Shanghai Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 11 › view all entries

I slept for most of the train ride to Shanghai. My sleeper was similar to the bunks on a tour bus and after a couple hours of reading, doing crosswords (thanks Courtney!) and listening to music, I was out like a light.

Shanghai was on my “maybe, maybe not” list. I had heard that it was very westernized and there wasn’t much of Chinese culture left. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'll admit some parts of the city very modern - but peel back the layers, walk only a few blocks off the beaten path, away from the Bund and People’s Square (Shanghai answer to Time Square) and you will find that heart of the city is still pumping truly Asian blood through its veins.

Upon arrival, I met up with Marcus at the Hotel - an ultra-modern three story vertical glass building tucked in amongst street vendors and outdoor food stalls.

It was the perfect cross-section of the city’s combination of old and new. We hopped in a cab and headed out to see the sites. The Bund, Pudong District, The French Concession, Yuyuan Bazaar & Peoples Square were all as impressive as promised. It was a bit of a touristy day for us but well worth it and both of us immediately liked the city. After a shower and a quick bite, we headed out to sample the city’s famous night life. No disappointment here. It didn’t take long for us to meet up with a group of Austrians who were on a work study program. We bar hopped until late night, then headed to a American-style diner for some breakfast with a couple of friends we had met. I couldn’t resist the “Southern Style Biscuits and Gravy”….but maybe I should have…

The next day was one of the best. After hearing of the Coup in Thailand, we decided to head to a popular backpackers hotel to see if we could gather some better info. From there we decided to go in search of some street food. Success was only a few blocks away. We followed our noses as we walked in the opposite direction of the tourist areas and into the local neighbourhoods. Soon we were the only westerners in site and found the ourselves among the outdoor markets and food stalls that we knew were provide some tasty grub. We sampled everything we could find (why not? It’s all less than a buck), pork dim sum, meat stuffed pastry, all sorts of satay & some spicy cold noodle salad. I am thankful that Marcus shares my sense of adventure for food and exploring. I’m not sure I would be as comfortable wandering the streets alone and I know that my experience has been enhanced greatly. Xiexie, man if you are reading this, oh shit, wo tingbedong.

Tomorrow we are heading out of the city for some R&R in the quiet West Lake town on Hangzhou

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photo by: Chokk