Thanksgiving dinner, staying dry, pickpocket spotting

Friday is Shanghai was a blue sky morning, which faded into a gray and on-again off-again rainy evening. Saturday was a bright morning but faded into rain as well. Sunday was colder and foggy, and rain was light. All in all the air here has gotten better, however people here are feeling a little odd as this rainy and gray weather is very uncharacteristic, and the forecast calls for more of this for next week. Well enough with the crappy weather update.

Thursday evening was a Thanksgiving meal My wife and I and one of my co-workers shared in. We utilized one of Shanghai’s expat websites and made up a short list from those advertising, we ended up taking option #3 due to the others being booked already. This choice was the Mural Bar. A very nice and cozy tavern in a downstairs area of a building. They went with the underground theme and decorated the bar like a cave, you can see from the pictures it turned out pretty good.

Due to work we arrived a little later but not too many people were there yet as they were working also. Unlike many places who were holding a buffet this bar offered 2 separate set meals, one more traditional on the turkey but heavy on the seafood for starters. I chose the second option, the one with the least amount of seafood, but it had Italian style turkey (odd because turkeys are not found in Italy). The set included a bottle of red wine if 2 people ordered the set.

The food was actually a 6 course meal, and excellent. I can’t remember all the courses brought out but it was very satisfying and no left overs of turkey for the rest of the weekend. The turkey was actually wrapped in bacon and the gravy was pretty good, which was surprising as that is always hard for people to get right. The meal was topped off with a good old slice of pumpkin pie, however instead of nutmeg this version used ginger, giving it a more spicy and unique flavor. The other set was topped off with tiramisu. Coco ordered the A set and I the B, that way we could sample each others dishes.

The Mural Bar had brought in a band for the dinner and after dinner festivities, a very good band. The band’s name is Moon, and they are a 5 piece who mostly play traditional instruments, 2 wind and 2 string, with 1 person on keyboards to provide all the procession and complicated electronic elements. They play a fusion of old and contemporary mixes which sound very nice together. I was rather impressed with their sound, but more so with how they played their music. I got to see 5 talented artists put their souls into their creations in a way I haven’t seen in decades. It was refreshing to see people get lost in their music and bring in the audience with them.

I asked if they had a CD after their final set and was informed they do not, however they are going to tour in Europe this spring and upon their return they will put a CD out, so for all you readers out there in Europe… go see The Moon when they come! They offer a good break from this pop crap the record labels keep cramming down people’s throats and will broaden your musical experience. Melding ancient instruments with modern ones in modern arrangements makes for a nice blend and example of modern Chinese music that doesn’t try to imitate western music as much as it just borrows from it to paint a new audio portrait on the world music scene.

Friday was the company’s pizza day and a welcomed close to another month. It also marked the one month period until Christmas, which will be odd for me beyond the obvious reasons, as Coco is going home for the baby’s delivery so I will be here alone, makes decorating the tree a bit easier… after I get a tree that is. This time will be spent picking baby names instead of online shopping.

Sunday brought about the most excitement of the weekend. Coco and I headed down town to waste some time and just to get out of the apartment. We ran a few errands then spent time in one of the parks that makes up People’s Square. With the weather being what is was we really did not want to go too far outside of the city. When we left Coco spotted a couple of thieves following some westerners. We went into a street side nut stand, got some pecans and came out and they were there again. Coco wanted to go in the other direction but I wanted to follow these pickpockets; they were young and not being very good at concealing their activities. I wanted to do something about them, as I would hope someone who had the chance would stop a pickpocket if they targeted me.

This idea did not go over well with Coco as she got very upset about my insistence if stopping them. I did not want to physically stop them so much by just yell ‘Thief!’ when they tried to get someone. As I knew Coco was not going for this I wanted to alert the police they were pickpockets in this area, this idea met resistance also. I noticed they worked a very specific area and found out why, they were part of a small crew, 1 woman with a baby, she was about 20, the 2 kids, a boy and girl very close to 12 each, and a bou maybe 15. The woman with the baby and I locked eyes, she said something and they scattered, most of them going underground towards the subway and underground street crossing. Coco insisted I abandon my mission and reluctantly I did. We walked back so we could cross the street when we spotted a large crowd gathered. Being curious we both made our way over and surprise, surprise the kids had gotten caught picking some Chinese people’s pockets. A large group had them surrounded and one many had the 2 firmly in grip lecturing them while his girlfriend or wife was chatting away on the cell phone. A few minutes later the police arrived, then another, then a paddy wagon and the crowd quickly dispersed as the kids were taken to the paddy wagon and witnesses went to the police station, close by.

It made me feel much better to know these thieves we spotted were caught as I have heard many stories of how Chinese people will spot pickpockets but seldom stop them or apprehend them for the cops to pick up. If people do not look out for one another it only breeds more criminals and emboldens them to take greater risks and more escalated crimes. I hope this is the norm in modern Shanghai and China, that the common and decent people call out those doing wrong when they spot it as this helps out all of society. Ok, I personally had nothing to do with this nor did I really help out but I did do more then just look the other way. I will not try to catch any thieves if I spot them as Coco made me promise to this as she is afraid one will try to cut me. What I will do is bring about their presence to the attention of someone so they can let others know to be on the look out. If we see something wrong we have the responsibility to correct it, or else we are enabling and encouraging it, and that will come back to us.

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One Response to Thanksgiving dinner, staying dry, pickpocket spotting

  1. Sarah says:

    You could take any pickpocket, you were in the Navy!! 😉 But that aside, I understand how Coco feels… I\’m never wanting Jared to get involved in altercations, even though I\’m sure he would come out on top. It\’s all about not wanting the person you love hurt, or retalled against. How very, very sad though, that they were so young, and already on a life road like that. Just imagine where they will be in 10 years, or 20. And you are right, more people should speak up, or at least alert someone to stop people like that. We all have to do our part to make the world a better, and safer place, not just us, but for those who come after.

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