The big city
Shanghai Travel Blog› entry 22 of 24 › view all entries
It seems odd being back in somewhere so modern. Though the upside is, I can get coffee again!
I spent the morning wandering around the area known as the French Concession. I was hoping to get a bit of a feel for it's heyday, but to be honest, there was less of a French/historical atmosphere than I'd expected. I don't know - maybe I was looking in the wrong places. It still made interesting wandering though.
Then I made for the Old Town area. This was very crowded and touristy in the centre, and full of souvenir shops and so on. I made for the tea house in the centre of the lake there though, and instantly found myself in the cool peace and quiet. Looking out of the window I could see hoards of people, but inside was an oasis from the humidity and bustle. I ordered myself some jasmine tea. It came in the little bowl with a lid, and a flask of water to top it up as I pleased. Accompanying it were little plates of quails eggs, tofu squares, a candied sour plum, and a marshmallow-y blob of a ground rice concoction with some green stuff inside. An unusual taste, but pleasant. Goodness knows what it is - but that goes for an awful lot of stuff that's eaten over here. Anyway, as a Chinese version of tapas, it all worked really nicely.
When I got back, I sat in a cafe on Nanjing Donglu - Shangai's equivalent to Oxford Street, but pedestrianised. Suddenly it started to rain...and thunder, and there was lightening. The power of the rain was immmense, and the road outside flooded in no time at all. I'd been about to leave, but it was obviously set in for a while. What was I to do? That was easy. I ordered myself their warm, home made chocolate brownie with ice cream, and a cappuccino. Chinese tapas is all very well, but it doesn't work as comfort food.
When it had calmed down a bit, I found an internet place and blogged a bit - and also looked to see what the weather was going to be like for the next couple of days. The answer wasn't what I wanted to see. Still, it had dried up a bit, and as usual, night time on Nanjing Donglu was buzzy, neon lit and atmospheric. As the hostel I was staying in was a fair way from the action, and there's a budget hotel right on the street, and next to a metro station, I decided to swap, so I can enjoy the Shanghai nights, and then just fall into bed. Rather than spend 45 minutes trying to find my hostel and getting lost . Which is what I did.