Greetings from Shanghai

Hello friends! Sorry for the radio silence. I'm currently typing on a broken keyboard that is devoid of the letters a c, k, q, and the period and enter keys, so I'm going to keep this post short. I've been combating jet lag from a 14-hour direct flight to Shanghai, and many mosquito bites (yes, there's still mosquitoes lingering in September-October). At this time of the year it's mildly hot during the day, but you'll need a jacket during the night. Still a nice contrast from the brisk Fall in Toronto.

Shanghai
Prada store at IAPM mall
Sichuan dinner near the French Concession area

Sichuan dinner near the French Concession area

Shanghai is a beautiful city, yet a weird mix of futuristic architecture in the Pudong area and European Neoclassical buildings along the Bund on the Puxi (west) side of the Huangpu River. There are the expat areas and then the local areas, which for me was the fish-smelling sewer-lard-I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-smelling part of Shanghai.

Farmer's market in Shanghai

Farmer's market in Shanghai

Shanghai Folk Art Museum

Shanghai Folk Art Museum

Delicious Shanghainese food at Jian'guo 328 Xiaoguan - my fave!

Delicious Shanghainese food at Jian'guo 328 Xiaoguan - my fave!

Tianzefang - a gem near the French Concession with small crafts stores, coffee shops, trendy art studios, narrow alley ways and Shikumen architecture

Tianzefang - a gem near the French Concession with small crafts stores, coffee shops, trendy art studios, narrow alley ways and Shikumen architecture

Mailbox art in Tianzefang

Mailbox art in Tianzefang

In China it's standard to drink hot water and warm water in restaurants, because the cleanliness of the tap water is questionable and not suitable for drinking. If you speak Mandarin with a broken accent, people are still forgiving here. Most people can actually speak a bit of English in contemporary, tourist restaurants and expat areas. Also, the malls here are on steroids. Take the Super Brand Mall for instance.

Lab Made black sesame ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen

Lab Made black sesame ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen

We caught up with my sister residing in Shanghai who showed us around Tianzefang and Xintiandi, both shopping districts but unique in their own different way. Taking a cab is an extremely cheap means of transportation in Shanghai, second to the metro which is super efficient and provides wifi and cell phone reception underground.

Xintiandi 
Xintiandi - shopping, eating & entertainment district

Xintiandi - shopping, eating & entertainment district

Juice break at Element Fresh in Xintiandi

Juice break at Element Fresh in Xintiandi

Crossing the streets as a pedestrian is almost suicidal because there's no such thing as right of way and traffic laws in Shanghai, so it takes a reckless driver to get around. People will run red lights at all costs and honk at you basically telling you to get out of the way, even if you're crossing a green light. Also, you don't know pro jaywalkers until you see them here.

Bikers running red lights

Bikers running red lights

Super Brand Mall 

Super Brand Mall 

Night stroll through People's Square Park

Night stroll through People's Square Park

One of the first things that really culture shocked me was the staring. In China it's normal for people to stare, especially when you wear 'Western' clothes that don't look the same as everyone else. Although in my defence I was wearing a strapless plain navy top, a pair of black shorts and polarized aviators on a scorching hot day with a high of 27 degrees (37 with humidity and on a low UV day).

The infamous "xiao long bao" soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung 

The infamous "xiao long bao" soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung 

L-R: Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai Tower (tallest building in China with 121 stories, still under construction) in Pudong

L-R: Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai Tower (tallest building in China with 121 stories, still under construction) in Pudong

Oriental Pearl Tower

Oriental Pearl Tower

Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower

Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower

Cloud 9 bar at the Grand Hyatt on the 89th floor of the Jin Mao Tower 

Cloud 9 bar at the Grand Hyatt on the 89th floor of the Jin Mao Tower 

Until next time,

Jean