell of this one!), nor because I'm afraid to jinx the relationship, or whatever reason it may be that you can think of. Maybe a part of me just wants to keep you guys curious for a bit. You know, hanging. (That's me being zek ahk.) Or maybe, I just want the people closest to me to be able to meet him first. You know, my closest friends, my mum, the rest of my family... 

My Mum & I have set a pact that if I bring a guy home before I'm 27, or if it's not someone I think is worthy enough to bring home (I shall further define what "worthy" means in a separate post), she will not entertain the guy at all, much less meet him. I think, or rather (call me overzealous if you may), I'm pretty sure this is the one I'm really keen on having my mother meet one day. =)
Oh coincidentally, I'm 27 already. Heh. #NowYouKnow

Okay seriously really back to tianzifang now. Lol.


This time I went at night, and it was mainly because we were looking for a place to have dinner & TianZiFang was on my to-visit list. I didn't quite finish visiting this 2nd time either as many shops were closing & we were hungry. So I guess a 3rd visit is a must. 




I found Modern Toilet (read Taiwan post) near one of the Tianzifang entrances! Guess it's new! & I very cleverly forgot to take a picture to show you guys. Bah~ For those interested, know that Modern Toilet is now also in Shanghai Tianzifang. ;)

I haven't had Indian Food in a long time, and considering I don't really see much Indians in Shanghai, I was wondering if I could find Indian food there, and of course, how it would compare to the ones I know.

I tell you, The Secret really works. Think, and somehow it will materialize. I was just thinking about Indian food on my way to Tianzifang (I didn't even tell the Boyfriend that I was), and we saw this:




Guess what? This one spoke to him too. ;)

So after like, 10 minutes of checking tianzifang out, we zipped into Lotus Land. 

 Very cosy setting.




Huge wall mural




Partygirl Tube Romper in black by redpoppiez.blogspot.com
I love the corner where we could take off our shoes and sit homestyle. Throw in the fact that I'm coincidentally in a super comfy romper (lycra-like material so imagine how smooth n wrinkle-free it is), and you have me nua-ing around the table. A lot.

Beware: Camwhore pics abound.







This area is so comfy that I basically sat *lower and lower against the wall while waiting for my food. And after I've eaten. 

*First picture of me above showed that when seated upright, the line of pebbles was supposed to be at chest level.


 The donut-less bun that I got so many requests to do a hair tutorial on which I have yet to do. *hides face*
(Please don't be mad. Please? I give you more pretty pictures on Instagram to make up for it? Deal k? & I promise promise promise that I WILL make this video tutorial.)

Now for the food. We ordered Butter Chicken, which is a MUST every time I eat Indian, Prawn Masala, & Palek Paneer (also another favorite~~). 

 Ooooooo~~~ See all that gravy? Fattening as hell, but what the heck. Yolo. EAT!
(Though I have to admit that I wasn't quite used to their huge serving size. Of course, we didn't finish it all, or my waistline and face would have to pay.)

No indian curry is complete without naan, indian bread.


So gud~ So so so so guuuuud~ Just looking at pictures now makes me hungry.

I would've loved to take more pictures, but their food was so delicious that eating them was all I could focus on (other than him, of course). Okay okay before you die of over-sweetness thanks to yours truly in love, I shall make one concluding statement: Lotus Land is on my come-back list. 


Till my next China post. Love you lots! (Yes, that's for all of you. =D)