The First Day of Spring in Shanghai – Tian Zi Fang

This year, Shanghai had a 30-year record for spring rain, and winter lasted about two weeks longer than usual.  So on March 21, the first day of spring, when the sun shown and we could take off our winter coats, we were already happy.  Then Laura, our SNU contact, called.  She invited Barry and me to join her for an afternoon in Tian Zi Fang, a Shanghai  area of trendy galleries, boutiques, tiny shops, and cafés.  Families still live in the neighboring buildings.  Of course, we said, “Yes!”

On the bus:

The first day we needed sunglasses in 2012! Laura and I on bus 43 toward Tian Zi Fang

Trendy Tian Zi Fang alleyway

We had the afternoon to enjoy window shopping and wandering through the streets.  Everyone smiled in the warming sunshine.

Tian Zi Fang café

Barry introducing Laura to the joys of the Chinese head scratcher!

A sturdy helmet. Perhaps Barry can wear this while riding his moped on Maui.

Tian Zi Fang shops and galleries

Besides the cafés and galleries, small shops provide for the Tian Zi Fang neighborhood residents

This shop has something for everyone: fresh flowers, drinks, cigarettes …

Woman doing her laundry on the balcony.  Her husband is just disappearing through the open window.

Photographer Barry

Laura in front of the café where we stopped for snacks

Kommune Café- the oldest outdoor café in Tian Zi Fang. The waiters wear hats with red stars on the front.

Soy lattes, eggplant sandwich, and waffle dessert = $26 U.S. at the Kommune Café.  It was all tasty, and we got to sit in the sun and watch all the tourists–fun.

Barry and I on the first day of spring: Shanghai

Kommune cups- like the ones everyone needed to use during the Cultural Revolution

Tian Zi Fang neighborhood balcony

Boy and his grandma

Piping hot sweet potatoes – one of our favorite street foods

Bicycles are still a useful way to get around the city

Neighborhood apartments

Drying shoes

Evening comes at the end of the first day of spring in Shanghai 2012

Happy Spring.    Aloha and zaì jiàn, Renée

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

2 responses to “The First Day of Spring in Shanghai – Tian Zi Fang”

  1. rsheffer says :

    Wow Renee we just discovered Tianze Fang on our last weekend in Shanghai before we came home and I thought it was so great, bought an”antique” watch and chain for Adam/

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Ruth: Shanghai is full of surprises! I’m glad you had a great time. Do you know where you will be at the end of this month? “Ni hao” to Danny. Zai jian, Renee

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