Saturday, February 4, 2012

Stepping Out in Shanghai

I love Shanghai...there’s not much else to it.  I like the mixture of the old and the new, the British influence mixing with the Chinese, the good shopping and the old gardens, the little neighborhoods, the vibe and the feeling of possibility.

Jamie & Aruna
The weekend we traveled back to the States for Christmas our family was very lucky to spend some time with one of Jamie’s college friends (a.k.a “Study Buddies, you know who you are), Aruna and one of her co-workers.  Aruna was traveling in China and happened to be in Shanghai for the weekend.

Looking down Nanjing Road

We had a great time staying downtown, right along Nanjing Road, which is one of the major shopping areas.  Even though it was cold, we had a great time walking up and down the street.  Being fans of Chinese dumplings, we asked the concierge where to go for some good dumplings and he sent us down the road to a mall.  He basically sent us to a Chinese food court where people were jostling for an open seat.  We decided that wasn’t the best place for us and as we were walking towards the exit we passed by a sit-down restaurant that was a bit more promising.  The amazing part of this is the ease with which we walked into the “unknown”.  When we first moved here, the thought of walking into a restaurant that was unfamiliar and hadn't been recommended by friends would have been completely overwhelming, but now it’s just not that scary and part of the adventure.

After pointing to several pictures and using our limited Chinese, we ordered a variety of dishes and had a nice meal.  The girls really wanted ice cream from Dairy Queen, even though it was very cold and the mall was not heated, but we couldn't resist and they enjoyed their ice cream while wearing their winter jackets.

Huddled for warmth?

Along The Bund with the
Pearl tower in the background.

Sunday morning we started our tour of Shanghai walking along The Bund.  The Bund is an area along the river that runs through central Shanghai.  Because Shanghai was a British settlement for so long, many of the buildings are in an older colonial style.

View along The Bund

One of the entrances to the grounds around Yuyuan Gardens

Buying roasted chestnuts and yes
the song runs through my head too!

Water fountains outside the gardens
We spent the rest of our time south of The Bund in “old town” near Yuyuan Gardens.  It is a fun part of town with narrow alleys and small shops selling over-priced Chinese trinkets (a great place for souvenirs and working on your negotiation skills).  If you can find the entrance to the Gardens, and are willing to pay the small entrance fee, you will be transported back in time.  The gardens were quiet and peaceful and really a lot of fun for the girls to run through the tunnels, climb up & down the steps and see the fish in the different water gardens.

If you zoom in you can probably see the Starbucks
sign in the background.
According to Wikipedia: The garden was first established in 1559 as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan, who spent almost 20 years building a garden to please his father Pan En, a high-ranking official in the Ming Dynasty, during his father's old age. Over the years, the gardens fell into disrepair until about 1760 when bought by merchants, before suffering extensive damage in the 19th century. In 1842, during the Opium Wars, the British army occupied the Town God Temple for five days. During the Taiping Rebellion the gardens were occupied by imperial troops, and damaged again by the Japanese in 1942. They were repaired by the Shanghai government from 1956–1961, opened to the public in 1961, and declared a national monument in 1982.

Aruna & Kara inside the gardens

1 comment:

  1. Love your pictures and hearing about your experiences in Shanghai! You seem like an old soul here that just adapts. Your good Kara!