Shanghai: Initial Explorations

Recap of China numero uno. Get excited.

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After almost 24 hours of travel, I arrived in Shanghai, exhausted from the absurdly long flight. I watched 3 movies, chugged bottles of water, and was inspired by Oprah. Let’s just say it was a “productive” trip. Thankfully I didn’t miss my connecting flight and arrived in Shanghai at about 3pm Saturday (3am EST). Peter and his roommate Pat picked me up and we took a long subway ride to their apartment.

Their apartment is actually very nice with great wood floors and a lot of space. However, the heater is a little wonky and the shower never gets quite hot enough. Both are problematic because it was FREEZING in Shanghai. Like Maine weather cold. Like out at night I wore 3 layers with a hat, scarf, and gloves, and was still cold!

I immediately crashed for a little evening nap then headed over to Rodrigo and Lydia’s apartment. I met Rodrigo, Peter’s co-worker, and his wife Lydia during my last visit. They are from Brazil and invited us over for a Carnival pre-party. Also invited were their other co-workers Nester and Peter. Nester and his girlfriend are from Mexico, Peter is from England, and Peter’s girlfriend is Chinese. It was quite the international crowd! A mix of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese filled the air which was fascinating!

We drank some alcoholic Brazilian coconut milk, ate a delicious homemade chicken pie, and devoured pure cane sugar for dessert! All Brazilian dishes in honor of Carnival. We then arrived at club Mao for a Carnival party. There was a live Brazilian band with dancers and some insane Carnival parades projected in the back. You can get an idea of the insane parades here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Kllu0lc_h8

The club was filled mostly with expats which was very strange to see in China. I met a girl from Toronto and guy from San Francisco. It was so fun! We danced to authentic Brazilian music all night long before heading home to crash… hard.

After 9 hours of sleep, Peter, Pat, and I walked down to lunch at the Hong Mei Lu Pedestrian Street which is filled with international restaurants and bars. Yes, my second meal in China was an omelette.

Along the way we said hello to Buddha bunny:

I called him Buddha bunny because he was huge! Like a sleeping giant. Look at how big he is in relation to Peter’s head:

We decided to walk 20 minutes to Carrefour for some shopping and sightseeing. It was a slightly overcast but fairly warm day and I relished the opportunity to stretch out my legs and become immersed in the city.

After walking for almost 30 minutes we decided that we were most definitely lost. Carrefour was nowhere in sight. However, a park off the highway caught our eye and we decided to explore. Then we ran into Ghandi.

And Charlie Chaplin. Or was it Mark Twain? No idea.

But we hit it off.

We circled the park, watching families frolic on the grass, next to signs that clearly said “Keep Off Grass”. I love it how the Chinese have a blatant disregard for the rules, but nobody really cares. For example, cars, scooters, and bikes pay no attention whatsoever to lanes, traffic lights, and turn signals. But amazingly, there are few accidents. People are actually really good bad drivers. Make sense?

After an hour of wandering, we end up grabbing a cab that took us in a completely different direction. Yeah, we missed the turn a long time ago. The long walk was nice and exhausting though.

We arrive at Carrefour which, like I mentioned before, is a huge “hypermarket” full of expat food (yay fiber!), clothes, and so much more. We picked up a few things for the apartment as well as a cheap fleece jacket for me. I definitely did not pack enough warm clothes.

Next up was the massive grocery section. I love grocery shopping and can spend hours perusing the aisles. Grocery stores are also a great way to explore a culture through their food choices and traditions. In China, you begin to see that people are not wasteful and value meat, which was not readily available until recently. Also, they have the largest carrots I have ever seen. Just saying.

After Carrefour we went to Peter’s gym for a workout. Because of jetlag I felt very wobbly and disoriented, like my body was still sleeping. It felt weird. Despite the dizziness I got in a pretty good strength workout and finished off with intervals on the treadmill.

For dinner I believe we ordered in and watched… JUSTIFIED. So so good.

More Shanghai adventures coming soon!


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