Sweet relief in the city made of money

Shanghai Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 5 › view all entries

We arrived in Shanghai about 6am on a Saturday in the middle of the summer humidity.. again, no hotel reservation. I wasn't too worried however, because we had all day to work on it and I knew we'd eventually find something. The key was trying to get something close to the famous Bund, which I'd heard and read so much about. The first place was full (for real) but it was way too expensive anyway, so thank god. As we were walking out the door, the bell hop whispered, "You want cheap hotel?" so we said yeah and he told us to go around the corner. We did and as we walked in the door, I could tell something was wrong.. It looked as if the hotel was about a month's worth of construction away from being opened.

the Bund
 A dude jumped off the couch in the empty lobby and led us back to what looked like a linen closet and banged loudly for whoever was sleeping in there to wake up. I'm not sure who the hell was sleeping in that closet cuz we were already out the door laughing our asses off.

We decided to walk down the Bund to the CITS office (the official chinese travel agency for foreigners) to see if they could save us the hassle of walking all over town loooking for vacant lodging... and in the process ran into a great little hotel right there that had rooms. Score!

After getting situated, we immediately went book shopping. I can waste an entire day in a book store - fortunately Tracy was there to pull me out and we eventually went for a drink at the top of Captain's hostel that offers a nice view of the Shanghai skyline.

the dragon table
Couple of beers and a good night's sleep.

The next day we ventured out to do some exploring. We were on our way to the Shanghai museum when two chinese girls stopped us, complimented Tracy's hair and asked if I knew how to sing Hotel California. Both girls were from Inner Mongolia (that's actually a province of China) and English majors at their college. One of the girls talked nonstop- I mean, no pause for commas or periods or nothing. We were charmed.

They were on their way to a Chinese tea ceremony and invited us to go along, so we followed them into this covered market and up some stairs and into this little shop. A young girl led us back to a room with this multi-leveled wooden table -- this table was cut and polished from a gigantic root system of some old tree and had a dragon carved into it - you had to see it to believe it.

Party like a rock star...
Talk about a strange but wonderful experience. Our hostest, a young chinese girl in traditional dress, spoke about 3 decibals louder than was really necessary (I think it's just a chinese culture thing) while our new friends translated for us. Over the course of an hour, we tried about 7 different teas, all different (including one tea made of what looked like a fuzzy little seed, that opened up to a flower when you dropped it in boiling water). At the end, we were so dazzled by the whole spectical that we bought some of the teas and barely noticed that the bill was over 1000 yuan (that's about 130 bucks). The experience was definitely worth it, but what sucks is that we were too stunned at the time to realize that we were paying twice as much as we should have.
...and pose like a cartoon Lennon
 O well.


A moment of silence for all the money lost while traveling.

We exchanged emails with the two girls (we still loved them) and checked out the museum.. Certainly not the best museum I've been to, but the actual building was a work of art.. something about earth being square and heaven being a circle (dig it). Following the museum, we looked up a movie theater that played English movies and taxi'd across town to check it out. Only Mission Impossible 3 and Superman Returns... what a joke, but no contest. MI3 wasn't too bad actually. After the movie, we went to Starbucks-- it never fails, everywhere in the world, somehow Starbucks manages to land some of the best property for viewing the city.

Shanghai is definitely the city I would live in if I was rich. 

(This is a section of my journal from the time I spent in Asia. I went to China in the summer of 2006.)
newtampo says:
I heard that MI3 can't show in China because of one scene about underwear or something. But it did?
Posted on: Apr 30, 2007
carpefunk says:
they were in chinese :) but i remember one of the teas i bought was translated Dragon's Eye or something
Posted on: Apr 30, 2007
jenn79 says:
What a cool story! Makes me want to have a tea party too, sans the huge dragon table though.. that might be a bit hard to recreate =) Did you get any of the names of the teas?
Posted on: Apr 29, 2007
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the Bund
the Bund
the dragon table
the dragon table
Party like a rock star...
Party like a rock star...
...and pose like a cartoon Lennon
...and pose like a cartoon Lennon
Shanghai
photo by: Chokk