Early Morning Exercise
Waking up was a treat we watched the older folks exercising in mass in front of the metro station while we went through our morning routine. Later we took the subway to the French Concession and had breakfast at the Coffee bean restaurant next to the Communist Party Building. The temperature and the weather were great for walking, and the street restaurant made you feel like you were in an upscale area in Paris, it was a pleasant spot. We ate and watched the people. The Chinese walking around this area were obviously from the higher class, with their designer clothes, noses and hair cuts. After a couple refills on the coffee we walked around the area called Xintiandi with its narrow cobblestone alleys and old houses with terraces.
We visited the Shikumen Open House Museum that gave us a glimpse of the traditional life style in a 10- room Shanghai Shikumen house. It contained furniture and interesting artifacts from the period. There were a couple of large egg jars with dragons painted on the sides, just like the ones we got in Brunei.
The French Concession for breakfast
We decided to pass on visiting the Communist Party Building ( we had forgotten to bring our party hats and little red books). Instead, we walked to Fuxi Park and the onwards toward the fake market area. We had pizza at Papa dons, it was surprisingly expensive, but it tasted good and we needed a break from walking.
As we walked we were bombarded by venders with pictures of merchandise that were asking us to go with them to see the fake watches, purses, sunglasses, DVD’s etc… We shrugged them off and just kept walking, thinking we would just see the fake market without their help. We eventually came to another subway station and then realized that we had gone too far. We backtracked, but didn’t see any market anywhere. We asked one of the venders and they were more than happy to show us. They took us a couple of blocks and then through an alley into a court yard, and then into a series of small rooms where they had everything from shoes it IPods. We did not feel comfortable, turned around and double timed out without buying anything.
View from the Shikumen Open House Museum
Having seen the fake market and not being impressed, we decided to go back to Pudong, where the new sky scrapers are.
We got there in the subway, and then boarded a double Decker tour bus that took us around and between all of the tall buildings. They even gave us a weird thick chalky drink. We enjoyed sitting and taking in the view. Next we went inside the Super Brand Mall ( the largest in Shanghai) and we went to the cinema on the top floor next to the ice rink. The only movie in English was “Wanted” with Angelina Jolie so we watched it, some parts they were cut out. In the same mall we found a restaurant with a good view of the bund and had dinner (Cesar salad and Calamari). Satiated, we walked down to the Huangpu river, found a bench where we sat and enjoyed the life of the city and boats until we fell it was time to head back to the hostel in the metro.
A temple near the fake market
At the hostel we talked to 3 girls from Ireland that are having a gap year between their BS and MS degrees. They had some funny stories about what it was like for 3 fair skinned girls to be traveling through china. They are headed to Australia with work turist visa, where they plan to get jobs and sight see. Running into people like them was one of the things we liked most about the hostel environment.