Eastern China Relaxing Trip day 5
Shanghai Travel Blog› entry 5 of 10 › view all entries
27/12/06 - Meeting up Alban, Nanjing Rd, People's Square, Shanghai Arts Museum, Xintiandi, Oriental Pearl TV Tower
We woke up quite late, after taking shower, we planned to have brunch out somewhere near the hostel. Alban arrived today, so we decided to give our mobile number to the receptionist, so that she could tell Alban and we could meet up in somewhere. When we were walking towards to the reception, we saw a familiar back standing in front of the reception, that's Alban!! What a surprise!!! We didn't expect he'd arrive that early!
It seemed that Alban didn't left us for that long, he looked exactly the same as before, be we haven't seen each other for a half year already. We were used to hang out and have fun everyday when we lived in the same hall in HK. Our identity changed in this half year, he's studying in France and I'm not a student anymore. We can't live in the PolyU hall anymore, and we can't see each often as we did before. However, our friendship doesn't change, and I guess it'd last forever.
After meeting up with Alban, we're walking to East Nanjing Road and tried to find some delicious Shanghai snack there.
Nanjing Road Pedestrians Street
Michelle & me were so excited to these delicious Sunjingbao and Xiaolongbao(小籠包), but guess what? There was loads of soap inside the dumpling, and Michelle was so hurried to eat regardless the hot soap inside, finally, the soap splitted out to her neckerchief, cloth and hair. She got a Xiaolongbao favor for a whole day.
Prior to 1949, People's Square was a part of the horseracing course of Shanghai. After gambling and horseracing were banned by the new Communist government, a part of the race course became the People's Square, which included a large avenue and spectator stands for use during parades.
In the 1990s, major changes were made to the square. The Shanghai Municipal Government was moved from the former HSBC Building, and the Shanghai Museum was also moved away from its previous site in a former officer building. More recent additions include the Shanghai Grand Theatre and the shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall.
Other parts of the race course still remain today. The clubhouse buildings became the Shanghai Art Museum, while part of the race track became People's Park, a public park.
After visiting this crap museum, we walked to a famous, busy and expensive area - Xintiandi (新天地)
Xintiandi is a car-free area of Shanghai. It is composed of an area of restored traditional shikumen ("stone gate") houses on narrow alleys, a modern shopping mall with a cinema complex, and some adjoining houses which now serve as book stores, cafes and restaurants. Most of the cafes and restaurants feature both indoor and outdoor seating. Xintiandi boasts an active nightlife on weekdays as well as weekends, though romantic settings are more common than loud music and dance places.
One uniquely Shanghainese cultural element is the Shikumen residences, which are two or three-story townhouses, with the front yard protected by a high brick wall. Each residence is connected and arranged in straight alleys, known as a lòngtang (弄堂), pronounced longdang in Shanghainese. The entrance to each alley is usually surmounted by a stylistic stone arch. The whole resembles terrace houses or townhouses commonly seen in Anglo-American countries, but distinguished by the tall, heavy brick wall in front of each house. The name "shikumen" literally means "stone storage door", referring to the strong gateway to each house.
The shikumen is a cultural blend of elements found in Western architecture with traditional Lower Yangtze (Jiangnan) Chinese architecture and social behavior. All traditional Chinese dwellings had a courtyard, and the shikumen was no exception. Yet, to compromise with its urban nature, it was much smaller and provided an "interior haven" to the commotions in the streets, allowing for raindrops to fall and vegetation to grow freely within a residence. The courtyard also allowed sunlight and adequate ventilation into the rooms.
This style of housing originally developed when local developers adapted terrace houses to Chinese conditions. The wall was added to protect against fighting and looting during the Taiping rebellion, and later burglars and vandals during the social upheavals of the early twentieth century. By World War II, more than 80% of the population in the city lived in these kinds of dwellings. Many of these were hastily built and were akin to slums, while others were of sturdier construction and featured all modern amenities such as the flush toilet.
