Saturday, March 10

Today is Saturday, and we had the day off and took some time to tour around Shanghai.  There's a lot to see, and we didn't see everything we wanted to, but we saw a lot.  Enjoy!

We started off at Xiangyang which has an underground market filled with small shops selling mostly knock-offs of name-brand merchandise.  You can get "Polo" shirts for $4, "Taylor" golf club sets for $100 and "Samsonite" luggage for $20.  We had fun wandering around and haggling with the merchants.  Bob was looking at getting an extra piece of luggage and got a vendor woman quite angry at him for not just conceding her price.

The entrance to the the market is next to the Shanghai museum of science and technology, seen behind us.  The cool bronze sculpture with the dragons is the Armillary Sphere, which predicts the coordinates of the sun, moon and planets.  It's a symbol of ancient Chinese scientific knowledge.

After shopping, we paused for the sign at the park above the market, called Century Park.  You can see Bob with his new purchases.

Another couple views of this huge sundial.

It was Chinese new year a few weeks ago, so we saw Happy new Year signs all over.

Driving to our next stop, we drove by some of the distinctive buildings in Shanghai.  Below is the Jinmao Tower, which is more than 1350 feet tall.

The top of the tower.

Another distinctive building is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which is apparently either loved or hated.  I think it's cool looking but lots of people think it's an eyesore.

This is along the east bank of the Huangpu River, in the Pudong area.  This is some of the most costly real estate in Shanghai.  Therefore, there is a Starbucks.

Across the river is The Bund, an area which was developed by western countries about 100 years ago.  Looks pretty Euro to me.  Later in the day we walked down to this area to see Pudong from The Bund.

After that we went to the Old Town, the oldest part of the city, about 150 years old, and is a highly popular shopping and dining area.  There's also the noted Yuyuan Gardens which used to be the residence of the city's highest minister.

More starbucks here.  This area is known for a kind of steamed bun called xiaolongbao, which we had for lunch.

This traditional building was a theater and is now kind of the center of the market area.

Other buildings in this area.

This teapot appears to float in mid-air, with the water running out of it but nothing holding it up. Many people stood in front to have their picture taken with it.  Can you figure it out?

We then went over to the Yuyuan Gardens, known primarily for the rock garden, called the Big Rockery.

A bronze dog?

This is the rockery, granite which looks kind of like pumice.

The inside of one of the buildings.  It's a sitting area.

The below rock is quite popular.

After this we went to a restaurant for lunch.  Here are some of the appetizers- steamed buns containing, from the upper left, prawn, vegetables and pork.

For a main course we got a sampler of steamed buns, spring roll, very sticky floury stuff, glutinous rice in a green leaf tied up with string (you don't eat the leaf or paper and it's incredibly sticky), and a little dessert pastry stuffed with sweet porky stuff.  A good meal, not too unusual but different enough to know we're not home.  It's a pretty common Shanghai lunch.

Another interesting building.

We then went to a higher-end shopping area to take a walk down to the Bund.  We stopped in at "Pearl City", a set of about 30 shops selling pearl jewelry.  Interesting, because although everything is priced they start right off discounting from 20-70%.  Haggling is the way of the day and kept Bob amused for a long time.

Back out on the street it started to get dark and colder, but I still stopped to see some more interesting buildings.

We also stopped in at a KFC to see if it's any good or different from home.

Nope - tasted the same to us.  But it came with spicy chili sauce.

The Pizza Huts are enormously popular with lines out the door.  The Yoshinoya was not quite as popular.

I thought this sign was interesting - it's says "occident".

At the Bund we looked back across the river to where we had been about 5 hours earlier.

I see a lit sign saying "Wynn", which appears quite like the signs I've seen for various Steve Wynn properties in Las Vegas.  A casino?

On top of this notable building is the Chinese flag, the best shot I got of it during the day.  It's not in your face like I expected it to be.

This advertising boat was going up and down the river hawking other knockoffs of other products, like MacOS... 

For dinner we went to Colourful Hotpot, which is a Chinese version of fondue, but instead of cooking meat and veggies in oil, it's in a soup, which in our case was pretty spicy with chili oil.  We had lamb, wagyu beef, mushrooms, and spinach.  Tasty!

The soup boils on top of its own individual burner. Hot and good.

After this we were ready for bed, so we headed back to the hotel for our final night in China, and for me to write this story. 

We had a great time here.  We were really surprised at how we knew so little of China- how developed it is, at least out east, how clean and safe it is, and how nice and fun it is to visit.  Recommended.  We're off to Bangkok in the morning, see you from there!