Better City, Better Life

Shanghai Travel Blog

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This really cool (in my opinion) raised road throughout the city lit up at night.

One thing I've learned in China is to always ALWAYS bring your own food when traveling.  On the 11.5 hour train ride from Beijing to Shanghai they sold food.. well, if you consider sauced pig elbow lunch.  I do not.  The ride was nice enough, though, and I got to see lots of scenery in the countryside. 

I stayed at The Phoenix hostel near People's Square.  It was a great location and on my first night in I met Clara from Italy and David (I think) from Ireland.  Both really nice people, and both of them ironically coming off of a trans-Siberian trip across Russia separately.

Me and the Pearl Tower.
  And I thought it was cold in China!  We headed down to the restaurant just below the hostel and had some amazing pork dumplings.  I swear, I could live on dumplings.  And cheap too!  Wonderful.  I think I ate at this place 5 times in the next week.  I had planned to only stay in Shanghai for 3-4 days since there's really not too much to do there, well 'touristy' things.  Plenty of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.  But not too much sightseeing.  However, the Vietnamese Embassy had other plans.  They decided it would take 6 full days for my visa to go through and so I was Stuck in Shanghai.. and by the fourth day, not very happily.  It's kinda just a big, Westernized, generic city.  Which isn't bad, just kinda boring.
Jen and I at the teahouse.

All week there was a New Zealand 'couple' (guy and a girl who are friends) staying in the room, Jen and Steven, and although they were perfectly nice I feel like we didn't click or something.  One day I did meet them to go up the Jinmao Tower, the second tallest building in China.  It would have had spectacular views if we could see them, but unfortunately we went on a rainy day so it was a bit disappointing.  I met this girl Beatriz in a Starbucks (I know, I know, I don't even like it at home, I just needed a place to sit out of the rain) who came to Shanghai to work for the World Expo starting May 1.  She's from Chile and will be working at, ta-da, the Chilean Pavilion.  She was AWESOME.  I feel like she was my parallel life person.  We didn't get to hang out long, but I was really glad to have met and talked to her.

Sad.
  That night the New Zealanders and three English girls drank in our room at the hostel, where Nicola taught a cool horse race card game, and then we hit the streets to find a bar, club, whatever.  What we found was Club G.  A mix of Westerners and Chinese alike, it was crowded, smokey, way too expensive, but they had a stage to dance on and American club music pumping - a good enough time for the night.  My last night at the hostel there were two guys from the Netherlands, Matt and Felix, one extremely good looking French Canadian, Etien, one Czech, Mikhail, and one French guy, Jean.  We sat up drinking beers and talking politics and traveling.  And playing with a strangely strong lazer Felix picked up (for 200 dumplings.. they measure purchases in how many drumlings they could buy) but then Etien broke.
View from the Jinmao Tower.. nice and rainy.
  Not too shabby of a Friday night.

On Thursday I visited Yu Garden which was perhaps my favorite sight in Shanghai.  It's a beautifully preserved garden in the middle of a gaudy, yet amusing, tourist area with spectacular rock archways and formations and tiny pavilions and temples throughout.  I was brought back to my good old Houston days when a group of Mexican tourists passed by and one said 'hola fuera' (hi beautiful) and I responded 'thank you!' and they all laughed.  Thank you Marcos for teaching me Mexican come-ons!  I don't think they expected me to know Spanish.  The rest of the time they kept yelling at me to join their tour.  I then met up with Jen, my friend Helena's friend, who's living in Shanghai for the year.  We went to a traditional-esque tea tasting which was really cool.

The horse race drinking game - go diamonds!
  I love tea, I only wish I had room to buy some to bring home.  I stayed with Jen the next couple nights and stayed up way too late at a house party followed by 2 bars until 4am.  Very cool to see some local bars.  Besides being the best host in the world, she also introduced me to these super amazing dumplings (didn't know they could get any better) at this little whole i the wall joint.  The dumplings were fried and had soup in the middle that you first bit a hole into them, sucked out the soup, and then ate.  I would go back to Shanghai just for those.

Perhaps the most awful thing to happen in Shanghai is that I lost my black travel pants :(  I washed them and put them out to dry on the balcony of Jen's 15th floor apartment, but I suppose I highly underestimated the wind and voila, they were goners.  I was a bit surprised how upset I felt, but they were probably the second most expensive thing I brought with me, I put lots of time into picking them out, and I've only been on the road a month!  How sad that I'm already losing stuff.  Se la vie.


On Monday I got my visa and was outta there!  So long, Shanghai.

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This really cool (in my opinion) r…
This really cool (in my opinion) …
Me and the Pearl Tower.
Me and the Pearl Tower.
Jen and I at the teahouse.
Jen and I at the teahouse.
Sad.
Sad.
View from the Jinmao Tower.. nice …
View from the Jinmao Tower.. nice…
The horse race drinking game - go …
The horse race drinking game - go…
Aw Nicola in her cute little tiger…
Aw Nicola in her cute little tige…
And Jen in her panda hat.  Why we …
And Jen in her panda hat. Why we…
Amy taking a pic of Stephanie.
Amy taking a pic of Stephanie.
Me and happy Jen.
Me and happy Jen.
Haha I love Amy.
Haha I love Amy.
The clubs little floor show.  The…
The club's little floor show. Th…
Yes, that is a wall of Barbies in …
Yes, that is a wall of Barbies in…
Wonder why this one was on sale..
Wonder why this one was on sale..
In case the Matador trend comes ba…
In case the Matador trend comes b…
Yu Gardens.
Yu Gardens.
Holy Koi fish!
Holy Koi fish!
For Rosie.
For Rosie.
On The Bund across from Pudong.
On The Bund across from Pudong.
They let kids run around the water…
They let kids run around the wate…
The gnome (sorta) and some temple.
The gnome (sorta) and some temple.
Uh, the little Expo mascot whos n…
Uh, the little Expo mascot who's …
Shanghai
photo by: Chokk