Taking the high-speed rail again, this time to Shanghai a city of 23 million (+ or – depending on how you count), the biggest city I have ever visited. A city that appears to be highly modernized, yet when you scratch the surface there are still some relics of the past.
On one side of the river you will notice Euro-style architecture from early 20th Century. At that time, many of the European powers had exuberantly lustful interests to colonize parts of China.
As cities go for me this one is too big and there is too much of a hustle happening to enjoy the place. The place exudes a sense of cosmopolitan ingratitude. Most everything is overpriced, especially food. Additionally, the food is generally too sweet for my liking. I prefer more savory foods. My first meal in Shanghai was quite disappointing.
I did see more Westerners in this city than any other. I also heard folks speaking English, German and French – perhaps due to the fact that this was fashion week in Shanghai. The weather reminded me of Seattle (and that is not a good thing). Not helping my discord with this mega-city was a nasty head-cold that I picked up in the past 48 hours.
On the second day, I had breakfast and lunch with the twins.
The breakfast dumplings were very good and the hot soup helped to ease my head-cold. It was an unexpected but excellent choice for my morning meal! Also a big improvement over the pretentious hotel food the day before. This style of dumpling was a pork filling inside a larger and thicker dough. Additionally these dumplings were fried. They were really delicious this way, but extremely hot! A wonderful and filling way to start the morning.
We also visited the Shanghai Museum. Their collection includes nearly 130,000 pieces. A small museum with an excellent selection of ancient art including jade sculpture, calligraphy, ceramics, coins, furniture, seals and stamps.
To my surprise, there is no entrance fee for this museum! I would put this one on the top of any traveler’s list of places to see in Shanghai, especially for that price!
Get there early, because it fills up quickly. After the museum, the girls helped me to find some cold remedy medication and lunch at a noodle house. Thanks to the girls for spending their morning showing me Shanghai’s better side.
I enjoyed a very nice dinner with my friend, Jason Du. I remember having some thought provoking conversations with Jason during his lessons. His college major was philosophy and I bet that has a lot to do with his ability to speak intelligently on many interesting topics. His wife Gloria needed to look after the baby so, unfortunately she did not join us. Student Eva Shi met up with Jason and I to have a nice conversation over an interesting selection of Shanghai favorite foods. A delicious but fattening pork belly with sweet sauce (said to be Mao’s favorite food), a pair of cold lamb terrine I enjoyed very much, some rice concoctions that were sweet like a dessert food and a sweet fish served cold. Thanks, Jason. It was great to finally meet you!
My head cold was not going away easily and this was cause to have only a short visit with student, June on the final night of my stay in Shanghai.
Next time; a side trip to Suzhou and Hangzhou.
From Shanghai I boarded a domestic airline to Xi’an. Check-in was a bit sketchy for me, because I had no interpreter to help. I showed my passport and ticket info to one group of uniformed employees of some sort and they pointed >>> over there and I went that way. Soon to realize I had no idea what the hell they were pointing at. There were a few signs in English, but nothing of the airline that my reservation indicated. I think it was China East airlines. Eventually I decided to stand in a short line for a different airline and when it was my turn, I showed my passport and the ticket info on my phone. The clerk scanned my passport,a short while after she handed me a boarding pass and pointed in the direction I needed to go.
Next stop Xi’an.