ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS SOME CLEAN AIR!

HEADLINE FROM TODAY’S SHANGHAI DAILY

Pollution for city’s Christmas                    By Ke Jiayun |                                        December 25, 2013, Wednesday

Blanketed in smog, the city saw a sunny but cold Christmas Eve with morning temperatures dropping to zero or below in some districts and later increasing to single figures, forecasters said.

The air was moderately polluted in the evening along with a rising concentration of particles. The density of main pollutant PM2.5 reached 182.air6 micrograms per cubic meter, or more than double the nation’s limit of 75.

COUGH, COUGH, BURNING EYES & THROAT…ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS SOME CLEAN AIR!!!

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At least I’ll look cute while I inhale the 182.6 micrograms per cubic meter of crap that is in the air today.  Instead of a White Christmas, it was more like a Grey Christmas with the sun obscured by the particulate matter as we drove out to the lovely water town on the outskirts of Shanghai.

Thanks goodness Santa brought me my new air mask!  It’s not exactly the latest technology but it is fashion forward and “pops” with a bright geometric pattern.  I might as well try to look decent on the outside because the inside of my lungs can’t be looking pretty after a day like today.

This Christmas, instead of hanging by a warm and cozy fire, we’re lucky enough to have a jumbo Blue Air Cleaner to cuddle up to and Elvis Presley’s classic song, “Blue Christmas”, just took on a whole new meaning for me.  Some day, God willing, we will once again be blessed to experience a White Christmas with Blue Skies.  I just don’t expect it will be in China.

Christmas Eve at the Mall, Shanghai Style

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Crazy ass Santa’s running amok in the Mall–Christmas Eve, Shanghai Style! They need to eat some serious carbs to keep those pants up–skinny does not play well with Mrs. Claus, though she was nowhere in sight at Grand Gateway Mall this afternoon when we were doing a little last minute shopping.  The crew of Santa’s were having a good time but were told to “spread out” by their handler when they started to overwhelm the wee ones.

In addition, there were a slew of other crazy holiday characters causing multiple kids to cry in fear and run screaming into the nearest store to take cover. One dancing tree is cool but a whole forest can be intimidating even to adults. WP_20131224_012

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And don’t get me started on the girls wearing cakes for skirts–they epitomized the megabling of a Chinese Christmas. One guy said to Thom, “Christmas is for foreigners, not Chinese” but everyone I saw seemed to be enjoying the shopping and the restaurant buffets all over Town. The decorations were over the top at the Mall–the more megawatts, the better! WP_20131224_006

Fa…la…la…la…la…ho…ho…ho..Santa, Shanghai Style

Santa customsSanta has left the North Pole and landed in Shanghai—who knew???   Going through Customs as a “Foreigner”, Santa was decked out in full-on “ready for the sleigh” uniform, pausing only briefly to gather his personal belongings with us mere mortals at baggage carousel #26 before heading out to take care of the holiday needs of all the good little boys & girls in China.  Hope he ate his Wheaties cause there are LOTS of folks needing some holiday magic here!

Santa Baggage

Embracing the holiday spirit despite warm weather and crushing pollution, many retail establishments have hung their Christmas stockings with care.  Decorated trees and Santa images abound in almost every venue.  Bing Crosby croons on the Muzak. We decided on an artificial tree because we are unsure of the true “freshness” of the $200 US trees that are sold here, primarily for the expat demographic.  We envisioned a pile of pine needles greeting us upon our return home one day so are playing it safe with fake.  The China versions of Christmas trees come in many different colors-gold and red are popular “lucky” colors here….buying a boring green one just doesn’t seem local.

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At Boxing Cat Brewery, they are even embracing one of the more crazy traditions from the U.S. by having an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party with Santa & his elves hosting with “free flow” drinks—I’m guessing Santa will probably be very merry at this party on Christmas Eve so the sleigh may be weaving a little on the way back to the North Pole. Ho, Ho, Ho!  Rudolph with your nose so bright, let’s try to fly through that funny hole in the Financial Center tonight!

Ugly Swtr Party

At only 250 RMB per adult, the Ugly Sweater Party is one of the cheaper ways to celebrate Christmas Eve here in Shanghai.   Shanghai likes to eat and the holidays provide a great opportunity to put on lavish spreads.  I’ve never seen so many Christmas dinner offers by all the restaurants in town—running anywhere from 300-1200RMB and more for a multi-course meal.   Not sure what we’ll be doing on Christmas this year but it’s guaranteed to be an adventure and a new experience..Santa, Shanghai Style!