The weather in SH in April is simply the best. It was sunny, warm, with blue, and mostly clear sky. (Hard to believe it was like that while I am sitting here right now in the middle of august heat and humidity and mosquito fest ..)
I still remember that every day we'd get up (late, actually), walked over the the other side of my street to this lovely place called "pyro" to have american breakfast (for him) and chinese lunch (for me) at the same time, and sometimes, with a nice glass of Tiger beer.
Pyro is not a place I would call gourmet or outstanding in its cooking (in term of quality or creativity) but it makes decent americana food - it is the only place in my immediate neighborhood that makes decent salad. They also make nice hamburgers, and sandwiches. And their chinese lunch menus are very reasonably priced. But like most chinese cooking in SH, they tend to be on the greasy side for my taste. But what attracts us to Pyro is really the people - the owner of the shop, and the kind of the crowd you'd find there. The owner is family of shangaiese. Husband and wife moved back a couple of years ago after 25 years living in Queens. The father asked his only son - charles to come back to help him manage the Chinese employees. I met the whole family the first time I went there when I saw a sign outside that said "hamburger" - l love well prepared and cooked hamburger! We started talking, and I have been going back there regularly ever since. It is a very nice family, and being a bunch of cross-cultured american chinese, they understand me. Charles is about 25. Graduate of Penn State. Like most of first generation of American Chinese, he was a stellar student. Was working at PwC before he came back to help his father. It is amazing to watch him run a restaurant business in China at such tender young age. We talked about how difficult it is to motivate young people in China these days, and I shared a lot of my observations with him and his parents. The kid is thinking of going back next year and going to HBS for MBA. I think he'll do great!
Anyway that is the kind of thing John and I did - go to Pyro to eat and chat; and take a walk with Charles's golden retriever puppy "mango" whenever we went there. roaming around leisurely in the neighborhood; talking to strangers, and making new friends. We had a great time and that is what living is all about.