During and after World War II, massive population increases in Shanghai led many shikumen houses to be heavily subdivided. For example, the spacious living room is often divided into three or four rooms, each lent out to a family. These cramped conditions continue to exist in many of the shikumen districts that have survived recent development.
The landlords who leased (subletted) the shikumen out to other families were called "erfangdong"(二房東), or "second landlord" as many of them acquired the shikumen buildings from its original owner ("dafangdong"大房東). These landlords families usually share the same shikumen building with the tenants.
Shanghai Tang!! For Hong Kong people, we could only associate it with a famous TV series many years ago, but it's an international clothing chain company found by Hong Kong businessman which is so expensive.
We've already reserved a table in Oriental Pearl TV Tower to have a buffer dinner in the revolving restaurant at top which was cost us ¥280 per us. That's kind of expensive dinner in mainland China, but if we didn't have a dinner on there, and just for sight-seeing, they charged us like half the price, so I'd think to have a dinner there could make us stay a bit longer, and it might be my only chance to have dinner here for my whole life, so why didn't come? It's just so similar when I was in Paris, when we came so late in the last night, the Eiffel Tower was close, and my friends were just not willing to go again in the next morning as it's so expensive and they thought it's more worthy to go there at night. Actually, we went to different countries in the next day, they went to Netherlands in the afternoon, and I went to Florence at night, so I visited the Eiffel Tower in the morning alone. Sometime, people think that they would have chance to go somewhere or to see someone again, but it isn't always true. So, seize your opportunities!!
We sent a birthday gift to France to Alban, but he never sent us birthday gifts back, so he offered us some free drink. He talked to me in MSN before, he said he would offer me a beer when we met in Shanghai, but Michelle misunderstood it as "bear"!!! haha, so we asked Alban to buy some cute bear dolls for us in France!!!!! Of course, he wasn't that nice, we finally received some free drink from him. I choose some special drink named like "Pearl Special" (in the left), and Michelle ordered the one in the middle, and Alban was in the right. As you all can see, mine one is the most attractive one, and Michelle one was so bad, so bitter. As a result, I shared a bit with her and her drink was given to Alban
Oriental Pearl Tower
The tower has three observatory levels. The highest (known as the Space Module) is at 350 m. The lower levels are at 263 m (Sightseeing Floor) and at 90 m (Space City). There is a revolving restaurant at the 267 m level. The project also contains exhibition facilities, restaurants and a shopping mall. There is also a 20 room hotel called the Space Hotel between the two large spheres.
The design of the building is based on a verse of the Tang Dynasty poem Pipa Song by Bai Juyi about the wonderful sprinkling sound of a pipa instrument, like pearls, big and small falling on a jade plate (大珠小珠落玉盤). The Oriental Pearl Tower consists of big and small balls, 11 in total. It is as if they are pearls falling down from the sky above on a jade plate, represented by the Hangout river.
Seen from afar, the Yangpu bridge (楊浦大橋) and the Nanpu bridge (南浦大橋) seem like two Chinese dragons frolicking with the pearls of the Oriental Pearl tower.
So here we were in 365m, as we're in the indoor, we didn't feel cold!!
We're now in 263m which is really cold together with the big wind!!! I guess it's below 2 degree!!!!! A post office is located in this level as well, we bought some postcards here, I posted one back home that included the special chop for this tower!
Here we're in 90m!!
Fuwa consists of five members: Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini. The five mascots incorporate fish, giant panda, fire, Tibetan antelope, and swallow designs respectively, and each also represents one of the five Olympic Rings. When the first syllable of each of the five names are said together, the result sounds like the phrase "Beijing welcomes you"
We were like kidnapped by the hawkers around the tower since we stepped out. They're selling some silly stuff to us, the most funny thing was the little tower glass toy that was exactly same as the toy selling in Eiffel Tower but changed to the TV Tower. Haha, I'd like to buy it in Paris, but it's unreasonably expensive, and it's so fake, same as here in Shanghai. I'd say all toys should be made in China wherever the real tower located.
It's Sean birthday tonight, so we went to have some drink with him and other hostelmates, but we had to go to Hangzhou on the next day, so we just stayed a short time only.