Saturday, January 10, 2015

Part 2: Shanghai

After a 4.5 hour fast rail train, Steph and I arrived in Shanghai around 9pm. The train station connects directly to the metro, so we waited for a long time to get metro tickets than headed to our hotel. 

I had printed out the directions and the location of our hotel so I knew exactly where to go once we got out of the metro...we were staying at a well-known hotel right in the heart of the city. 
Unfortunately the map I printed was incorrect so Steph and I wondered around for about an hour before we finally made it to our hotel. 

It was an upscale hotel and was extremely well-decorated. Most of the guests were older, probably on business or traveling for a brief holiday in Shanghai. 

And very comfortable. After walking around lost for an hour, we were exhausted when we arrived. 

We went up to our room and found that none of our lights in the room would turn on. We called the front desk and they sent a worker up...turns out the entire power box had been switched off. It was located in the back of our closet, somewhere we would have never figured out by ourselves. 

After that we couldn't connect to the internet. So we had to call the front desk again for assistance. 

Once we were connected to the internet, we realized our TV didn't work--we couldn't get it to turn on.  Steph called the front desk and the same worker was sent up. It turns out the TV wasn't plugged in (whoops). At this point all of the hotel workers were making jokes about us. 

The next day we started off by checking out the Urban Planning Museum which showed the development of Shanghai and the future plans for the city 

There was also a kissing exhibition to celebrate the Sino-French relationship
(the romantic) 

A view from the top of the museum 

After that we walked down Nanjing Road, one of the most famous shopping roads in Shanghai. 

We stopped in one of the 5 Starbucks on Nanjing Road to grab a coffee--they had a bunch of cute festive pastries. 

In China its rare to find a restaurant or coffee shop with an excellent food safety rating

Afterwards we stopped in M&M world

 Beautiful European architecture on Nanjing Road. 

Next we checked out YuYuan Garden, a beautiful garden that was built during the Ming Dynasty. It has been transformed into a tourist destination and is surrounded by food stands and shops. 

Shanghai is famous for its xiao long bao--small steamed stuffed buns
They usually have meat and broth inside--some people put a straw in them and drink out the soupy broth
This is one of the  most famous xiao long bao shops in YuYuan Garden

This is a giant xiao long bao--stuffed with crab meat and broth

After YuYuan Garden we walked to the Bund. The Bund is along the Huangpu River--on one side (PuXi) is where most of Shanghai developed prior to 1990. On the other side is the new development (PuDong). Walking out along the Bund is one of the top sights in the city--on the PuXi side you can see all of the European buildings--most of them are banks or hotels and then on the opposite side you can see all of the modern development. 

At night there are usually hundreds of people taking pictures of the Bund. On New Years there was a huge stamped near the Bund and 35 people died. I guess hundreds of thousands of people were checking out the Bund and there was not enough crowd control. 

After the Bund we grabbed a late lunch--I got steamed veggies--taro, sweet potato, peanuts and edamame. Below is a picture of the taro

Steph got gluten and vegetables (which was like pieces of bread and a few veggies in a soupy broth) and eggplant

After that we got dressed up and went to an acrobatic show

It was rated as one of the top things to do in Shanghai

there were some bike performances

some acrobatics and jumping through hoops

some guys in what was like a hamster wheel

and then a bunch of motorcyclists doing some stunts. the final stunt was 8 motorcyclists going in the small sphere--it was a cool show but kind of nerve-racking to watch

Finally we headed back to our hotel and stopped by the Bund to see it at night--since it was so late most of the lights were turned off and there was hardly anyone around

The next day we checked out the French Concession and the First Communist Meeting in 1921

The French Concession is another touristy area that has housing developments called Shikoumen (introduced at the beginning of the 20th century by Europeans) that are now a commercial shopping area. It is extremely western and has many western boutiques and eateries. 

Among all the new development, the First Communist Meeting took place in one of the Shikoumens in the French Concession so Steph and I checked out the museum. 

This is the first meeting re-enacted--you can see a young Mao ZeDong heading up the meeting

The meeting was discovered by the police, so they had to finish it on a boat in Jiangsu Province

After a long Civil War and political unrest in China, the CCP finally came to power in 1949. 

Many people live in hutongs in this area--this is a picture of a hutong. It was pretty cold out--I can't imagine keeping so many possessions outside and drying your clothing in the cold. 

After doing a bit of sightseeing we checked out of our hotel and had lunch at a restaurant in the hotel. It was a little hilarious because they decided, as white people, that we shout have a VIP room. 

We shared some veggies, I got xiao long bao with pork inside, and steph got some shrimp lettuce rolls (which, even after explaining she does not eat any meat, had ham inside)

Finally we headed towards the fast train and headed back to Jinan. Steph helped me get all my grading done on the train