Our Most Expensive Meal Yet….Bargaining in the Bazaar….Seeing a Million Dollar Crocodile

Four weeks of Chinese breakfasts, broken up with the occasional pastries from Lillian Cake Shop, has had us all pining for pancakes, French Toast, omelets, bacon, and sausage. There is a place in Shanghai that serves those foods for breakfast, called Element Fresh.

Sunday morning we went to the Element Fresh in the Super Brand Mall over in Pudong. Tony, one of the other professors in the program, tagged along.

Tony shows up at the hotel breakfast every morning with a large Ziploc bag containing salt, pepper, ketchup, and jam. Is it any wonder he jumped at the chance for an American breakfast?

There was no wait on Sunday morning at 9:30am. The food was good and very satisfying. Once we were finished, we were all happy.

The total bill for my wife’s blueberry pancakes and coffee, the kids’ plain pancakes and apple juices, my French toast, bacon, smoothie, and cappuccino, came to 401 Yuan. That’s around $66. It’s the most expensive meal our family has eaten in the month we have been in China. (Meredith didn’t like the apple juice and I forgot to take it with us when we left.)

I think Tony’s a la carte breakfast of French toast, an egg, sausage, and coffee ran him over 120 Yuan. It had him wishing he had ordered the Big American breakfast. That came with four eggs, bacon, sausage, three slices of French toast, and a side of fresh fruit at a price of 88 Yuan. We joked that it should be called the “Fat American” breakfast. Tony hadn’t wanted all of that food all at once. Though, had he gotten that one, he could have eaten the leftovers on Monday morning, instead of the hotel breakfast.

As a bonus, Element Fresh had restrooms inside the restaurant. No hunting around the mall for the public restrooms. There was one slight catch: it was a unisex restroom. It contained about a half-dozen private stalls for people to use. The room was staffed by a woman.

After breakfast, Tony headed to the French Concession, Stephanie found a Starbucks to get some work done (our Hotel Internet was down), and I took the kids to the Yu Yuan Bazaar to shop.

I had not bargained before. But I managed to buy the kids two wooden swords, complete with wooden sheaths, and a parasol for Meredith for 120 Yuan (less than 2/3 the asking price for all three). We bought a few other things and then had ice cream from Dondurman, the Turkish custard shop.

Here are the kids showing off their sword-handling skills.

Chinese Paparazzi Count: 6

As we did in Nanjing, I managed to keep several people from taking pictures of the kids. The Yu Yuan Bazaar is very popular with tourists from all over China.

Swords in hands, we returned to the hotel in time for dinner, and our very first and only Movie Night in Shanghai.

One of my wife’s colleague’s, Brett, became obsessed with a movie he had seen advertised on posters around Shanghai, titled, Million Dollar Crocodile. He spent weeks trying to find out who knew anything about it. Turns out it was a humor/action/monster movie that had been released several months ago and was only playing in one theater out in some far-flung corner of Shanghai.

Luckily, the movie is being released in the West with English subtitles. Even more luckily, one of Brett’s TAs acquired a copy…through entirely legitimate means, I’m sure.

We held a screening of Million Dollar Crocodile in our room here with Brett, Tony, Christina, and Andrew. We supplied the room, everyone else supplied the popcorn. Unfortunately, no one had an HDMI cable so that we could hook up a laptop to our big, flat screen TV. No matter. Tony set up his 17” laptop for the viewing. We turned off the lights, sat back and watched the movie.

Andrew couldn’t stay the whole time. Though he got a pretty good idea of what he was missing.

“…Among the crocodiles is a huge, 8 metre-long female, nicknamed Mao, who weighs 2 tons. In fact, Zhao, who has wanted to buy Mao ever since Liu trumped him at a black market in Guangdong province 11 years earlier, intends to kill the reptiles to supply his illegal wild-game restaurant. When they arrive, Mao escapes being slaughtered and chases after a woman, Wen Yan (Barbie Hsu), who has just returned from eight years working in Italy and has had a row with her two-timing fiance, Zhou Xiaoou (Purba Royal). While defending herself, Wen Yan has her bag – which contains her €100,000 (close to RMB1 million) savings and mobile phone – swallowed by Mao. She alerts a junior local policeman, Wang Beiji (Guo Tao), known by his friends as Useless Wang, who initially doesn’t believe her…”

Short, short summary: A giant croc escapes in Hangzhou and wackiness ensues.

Even the kids liked it. Though Henry asked a couple of times, “Why are those people so dumb?” He’s seven and he’s already figured out that people in horror/monster films are dumb.

Here we are entranced by the movie.

Keep a look out for Million Dollar Crocodile…coming soon to a theater near you!

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2 thoughts on “Our Most Expensive Meal Yet….Bargaining in the Bazaar….Seeing a Million Dollar Crocodile

  1. It’s a ncie treat when you can find workable toilets in China ^^

    • You know, before we came here, we heard all kinds of things. We have been lucky. In Shanghai and in the cities we’ve visited (Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing) the toilet situation has been okay. With small children who have small bladders and restaurants that more often than not do NOT have restrooms, the scramble to find a toilet can be maddeningly frustrating.

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