Lost Heaven

Lost Heaven is a well-known restaurant that serves food from the Yunnan province.  We’d never been so I suggested we go there.

We had a bottle of wine and some drinks at the bar on the top floor.  There was a nice roof top bar that would be amazing in the summer.  (We all are wearing the new glasses we’d gotten that day.)

Hanna mentioned something about singing, and we decided to go to karaoke around 2 AM.  Really, it is a totally Chinese cultural experience!   Here they are rocking out to Queen.

The Captain’s Bar

After viewing the SWFC, we decided to check out some live jazz at the House of Blues and Jazz. After a couple drinks, we went to the Captain’s Bar, conveniently located right across the street. It’s the top floor of the Captain’s Hostel and has the Bund view without pretentious drink prices.

Marion and George are Couch Surfers who stayed with us 4 days. They’re from the Netherlands, and George was studying business Chinese in Beijing.

The view is quite nice when the lights are still on. Behind us is the infamous view of Pudong across the Huangpu River.

37 Fuzhou Lu, near Sichuan Zhong Lu

KTV in Nanxiang

Singing, playing Liar’s Dice and drinking. Good times.

Local Dive Bar

After the concert, we went to check out a little bar near Da Marco. It’s just through an alley from our apartment. It’s small, dark, and wasn’t busy. Perfect.

Dan’s birthday

Dan turned a year older on the 21st, so a group of friends went to dinner at DeMarco and then to People 6 to celebrate.

Probably the scariest photo of Dan ever…. BTW, he’s not 18. But perhaps he wishes he were.

What is a birthday without shots? The bar had a huge selection of bottles… unfortunately, they were all empty bottles for show! It took Mark over 30 minutes to come back with a shot of something, which turned out to be tequila. Someone decided Wendy needed to learn the American college party way of shooting tequila.

It started pouring rain. Steam was rising from the lights in the bamboo. Try clicking on the photo to see a little detail. It looked cool.

Praia Avenue, Macau

Having a Bloody Mary at the Old Taipa Tavern. It was warm in the sun… perfect for a Saturday afternoon.

Thursday in Macau

A shrine by Adam’s apartment.

A cute little cupcake shop – with yummy cupcakes. We’re wondering how such a specialty shop can stay in business.

Jon doing fancy fingerwork playing Liar’s Dice.

Adam & Angela at the Irish Bar

The View

The View is the VIP lounge at the Sands Casino. Adam got a VIP card from a client, so we went there to hang out one night.

I had a strawberry margarita with chocolate. Yum.

We played Liar’s Dice most of the night.

November 12 – Whiskey Creek Grill

A while back, the SD Cattlemen’s Association was invited to a new restaurant in Mitchell, SD called Whiskey Creek Grill to “brand” their bar. That’s right, everyone brought in their branding iron and left their mark on the bar.

The “John Reisch” brand. It’s made of a lazy R and rocking J. (correct me if I am wrong, mom!)

After we get the crops in, everyone who helped gets invited to a Harvest Party. We had this year’s party at Whiskey Creek.

Tim explains how he made his wedding ring out of a quarter. (yes, made, as in hammered a lot to get it in the perfect shape.) He made his wife’s out of a nickel from her birth year!

Emily & mom making S’mores.

Saturday Night

On Saturday, we fit in a trip to the Bund, the grocery store, the Propaganda Poster Museum (which is walking distance from our apartment), a walk through a bit of the French Concession, the Pearl Market, lunch at Bukharra (an Indian restaurant), a Dutch movie our friend Inge brought over, a nap, a quick stroll on Nanjing Lu, a drink at 789 Nanjing Lu, and a couple beers at the Captain’s Bar. It was a busy day. (These are all Esther’s photos.)

I like this photo of us! I feel like we are on a movie set or something.

I’ve wanted to go to the Captain’s Bar for a while now, and it was on Esther’s to-do list because a co-worker had told her about it. It’s on the top of a hostel and the cheapest bar with a Bund view. Granted, the cheapest with a Bund view is still expensive! A draft Chinese beer was 45 RMB. We buy the bottled beer at the convenience store next to our house for about 4 RMB.

