Sunday, January 08, 2012

Off to Shanghai – 26 December 2011

The 0500 wake-up call was a bit of a shock but once we were on the bus at 0600 to beat the morning Beijing traffic the trip went very smoothly until we were on board the plane for our two-hour flight to Shanghai. After arriving in Shanghai and sending our bags on to the hotel we were taken to lunch at an ethnic Chinese restaurant and then to the Temple of the Jade Buddha.
The Reclining Buddha is relatively small and seems to be stuck in a shop area as a bit of an after thought which is curious since it is the rarest form of Jade. The larger jade Buddha is afforded all the prominence and glamour that befits its rarity and history.

Shanghai is an extremely impressive city and the major financial district has been built on the east side of the Huangpu River over the last 20 years. A great way to appreciate the city is from the river, so a short boat trip on the river had been arranged as our next activity.

From there we were dropped at the hotel which was near to the junction of the Huangpu and Suzhou Rivers and thus very close to both the Bund and Nanjing Road, which we set out to explore. As darkness fell, the city buildings and the passenger boats on the river became a fantastic light show.

Having enjoyed the lights we walked inland up Nanjing Rd to see the sights, window shop and find somewhere local to eat. Christine had a hankering for Chinese sweet & sour chicken and cashews. As we walked along a side road off the Nanjing Road, all the restaurants had touts outside, tempting us in. None of them seemed familiar with Sweet & Sour, except one women, who assured us she could deliver, even though it was not on the menu.
They had a similar meal, but with peanuts instead of cashew nuts. She came in to the restaurant with us and told the waitress what we wanted. There was some discussion over our desired dish and eventually the lady took the waitresses' order pad and wrote on it then promptly disappeared down the street. A few minutes later she returned with a bag in her hand, presumably the new;y purchased cashews to meet the customer requirements. It was a delicious and extremely cheap meal and so we retired to the hotel well satisfied with the day.

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