The Matchbook Diaries

Friday, November 24, Shanghai

Just had the BEST part of Thanksgiving – a white bread and sliced cold turkey sandwich slathered with American mayonnaise.  We hadn’t any white bread so I walked across to our market here for it.

In the mornings when I run, I criss-cross the little brick walkways that run in front of the 400 villas in our gated compound.  There are no parking lots or cars in here – all of that is subterranean.  We rent a flat in a nondescript highrise in the same compound above a ginormous underground garage.  Our apartment, by far the smallest kind in our building and on a low floor which makes it less valuable, retails at about 6,000,000 quai, which is about 857,000USD.  The upper floor apartments are worth double ours – we have plenty of neighbors who drive fancy foreign cars, including Bentley’s and Ferrari’s.  But….Those villas where I run daily are about 10 times more valuable.  They are each 4 stories tall and have tiny front and back gardens.  They share walls with the neighboring villa on one side.  What I was thinking today as I jogged past was how, despite the income required to live there, many of the little yards have a carefully tended vegetable garden, all of the plants in perfect, wee rows, and, at the time of day when I pass by, I see that each of those little plants is lovingly cared for until it becomes a zucchini or a pepper or something.

I love those gardens.  Today I noticed one villa had just put up a little stuffed Santa climbing a ladder – a tiny little decoration, but sweet for me to see someone else celebrating Christmas.  We always put our tree up on this Friday after Thanksgiving.  We had to buy a little fake one, of course, last month, and then we have a few glass ornaments, and I’ve been on a huge hunt for glass ornaments on Tao Bao all month, which has netted me a few more.  So tonight it’s Christmas music and ornaments!