Anyway, we had a really good time talking about all of our memories (or lack thereof) from Sweden and discussed who we’d kept in touch with and who was doing what.

The Blarney Stone

Friday night Jon Settingsgard and Steve Gokie and I went to the Blarney Stone for supper and some drinks. Jon came later after he got back from Hong Kong. At 1:30 AM they rang the bell for last call. Soon after than, a large group of girls came in. A couple had on Canada shirts and
all of them had Olympic passes. The soccer events are held in Shanghai.

A quick Google search on my cell phone brought up the headline “Canada falls to US in women’s soccer.” The team was there to drown their sorrows or else celebrate just being at the Olympics. They certainly livened up the bar!

Jon, Jon and Steve

Jon hanging out – don’t you love his new glasses?

They put on some great American music… I miss this!!

Me and Christine Sinclair, the team captain. We think she looks bit like our friend Jen Connors, but not in this photo.

Jon then bought a bottle of vodka for them. They were pretty excited, but got his name wrong. :-)

Needless to say, the bar stayed hopping long, long after closing time. One of their coaches told us that this was the first time in over a year the girls even drank.

the Radisson Sky Bar

When Hanna and Henrik were here, we looked at the Radisson bar from the Le Meridian and thought it “looked pretty cool.” We decided to try it.

Upon arrival, we decided it wasn’t cool. There was a band from the Philippines, singing cheesy songs and doing bad dancing.

Chad and Jon hurrying to finish their drinks so we could leave. :-)

“Silver threads and golden needles…”

More dancing/singing madness…

This guy was great…. permed mullet, fanny pack, orange pants and what appeared to be a Wii guitar.

789 Nanjing Lu

Saturday night was Inge’s 2nd to last night here, so we decided to go out. We went to the “taser”, otherwise known as the Le Meridian hotel. They have an expensive bar that overlooks Nanjing Lu.

Inge got a little burned in Hangzhou yesterday. She is wearing one of the dresses she got made at the fabric market. Jon is in a fabric market shirt too (as usual).

789 Nanjing Lu

After dinner we decided the evening shouldn’t end just yet. We went to 789 Nanjing Lu, which is the bar at the top of the Le Royal Meridien Hotel. It is on the 65th floor and overlooks Nanjing Lu.

This is the Radission – we haven’t been there yet but decided we need to try it sometime. It looks cool!
(These are all Hanna’s photos.)

The Jin Mao Tower

The Jin Mao tower is currently the highest building in Shanghai that you can go in. The World Financial Center has beat it, but it’s not open yet.

The top disappears into the clouds.

The bar at the top is called Cloud Nine.

It’s the rainy season now, so very rainy and foggy all of the time. Most of the time we were in a cloud, but suddenly it blew away for a short time so we could see out below.

(These are all photos Hanna took.)

supper at the Spot

Holly, Ning and I ate at the Spot one night. It was pretty good – nice to get out with some friends! Holly was actually my boss when I worked in the IT department at Daktronics in Brookings. Ning worked at Dak there too and Holly spent a lot of time with him helping to set up the network in the Shanghai office.
It’s pretty odd to think that we now all live in China!

At the Portman

Jon, Holly and I went to the Portman one night for “a” drink. Holly and I had a drink but Jon had a few. :-) It has a great atmosphere but is pretty expensive!

One of the interesting things about the Portman is that the rocks glasses are pre-tilted. No drinking required to question your depth perception. :-)

Cloud 9

A few weekends ago, Jon and I went out for sushi with our friend Daniel. Then we all went to see his girlfriend, Wendy, and her dancing class belly dance. After that we went to the Grand Hyatt, which has a bar called Cloud 9 on the 87th floor. This photo was taken on the 85th floor looking down to the 56th floor.
It was a pretty nice place to chill out. We had a good time with Daniel and Wendy!

