shanghai is very cosmopolitan. being there felt kinda like being in new york city, or perhaps even some city in france. prices are not much different than other big cities in the u.s., you can get pretty much any kind of cuisine you would like, there are funky modern skyscrapers and lots of french people (if you look at chinese history, there was a time when shanghai was partially colonized by the french, and part of the city was called the french concession. it still exists today, but obviously not in a colonized way. there is a rather large french population living in shanghai, and lots of cute cafes, brasseries, patisseries and the like). shanghai is spectacular at night - lots of lights everywhere. we watched the sunset from a bar on the bund, which is an area along the huangpu river, and the nighttime shots were magical. the bund is also full of fancy shops like cartier and fancy hotels that offer high tea in the afternoon.
flo and i started our exploration on the bund. many a bride was taking photos here. i think october is a lucky month for weddings in china, and we were there during national day week, a nationwide holiday so there were probably more weddings then too. we took a sightseeing tunnel that goes under the river to the other side. you ride this little tram through the tunnel as they play weird space-like music and funky lights that reminded me of being in that creepy tunnel scene in willy wonka and the chocolate factory. the best part was the narrator said things like, "starry nights," "massive magma," "paradise and hell, and "meteor shower." on the other side we walked around some big skyscrapers, elevated walkways over the busy streets, enjoyed a tiramisu (I think?) mcflurry from mcdonald's and checked out some malls. there are tons of malls in shanghai. chinese people like to shop! it was the day that the news of steve jobs' death came, so there were flowers for him in front of the apple store
brides on the bund
sightseeing tunnel at the bund
can you tell what country i'm in?
we enjoyed walking through people's park
, then some bubble tea
(note to self: never order red bean matcha bubble tea again, blech!
) and explored an area near yuyuan garden. the garden and temple there were closed by the time we got there, but we walked around the walled in portion which was swarming with chinese tourists. we got some xiaolongbao
) and i got a stamp and ink from a man who carved my name in it in chinese characters. the buildings are very old-fashioned, so it was fun to walk around. later we met some of flo's friends for dinner (more xiaolongbao!
) and walking around some more shopping areas on west nanjing road
. we finally decided to get foot massages
, which although somewhat painful, were very relaxing. they gave us crysanthemum tea
(i love this stuff, i need to buy some
), blankets, and set our feet in hot water with rose petals in it, ahhh! flo's friends speak chinese, so that was most helpful in getting cabs and whatnot, bonus!
carving my name in chinese characters onto a stamp
ASHLEY, more or less, in Chinese characters
shanghai old street
rose petal water makes for a delightful foot massage
the next day flo and i headed to get more xiaolongbao (a small place famous in shanghai that flo's friend recommended) called jia jia tang. they actually run out after the morning, so you have to get there pretty early. we weren't even able to get the pork dumplings since they were out, and had to get the pork/crab ones, which were still goo. and there was a long line. after that, we got some yummy fried dumplings across the street at another famous shop called yang's. we headed to the shanghai museum, which is amazing and amazingly free. beautiful calligraphy, sculptures, paintings and even chinese ethnic tribal clothing on display. they even had a new zealand maori special exhibit which was a treat. we headed to an area called xintiandi, which is guess what? full of more shops! but this area is also really trendy and modern. we found this yummy japanese placed called nana's green tea (our second japanese meal in shanghai ha).
flo waiting in line at jia jia tang for xiaolongbao
yang's fried dumplings mmm
shanghai lights, near shanghai times square
the next day, we met up with flo's friend budhi (from indonesia like, but working now in shanghai) in the french concession area at a little french cafe. after, he took us to this area called taikang which is made up of little pedestrian alleyways with cute boutique shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. next we headed to a little museum that showcases propaganda art/posters from the cultural revolution. it is tucked away, unmarked, in the basement of some apartment building (because it's a bit controversial). sunset time was approaching, so we headed to a couple bars on the bund to get nice views of the skyline all lit up. after that we met up with budhi's friend yannick (a french fashion designer ooh la la) for dinner at dolar shop for some yummy hotpot - a famous chinese style of dining where you choose a hot soup sauce with various flavors and then choose the different foods (fish balls, meat, tofu, veggies, noodles etc) to cook in your soup. there are some soups that are traditionally veeeeeerrrrry spicy. i stuck with one that was not - it was called herbal fungus hotpot, but don't let the name fool you, it was delicous! and yes full of fungus
art gallery in french concession
alleyway in taikang
so french looking
random basement propaganda art museum
flo and i awaiting nightfall on the bund
pretty buildings on the bund
so this is hotpot...
herbal fungus...you know you want some
our last day in shanghai, we met up with budhi again and ate at a vietnamese restaurant in the french concession. we walked to an extremely old temple in the middle of this modern city, called jingan temple where a giant buddha resides and people light incense and pray in the courtyard. right across the street was jingan park, a nice respite from the city with old people dancing to arabic music and people hanging out with a waterlily pond. flo and i made our way to the subway, and parted ways - flo back to singapore, and me onto the train station to suzhou, the venice of china!
jingan temple, old temple hanging on in a modern city
jingan temple is supposedly old, but has been remodeled a lot...with shiny floors and such
incense stuff at jingan temple