It would've been nice to have seen the rooms presented as they would've been used when Kadoorie lived there; the house's current function as a workshop for children only hints at the former glories. In the China that emerged after 1949, however, the mansion would've been too bourgeois. Seeing the kids in their various classrooms this afternoon brought to mind parallels with Pyongyang's Mangyongdae Children's Palace, where talented tykes are nurtured to perform for the greatness of the state and its leaders. Shanghai's house of fun isn't quite as sinister, but it wasn't hard to imagine that at one time children were drilled on the correctness of Mao Zedong Thought, the successes of the revolution and of the necessity to serve the Party. It wasn't the 1920's mansion housing the Shanghai Children's Palace that felt anachronistic; it was the very idea of a "children's palace" in the first place that seemed out of place with the Shanghai that surrounds the building and its grounds today.
Amber found the simple pleasures of walking the streets of Shanghai with her father to be much more enjoyable, like stopping to look at Jìng'ān Temple 静安寺 from one side a pedestrian bridge...:
Lunch was had at a small hole-in-the-wall called Uncle Toast, which specialized in dànbǐng 蛋餅 (Taiwanese-style omelets) as well as sandwiches, noodles...and toast:
She also liked the moniker of this establishment further down the same street:
Checking out some gourmet chocolates on Huáihăi Road 淮海路. Today was one of those days when I wished we lived in a neighborhood like those found in the French Concession 法租界, with its numerous cafes, restaurants and small shops. It's not even close to being indicative of modern-day Chinese lifestyles, but it would make living in a hectic metropolis like Shanghai much more bearable:
Back in our area this evening, we went to a place called Cosmo for dinner, where my daughter enjoyed a Shirley Temple while I downed a couple of Moscow Mules. I really needed them tonight:
Pamela and the relatives will be back later this evening, which is too bad, really. From going out to dinner and hurrying Amber to get ready for the school bus in the mornings, to taking her to the consulate's medical unit to have an ear infection treated and to discussing the finer points of Minecraft, these last few days have reminded me of just why being a father is probably the single greatest pleasure in life: