Phil (my friend from university) was visiting his family in Shanghai for the Chinese New Years and it was great to see him again after months. His family welcomed us both in to their home and it was incredibly nice to be taken care of and see a familiar face after travelling for so long. We had a room and bathroom for ourselves and they had a pet dog, Lassi, what more could we ask for.
We were so tired when we got on the airport train that we were dosing in and out and before we knew it we were a stop away from the airport again! Never have we seen a train where it’s destination is a certain place but requires you to change train half way through the journey. Usually it will state a change over but not in this case. So we wasted an hour which unfortunately Phil had to waste waiting for us at the station. Gladly his father and him waited patiently for us and drove us to their house to relax and nap before the three of us headed out to have dinner as we arrived on my birthday l. Phil took us to Xin Tian Di, an area of town with lovely restaurants and bars. We ate authentic Chinese food that night and ended the night with drinks at Paulaner Brauhaus, a very busy bar with a really good vibe to it. Some of the waitresses dressed in traditional German wear and the size of the beers were huge! It wasn’t the usually birthday celebration I was used to but I was lucky to have celebrated it with Max and one of my good friends.
Birthday drinks at Paulaner Brauhaus Phil with the smallest beer ever seen! hehe
On our return Phil’s parents kindly surprised me with a birthday cake which was so sweet and considerate of them! We ended the night even better than we had expected, indulging in those mouth watering chocolate cake!
Happy Birthday to Moi!
The following day Phil’s dad dropped us off by the metro station in the morning and we headed to the centre of Shanghai. The centre, Pudong, had a wicked design. Sky scrapers surrounded the area with a pedestrianised sky walkway. Escalators connecting the walkway and roads could be used at certain areas. I had never seen a sky walkway before, it looked so futuristic and is an excellent way of prohibiting pedestrians on the roads allowing a good flow of cars.
The famous Oriental Pearl was located here, a colourful building next to the river. We had tea at a sky bar in Jin Mao tower, one of the high ride buildings, which had a spectacular view overlooking the city centre. It was fairly chilly outside so we tried to minimise time outdoors as much as possible.
The infamous Oriental Pearl City view from Jin Mao Tower
We crossed the river by metro and visited the Bund situated on the other side of the river side. It reminded us a lot like Hong Kong as the river was also lined with high rise buildings. This was the old Shanghai, the clock tower being one of the older structures, its ancient architecture distinct to that of the modern buildings facing opposite it.
We caught a small tram from The Bund to Peoples Park, where there was a theatre, pond and lovely paths to walk around but by 5pm it got unbearably cold and heading home for a warm cup of tea sounded more appealing than wandering the streets of Shanghai unfortunately.
Some of Shanghai’s oldest architecture Shanghai’s main street
Before heading back though we decided to visit a mall dedicated to electronics just to see how cheap certain electronics were and yes the Samsung and IPhones were cheaper here, with prices around £200 less than that in Europe but it was not cheap enough to convince us to buy them.
You have to love China for it’s weird and wonderful things, that is one thing they excel in! They have excellent technology, some of which haven’t reached Europe yet, and if you want a Psi (Gangdam Style) or Steve Jobs carved ice- cream you got it! Phil’s mother cooked us a delicious noodle dinner that night so we had a relaxing night in.
Gangdam Style! Anyone fancy a Steve Jobs ice-cream?
The third day we headed to a shopping mall known for it’s cheap counterfeits brands. It is as cheap as they say and I had a whale of a time here! Unfortunately we had limited space in our backpacks but we were still able to buy a few desired things.
Food in China can be expensive or cheap depending on whether you eat in restaurants or food courts, respectively. Food courts, as found in Carrefour, offer really cheap and delicious food. It may be the best place we had eaten so far, indulging in dumplings and rice dishes, leaving on a full stomach having paid £6 for the three of us! Now that’s cheap!
Cooking it up at the food court
We had a pit stop at Haagen Daz and then got a taxi home to chill and watch tv for the rest of the afternoon. We didn’t even have dinner that night after the lunch we had had, so ridiculous.
On our fourth day we sadly had to say our goodbyes. We had had such a nice relaxing stay here with good company that it was sad we had to leave. Phil and his mother dropped us off at the train station where we got the train to Hangzhou at 11am.