China - Break Day in Shanghai Edition

Salut encore une fois.

Bit of a morning after, but not too bad.

Hi. No really, we're good.

Welcome to our first and only day off! One with no travelling, checking in, checking out or responsibilities of any kind - just free in Shanghai. It was also our last day, so it was also a bit of a farewell to this lovely town.

The night previous, Mallory and I said we'd go out and find some breakfast the next day because hotel food is worm-infested revoltingness. Here we go!

We failed epically. 

Note to future travelling self: don't go out in a foreign city with the aim to "just find a random place". Because you will get lost, and be in strange places, and not find any random place remotely suited to your needs.

On the upside though, we were able to walk around another pretty part of the city, still lined with those beautiful trees and little sights you'd only ever find in China.

One of those sights: giant, gilded Prada megastore. 

Ooooooh. Opening soon.

Down the road we found a kind of park boulevard where there was a dancing session for a group of elderly people. 

There was this corny, melodramatic loud music playing and these couples gently swaying together. I'd seen something like it before on a show about China; it's extremely peaceful and heartwarming to watch and it was an honour to see it in person.

"Couples" doesn't mean man-woman either. China doesn't care for your ridiculous gender stereotypes, West. 
 It's really not something you'd see anywhere in any form in Australia or any kind of Western country and I'm not sure why I enjoyed finding this little microcosm of Chinese culture so much, but it reminded me that I was far from home, but that these faraway places have their own kind of definition of beauty and peace to offer the world.

Anyway, back to the fact that we didn't know where we were. 

From Prada megastores to fruit and questionable-meat stores on the side of the road and back again. I feel like this is a metaphor for life, somehow. 

Eventually we gave up, and Mallory gave a cab directions to the Yuyuan Garden market where we were supposedly meeting the rest of the group in an hour or so.

Thank God China is the kinda place where you can flippantly take a taxi when you get lost; multiple times, if need be. It's no big deal, because it's so damn cheap. Can't do that in a lot of other places.

Taking a moment for my inner Truebie. 

So I just looked up this place online (to get the name of it, shhhh) and it says it's a good place to see how the local Shanhains shop. (Shanghaites, Shanghai-siders? This seems to be a recurring problem with Chinese cities. Edit: just googled this also, and the internet doesn't seem to know either, which means nobody knows. No one in the world knows what the collective noun is for people who live in Shanghai.) Anyway, apparently a good place to see how they shop, which I call bullshit on, because here they only sell ice cream and souvenirs, and I highly doubt that's a big drawcard for people who are probably more interested in buying and hand sanitiser. 

In either case, it's a great place to see, and the souvenirs are more on the traditional jade-sculptures and hand-picked-green-tea side of things as opposed to ninja bobble heads or whatever.

Clearly no shopping area is complete without an H&M and a Zara. Fun fact: H&Ms and Zaras are exactly the bloody same everywhere in the world.

In China, road safety isn't much of a thing. 

At all. 
No really, that guy's for real.

My favourite picture of the entire trip? Quite possibly.

Anyway, point of the next 5 or so hours being that our group is a bit ridiculous re. planning and they didn't end up coming here. A couple eventually did, and it took us that long to find them. This place did this weird thing where they have about 3 Maccas, 4 Dairy Queens and it all looked the same and there were barely any landmarks, so nothing happened, even armed with working mobiles. Bit of a waste of our day, but finally we found a Jenny, and we went on to salvage it as much as possible.

Starting with leaving this dammed place.

Even more backwatery and interesting shopping laneways.

Mao's little red book in all the languages.


Bought a present for Maman - silk scarf. There must've been thousands, but the pros of knowing someone as well as you (should) know your own mother is that one kinda jumps out at you and you know that's it. 

Tried my hand at bargaining again. Still a fail.

See there's an art to it - they start ridiculously high, you counteract with at least half that, if not much much less, as ridiculously low as possible. You get close and closer to a middle, they say a price they won't go below, you say one you won't go above. You say you have no money, they say how they have a family to feed, it gets very personal. So, in this case:

Him: 300.

Me: 150.

Him: okay!

Me: shit.

I left annoyed, but thinking that it's a price I'd happily pay for a silk scarf in normal circumstances; a bit cheaper than normal really. Probably could've gotten it for 50 though. 30, if I had an Asian with me. Don't scoff, that's how it works. 

We eventually went back to Tianzi Fang, the lovely marketplace from the night before - Mallory + Jen said they wanted to see it in the daytime, and this seemed like the best chance to. It's just as great in whatever light, and now everything was nice and open, it was extra good.

First we found a bit of late lunch/afternoon tea. This place is unbelievable - it's called More Than Toilet, and it's a restaurant with a theme of everything dunny-related. 

Yes, those are urinals on the walls.

Yes, that's a giant toilet decoration.

Yes, those are shit cushions. 

Yes, those are literally toilet seats.

Jenn :D

Sweet potato chips with, uhh, blueberry sauce. In a bathtub. 

Spicy chicken wings.

A latte in - yes! - a toilet

I have no idea what this is but it's very Asian and is amazing.

I...I don't know.

A bit of a wander. I don't like shopping very much, but this place is awesome

Almost every shop we went into refused to let you take photos - I have no idea why. Like I get why people in the Burberry store would stop you because people get a picture of a garment then take it to a tailor who'd make a rip off for a fifteenth of the price. But little knick knack stores like this I don't understand. I felt like saying to them, don't worry, no one wants to steal your random crap. But I didn't. Because I'm a civilised human being. Nice work, mum. 

Teddy bear restaurant! THE SEATS HAVE TEDDY BEAR EARS. 

It was at about this point I got a present for FM too - some proper carved ebony chopsticks. So now everyone's accounted for, no more monies need to be spend beyond the continued feeding of myself. Hurrah for being an only child!

If you think people in Western countries spend the most time on their smartphones, you'd be wrong. 

Fresh juice break time! I know the one thing these photos don't convey properly at all is the constant heat and humidity belting down on us, and believe me, you'd want a fresh juice break too. 

Tea shop! By this time, too broke, and I live next to a lovely tea place, but still, this made me very happy.

I'll take all of this.

So that night was our official going out night - after much eventful and creative group effort of persuading Jennifer (the other one) and Joanna to get dressed up and come with us, we all went back up to the 92nd floor of the bottle opener to have a drink.

I bloody love this building. It's simple, extremely elegant, and is such a classy yet distinct addition to the Shanghai skyline. It's just freaking cool. 

There's this really cool kind of art deco-looking one just across the road, too.

Live Long and Prosper. Almost. 

I don't have may photos because I deemed that to be other people's domain that night, but here's a couple. 

Live band who took requests. Obviously Michael Jackson.

View to the fancy restaurant below.

The only lift that ever fit us all. 

Went out a bit after to find a club to par-tay at - they wanted to go to Mint (I just looked it up, it's actually called M1nt, hurrrrr) which is the best club in Shanghai/China/the world or something but surprise! you have to book to get in there on a Saturday night. 

All dressed up and dejected.

In a bit of a dodgy area for such a fancy club. 

Anyway, back in the cab to try another place by the river.

Also fancy.

Bar Rouge: evil entry fee, now broke, now more tired than tipsy, nowhere to sit, but nice view.

Even if the lights are all of again.

Had a whole lot of rich, boring expats etc. Lots of Europeans, Americans and such.

Other interesting evening entertainment. 

Cab and hotel time.

For a bit of this.

Thank you, New York of the East.

Until next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment