My return to Shanghai
Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
70Trip End Jul 31, 2011
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Our train made a couple of stops during the night while on its way to Shanghai. The last stop before the big city was the city of Wuxi
We entered into two taxis with myself accompanying Jeff and Stacey while Liz would accompany Forrest and Dee. I was quite ecstatic in recognizing key features of the city where I had stayed in for about a month four years ago. My old hotel near the Shanghai Railway Station had been renamed from Zhongya Hotel to Grand Mercure Zhongya Hotel, slight change but noticeable
The hostel itself was quite easy to check into and we received room 4031. The hostel's first level was a restaurant where we would be required to walk through in order to access the elevator. Upon inspection of our room, I had taken the lower bunk while Jeff had taken the bed above mine. I quickly noticed one of the support beams giving way and notified Jeff not to place his body weight in that weakened area of the bed. It was sight to see the wood support bend so far, but we had worked out a plan in order to avoid the area. The room contained 6 beds, 3 sets of bunk beds, 6 individual lockers and a shared bathroom within the room.
After taking a short break to drop off our luggage at the hostel. We made our way by foot to Yu Garden and the Old City. We started south on Yunnan Lu and by stroke of luck, turned east onto Huaihai Donglu which turned into Remin Lu and discovered the Old City. On our walk their, we took some photos of the "Pineapple Tower" aka the Westin Hotel which was directly in front of us. We arrived into the Old City about 15 minutes after we had departed from the hostel and found ourselves in whole different world than what Beijing had to offer
After lunch, we headed downstairs to the Yu Garden. We slowly made our way to the garden while snapping up a lot of photos as the area was very scenic. In front of us was the tea house in the middle of the lake with the Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center looming in the distance from Pudong. We purchased our admission tickets to the garden but quickly became distracted and started looking for more street food. Not entirely full from lunch, Forrest and Dee quickly purchased more xiaolong baos. However, this time the buns were supplied with straws so one can slurp up the delicious soup inside. The same dynamic duo also purchased some potato slices and street snacks. Liz went traditional and got herself a milk tea, while Stacey and myself went over to Dairy Queen for some frozen treats. I ended up with a 28 kuai banana split, it was not a bad deal considering one scoop of ice cream from Haggen Daaz is 35 kuai.
After we filled our bellies some more, we finally made it into the Yu Garden. The garden itself is considered one of the finest in all of China for its classical design and for its presentation
After Yu Garden, we split into two groups: Liz, Forrest, Stacey and Dee went back to the hostel first while Jeff and I stuck around the Old City in search for a towel. Jeff had forgot to bring a towel for the trip and had hoped the hostel would provided one. However after arriving they did not have any towels forcing him to go and search for one. We ran out of luck at the Old City and took the subway back to People's Square. Jeff and I ended up wandering over to Raffles City, which is much superior than the one in Beijing. We also took a peek at Nanjing Lu before heading back to the hostel. Jeff ended up purchasing a small maoyi (towel cloth) for 8 kuai at a store near the hostel. He had returned to the dorm with success.
We finally regrouped at the hostel then headed out in search for Liz's second recommendation of a must try while in Shanghai
Along the way, we noticed a Nissan Skyline rumbling along the road and found a Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, and Porsche dealership
We had noticed some of the lights on Nanjing Lu had began to turn off at 10PM which seemed relatively early. The same situation occurred in Beijing at Wangfujing where all the lights and shops seem to close up at 10PM as if there was no more business to conduct after 10PM. We pressed forward and finally reached the Bund at 10:05PM. From there we also noticed the lights of the skyscrapers on the Pudong side had also been turned off. I was quite steamed about this, but I had encountered the same situation four years ago. This time, I had led the group to an eerily quiet Bund with no lights on. After realizing there was not much to be seen here, we hailed two cabs and continued our adventure over in Xintiandi
Four years ago, I remember Xintiandi to be a bar district which caters to Westerners. Flash to the present, it is still the famous Westerner bar district in town. Xintiandi was a recent development in order to draw in expats into this section of Shanghai. We stopped off at Starbucks to warm up and get back some of our energy through caffeine, then we went bar hopping. This was the first time we saw the alcohol prices in Shanghai and it was not very pretty. A pint of beer was 65 kuai, 85 kuai for a mojito, and spirits were even more at Paulaner Brauhaus. I ended up with a glass of Hennessey as and ode to my grandfather who can very much hold his own even at his old age. This bar had live music and a small dancefloor but it also served some snacks such as french fries, chicken wings but mostly alcohol. It was quite strange to see a Chinese girl dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing while serving tall pints of beer, but then I realized I was in Shanghai, one of the most metropolitan cities in the world. Our next stop, was at Rendezvous because they were playing more modern songs to our liking. We did not receive a table at this location and ended up at the bar drinking margaritas. We stayed long enough to watch some dirty old men flirt with girls who were probably half their age on the dancefloor. It was quite nasty and frankly replusive. They also started to sing "Jingle Bells" to a more We called it a night and went back to our hostel.