Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Street Vegetable Market

Vegetable markets are very interesting, and yes my standards of excitement have been lowered by living in Shanghai for more than two years! But this market is more than that: who wouldn't be interested in markets selling live ducks, chickens, and pigeons! If nothing else, being in Asia and in close contact with poultry violates several US Government recommendations for citizens abroad - I like to live life on the edge.

The particularly keen-minded of my readers may note that ducks, chickens, and pigeons are not actually vegetables. However I still call it a vegetable market because it was about 95% vegetables for sale, aside from a couple places with poultry and one with the local crab (it's basically all shell). Most places just had the basic vegetables, however some of the vegetables were rather exotic, at least for the time of the year.

Most of the vendors were selling right off the street, actually "on" the street would be more accurate. Often the vegetables were in bags, although sometimes they were just laying on the ground. This goes a long way in explaining the Shanghai taboo against salads and raw vegetables - you'd want to wash the vegetables thoroughly and then cook them thoroughly, before eating them.

The vegetables sellers are side to side with each other, the streets are narrow and winding, second stories look like they're about to tip over the first story, and laundry is hanging everywhere. It gives the area a very cool, somewhat hectic feel to it. This is made even more so by the area it's in, the neighborhood is a very scenic collection of old style brick houses and winding alleys - the picture on the right is a of a nearby brick house of about the same era and style. For me it's a good opportunity to look around such a neighborhood without feeling like I'm trespassing private property! This picture is near the entrance where there's a little more room to maneuver. It all gets a lot tighter, farther into the market.

This vegetable market is behind Zhongshan Park south of Suzhou River, a little off Wanhangdu Lu, and I'm guessing only operates on Weekends.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Scenes of City Life, Redux

Half a year ago, I wrote on this blog about "Scenes of City Life", a 1935 Shanghai movie. As a huge film enthusiast, I thought it was a very enjoyable movie, with an interesting look at a pre-war, pre-Communist Shanghai, and a bizarre madhouse take on some of the conventions of older movies, to show the tragicomic lives of its main characters.

Since then I've subtitled the movie, and I've made the movie and subtitles freely available online - Chinese movies become public domain after 50 years. I'm using to host both the movie, and the subtitles - the subtitles are separate, and stored as a normal text file, with time sync codes included.

The movie is in xvid format, it can be opened with lots of players, including bsplayer 1.37 at filehippo (newer versions of the player aren't freeware and I don't recommend). While playing the movie, right clicking takes you to the menu, where you can choose a subtitle file to display.

I thought it was kind of fun - I've never translated anything similar before! The principle translation just took a couple days, but refining and checking the subtitles was a huge process, and there's inevitable compromises between natural speech and sticking to the Chinese text as much as possible.

Anyone with enough interest in Shanghai to browse this blog should enjoy the movie, and I'd really appreciate comments, either as responses on the blog or as an e-mail.

Click Here to Download ScenesofCityLife.avi (734 MB)

Click Here to Download ScenesOfCityLife-EnglishSubtitles.txt (44K)