Las Tapas

Last Friday, Jon got some good news so Dan and Sai invited us out to celebrate. (I can’t say what it is until it’s been announced officially.) We went to an “Entertainment Street” near their new house with lots and lots of restaurants and bars. We ate at a place called Las Tapas and we thought the food was great! The sangria was not made traditionally at all, and not that good, but really potent. Think jungle juice.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving night was spent at The Spot, a bar on Tongren Lu. Dan, Sai, David (Dak sales from Hong Kong) and I waited for Jon, who was just getting back from Beijing. We didn’t have turkey, but did have some good dips and other appetizers. The menu is huge (literally!) but no turkey.

Castle Oktober

Some older photos, from October 27th.

Dan, Judd (senior project manager from Dak US) and Jon at Castle Oktober. It’s a beautifully-restored old building, now a restaurant with a great garden. It was built by a Chinese general in the 30’s, taken by the government and was the Taxation Bureau office until recently.

Dan and Jon dress freakishly similar. In the office, they somehow manage to wear the same color striped dress shirts and cuff links nearly every day. Even on the weekend, they both show up in Tommy Bahama t-shirts. I’m sure they’d say “great minds think alike.”

Actually, they said, “There’s not many places in China with clothes big enough for us!”

Aggressive Beggars

The last time I blogged on begging, I got flamed by some Anonymous person. If you are going to personally attack me, at least have enough guts to leave your name. Obviously, this person didn’t know me, or they would have known where I give money or donate time. Yes, I do mostly blog about positive or things that I think are interesting to others. I don’t blog about the evenings I eat a sandwich for supper and spend the night working. I blog about the times I go somewhere and try something new. Hence, it may seem that my life here is all fun and games, when in reality I just try to show the interesting things.

Anyway, one night we were at Malone’s, sitting outside. We had front row seats to what was pretty much a circus. I used the ISO 3200 setting on my point-and-shoot, hence the grainy shots. We watched a large group of beggars hassle everyone who walked by. They tried to use the kids to gain sympathy. Once as we walked by, a woman asked for money and on cue the kid starts fake coughing. A man was hovering nearby, clearly the “ringleader” of the group. If there was any trouble (such as some Chinese people demanding they leave) he disappeared.

These kids saw me taking a photo so their mom sent them over. I took this photo and then gave them some money.

This guy was just wasted and could hardly walk. The kids attacked his legs, sat on his feet and clung to him. That seems to be crossing the line.

The kids also were constantly running across the street. Never did an adult stop them or tell them to look before crossing. Traffic is crazy here and the rule is that cars have the right-of-way. I am afraid they were thinking, “One less mouth to feed…” Does China have a Child Services department? (I thought I heard that they have laws about taking care of your parents, but none about taking care of your children. But I have absolutely no facts back that up.)

This lady (right) was at least trying to sell something to make some money. Then a “working girl” came and was trying to sell something else. We saw the negotiation, then they left together. Ewww.

The whole evening bothered me quite a bit. I went home to try to find some more information about homelessness and ways to help in Shanghai. What I mostly found was information on how it is a choice for most of them.

A highlight of one story, based on the work of a high-school girl:

‘Huang said that 63 of the people she interviewed were “occupational beggars” who were not wandering alone in the streets because of a lack of money or accommodation. Staff at a government homeless shelter told Huang that about 80 percent of the street people in Shanghai were occupational beggars.

“Considering their income, I can only conclude that some beggars are occupational. They view begging as a job. The reason for them to live such a humble lifestyle is the ‘high pay, less labor’ mentality.” ‘

Shanghai published a guide on how to spot beggars that are trying to deceive you.

Old story about Shanghai police asking for a beggar task force.

I would like to help those less fortunate. But when it is a choice and they hassle me, I choose not to give to them. I choose to give to those obviously unable to work, who are at least trying to do something for a bit of money (such as playing and singing in the subway.) The able-bodied ones that are dressed warmly and chase after me won’t get a fen from me.

Oh – if anyone knows where I can donate some previously-used clothes, please let me know.


