Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas in Shanghai (2011)

Monday, November 21, 2011
At Grand Gateway Plaza, they have been working on this tree for a week:

Monday, November 28, 2011
Xintiandi has some Christmas decorations up:
The Grand Gateway Ole Supermarket is working on a gingerbread house:

Monday, December 5, 2011
Grand Gateway Plaza is decorated inside.
The atrium has a whole Swarovski Tree:
I prefer just the star Swarovski provides for the Rockefeller Center tree!
You can add Swarovski crystals to anything, like a Mini Cooper:
(Note behind the side mirror, around the headlight, and the logo.)
There are white Christmas trees in several places:
The palms are strung with lights:
In both the above pictures, you can see the blinking lights zipping around the triangle shapes hanging from the ceiling.
Out on the "Food Street:"
Meanwhile, down in the Ole Supermarket, a gingerbread village: 
And the completed gingerbread house for Santa:

Saturday, December 10, 2011
Oh, they moved the big gingerbread house:
The North Pole is outside our residential tower:
I don't know why Santa is doing the splits:
Lights and baubles on the overhang at Residential Tower 1 (RT1):
Today we went to the Christkindlmarkt at the Paulaner Restaurant on Fengyang Road:
It was nice and chilly today, perfect for sipping on gluehwein/hot spiced wine!
Sausages, oxtail soup, and other foods were for sale, but not too many people eating at the stand-up tables:
That Christmas tree is fake!
Other than food and drink, the other items at the market were local products and handcrafts:
Not just for ex-pats!
The one booth of German Christmas decorations were those made in China:
Like many others, we dined inside the restaurant:
In the evening, we attended the Grand Gateway residents' party, called "Christmas Happy Time."
The light decorations outside at night, in the garden:
On the street:
Outside the Club building:
The outdoor atrium has been decorated for weeks:
But then it changed!
This tree of gifts is waterproof!
We arrived on time for the party, but everyone else was already in the buffet line! You seriously have to get there early! The only free table was in front of a stage-looking arrangement.
It was a stage! And we had a show; first a magician:
Then a musical piece with a guy playing a laser harp:
You can't see the green rays of light for the strings, but you can see the smoke which allowed you to see the path of the laser. It smelled like real smoke...
And you could barely see the dancers:
Next was the Magic Mask-changer, a white mask one second:
And a red one the next:
He came right up to our table and we still couldn't see how he changed the masks.
Next a scary clown:
He did a balancing act:
Getting his applause with the MCs:
The first of the contests involved moving pingpong balls from one bowl to another using only chopsticks:
The girl was the winner, far and away:
This is apparently "contact juggling," with a crystal-clear ball:
He also came right up to our table and the effect is still mesmerizing:
Go to ( to see a similar routine in action.
The second contest involved putting together a 3-D model, these were cardboard clocks:
Joachim & Karen were the winners!
Next was the gift exchange. If you participated, you brought a gift to put on this "tree" and you were given a number. When your number came up, you picked one gift to take home.
Then members of the staff for the serviced apartments put on skit of a version of "Beauty and the Beast."
It was hilarious! 
We were already impressed by the MC, who is French, but was speaking English and Chinese. Then he played guitar and sang, too: 
There were also prize drawings. The third prize, given to three people, was a free night at Gateway. Second prize, give to two people, was an iPhone! OMG, what can first prize be? An iPad!
Some of the party-goers:

Later that night there was a full lunar eclipse: 
I put my camera on a railing to steady it and hoped it was aimed at the moon! Oh, well...

Having spent so much money in Tokyo, we only had enough for a small Christmas tree, ha ha!
Smaller than the $2.50 poinsettia!
But it has lights:
And consumable ornaments which will be eaten at the end of the season.
The pitifully-wrapped gift we took to the Christmas party to exchange:
I had to use leftover paper and ribbon from the gifts from Japan. The gift itself was a really nice gingerbread tree.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The final tree at Grand Gateway Plaza:
We had Merry Christmas drinks with Kent's marketing department and spouses at a yet another new shopping and restaurant complex at Wharf 1846, in three buildings built in 1846. We went to Overtime, a bar from Singapore. We were in time for the BOGO free, and they ordered a keg of Staerker beer!
It took two people to prepare the keg, first fiddling with the screw on top for pressure. Then tapping the keg by using a large wooden mallet to knock in the spout. They first drained off a flask of foam, then started pouring the beers. Bit by bit, they added what was in the flask to the mugs. Two waitresses kept topping off everyone's beer mugs, so it was difficult to keep track of how many mugs-ful you consumed! The equivalent of 4-1/2 guys drank three of these mini-kegs!

Thursday, December 15, 2011
Two days notice for Kent's office party and they were to bring a gift to exchange, preferably creative! It is so hard to find wrapping paper and ribbon. Kent had to go to a hole-in-the-wall hardware shop to find string...
A handcrafted candy wreath:
Improved gift wrapping:
Today on Caoxi Road, some "cabbage trees:"
Some more Christmas lights around Grand Gateway: 
The swags at the entrance to residential tower 1:
Friday, December 16, 2011
Found the Hongqiao Flower Market:
Social toilet?
A fairly neat and clean building, and only one floor!
Landscaping plants included pansies in a bag:
Vendors for everything to decorate your home, like glassware:
Cupids and bunnies:
Large statuary:
This rock grew too tall!
Chimonanthus praecox/Fragrant Wintersweet Tree:
Plenty of Christmas items, like inflatables: 
Candles, Santas:
Centerpieces and Advent wreaths:
Even live Christmas trees:
An assembly line making the wreath bases:

Monday, December 19, 2011
Happened to go to Times Square. It is like the one in Hong Kong, but different Christmas decorations!

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