I trained really hard using the RunKeeper app’s subscription only training programs which asked me to run an insane amount of miles. I ran more miles in the last few months than I had ever run in a similar time period before. And yet… it wasn’t enough to beat my own record which I thought I could and was a little disappointing.
The weather was perfect. I slept well the night before. What could have possibly slowed me down? Possible factors:
I skipped my traditional pre-race porta-potty visit
A week of Passover food binging and run skipping the week before the event
Alas, it was not to be.
But here are the positives:
A great result
140th place in my category
Had the race been a month later, I would have been 108th in my category!
I won the famous Cap10K Kirsch Challenge. Take that, Fin!
Will I run again? My legs, at the moment, say no. Ask me again in a few days.
We went with a large group of colleagues to a pretty good dumpling place. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name. It was in yet another large mall but this time in the financial district.
A highlight for me throughout the trip are steamed buns. It’s a genius concept: instead of sticking bread in an oven, steam it in a little basket! Delicious.
One interesting cultural difference is that on this side of the world, we remove the face of the things we eat. No such thing in China.
Hot Pot. Kind of like Chinese fondue. I am not a fan of fondue but mostly because I don’t want to dip my food where others dip their food. Fortunately, we each got a personal hot pot so I got to awkwardly fish pieces of food out with my poor chopsticks skills for minutes without bothering anyone else. You order a bunch of food (lamb was a favorite of mine) which they bring raw. You dip, wait, take the food out, wait for it to cool down to a reasonable temperature, eat. Impatience is not your friend. I know because I got to chew a lot of half-cooked stuff and burned the roof of my mouth. The genius of the whole concept is that if you don’t like the food, you only have to blame yourself (the cook) for it!
Here’s something I didn’t eat: Turtle soup. I was told that if you feel sick, you should eat it. I think what they meant was: if you eat it, you will feel sick.
Another pretty good drink I had: Black rice drink.
There was a little wooden duck in Ilan’s toy box for years. I finally learned what it was: a chic chopstick holder. Ironically, it eventually got decapitated and was thrown away. I say ironic because at this particular restaurant the duck is served with its head firmly in place.
Last, shoutout to my uncle Isi and cousin Rafa who heard I was going to be in China and flew halfway around the world to buy me dinner. Happy birthday Isi!
In the time I spent in Shanghai there was a lot of eating. My colleagues at work did an amazing job taking us out to eat. Below I share a few notes from the extensive eating we did.
Only one subway stop away from the hotel was Chamtime Plaza – one of seemingly thousands of restaurant-filled shopping centers around the city. This is a big, fancy place and we probably ate at ten restaurants there. There was one that specialized in Beijing Duck, and while I’ve had that dish before in the US, it definitely doesn’t compare. I think this is the only place we went to twice, on my first and last day.
In China they use ingredients that aren’t common in western cuisine. This can be a little challenging to a visitor. Things are made worse when said visitor limits himself to ingredients that aren’t intrinsically treif. Helpfully, most menus are fully illustrated and some are even translated.
Here’s a dish that ingredient-wise I could have technically tried but I decided against:
The hotel had a wonderful breakfast buffet with local food but also your typically Western breakfast. So you could get seaweed salad, made-to-order Ramen, with some corn flakes; all at the same place.
Our hosts took us to a lot of great restaurants. When trying things on our own, we didn’t fare so well. One place that was a total success was Lost Heaven in the Bund, a Yunnan-Style restaurant in… wait for it… the Bund.
One thing I saw in lots of convenience stores was these white glass bottles that people drank out of using a straw. I couldn’t help but be curious. It turned out to be: yogurt. Good tasting for sure, maybe not the most refreshing thing after an arduous workout.
The biggest challenge for me was that I suck at using chopsticks. Everyone else in the country seems not to suck at it. I could have starved, had others not felt pity for me and chopstick-fed me.
Honorable mention: tea. Especially milk tea. Especially matcha milk tea.
This post is getting too long for the limited attention span of my readers, so it will have to be continued…
I headed out on my first trip to China for work. This was my first flight on a 787 Dreamliner (very nice!) and my first trip to China (very far!) and the longest I have been away from my dear beautiful family (very hard!).
My first impressions of the city are great. Very modern, clean, traffic is not insane. Great roads, unbelievable skyline. Excellent subway.
We stayed at the very nice Onehome Art Hotel which had everything from fake clouds, elevator music in every hallway, lots of art, a glorious Chinese breakfast buffet…