This was at the Blarney Stone, an Irish bar. I think they mean “Slippery Nipple.

the Blue Frog and crazy taxi drivers

Lonnie and Ed (from the customer service department at Daktronics corporate) were here for about a week. Friday night we were going to eat near our apartment. They got in a cab and called us to instruct the taxi driver how to get there. Jon’s phone locked up and he couldn’t answer, so the taxi driver kicked them out of his cab because they didn’t know where they were going. They walked to the Blue Frog and asked us to meet there. (The Blue Frog is an expat bar and grill. )

This shouldn’t have been a problem. Perk, an animator from LEDtronics, was visiting too. Perk, Jon and I grabbed a cab and told him to go to Da Ning Lu. After telling him the first several turns, he exited the elevated road. Suddenly we were going to Pudong (the way to the airport, WAY out of Shanghai.) Perk speaks Chinese so he was telling him where to go, along with us. However the guy didn’t have a clue. He kept speeding the wrong way.

He took us to Da Ming Lu, and next saw Da Lin Lu, but just kept going. We called Grace, one of the sales people, and told him exactly how to get there. He kept going in the same direction on the same street, the same wrong way. We started looking for another cab – we didn’t want to get out without another cab to get us out of that strange part of town. I was starting to get very creeped out with a very bad feeling about this guy.

Luckily, we were at a stoplight when I saw one on the other side of the street. I said get out now! and we all jumped out (yes, without paying) and jumped into the other cab as quick as we could.

We told the other cab driver to drive away quick and we’d give him a big tip. Perk explained the situation and told him where we started and where we were trying to go. The new driver thought the other driver was insane for taking us where we were. Then, the first driver started following us. He was pulling up next to us on the wrong side of the lane, shouting at us, honking, etc. Jon was just furious and told the new driver that if they other guy followed us all the way there, he’d take care of it.

Our new driver had to backtrack for a very long way before getting on the right track to Da Ning Lu. Ed and Lonnie had been waiting for us for over an hour, when we should have been there in about 15 to 20 minutes.

Party photos from Brad and Niki’s wedding

Taking a shot at the Saf (Safari Lounge) in Brookings Thursday night. The Saf is an old haunt – most of our friends worker there as bartenders, bouncers, the DJ or waitresses at some point! Alos, Brad and Niki met there. Our group of friends is scattered around now (Colorado, San Francisco, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hamsphire, and a couple still in various corners of South Dakota) so weddings are the only time everyone really can get together. So we pretend we’re young again and try to party like we did back in college! :-)

Niki and Brad. Congratulations!!!

A lot of the photos are from John and Megan Sievers – thanks guys! Megan has an iPhone – how cool is that?? Although she is kind of technology-impaired so many she should give it to me… (just kidding Megs!) Although – their camera really made me look like a ghost. I was going to tan before I left, but it costs about $10 a session here! Chinese love white skin (almost all of the face soap, body wash, etc. is labeled as whitening) so at least it is desirable here, even though it is not back in the US.

The red Oldsmobile used to be mine. I started driving it in 8th grade when I was 14 years old. Mom and Dad gave it to me at my high school graduation and I drove it until we moved to China and sold it to our friend Aaron. Someone hit the driver’s side mirror a few months ago so Jon (Mr. Fix-it) helped glue it back on.

The Blarney Stone

After Toastmasters, Jon called and said to come to the Blarney Stone. Sai, Dan, Axel, David and Jon had been there for quite a while before I arrived.

So I be a Hooter’s girl (actual lyrics)

Monday and Tuesday all of the sales people were in Shanghai for sales training. Everyone went to Hooters for some wings and beer. The Hooter’s girls dance here – they stood up on stools and did the YMCA, they did the chicken dance (with some of the guys at the table, only they sang “I don’t wanna be a chicken, I don’t wanna be a duck, so I be a Hooters girl”), and they danced to “Keep Your Hands To Yourself ” by the Georgia Satellites (the Chinese girls were very impressed that Dan sang and played air guitar to the whole song.) The slogan is: Hooters makes you happy.

Since they do the embarrassing birthday thing, everyone said it was Larry’s birthday…

Aileen, Louise, Judy, Lin Lin, Kelly and Grace having a good time singing to Larry.


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