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Shanghai Shenanigans

sunny 30 °C

I'm currently sat on the China's high speed rail service between Beijing and Shanghai, travelling at approximately 200km/h, speeding home towards Beijing in time for classes tomorrow. I've had a wonderful weekend in Shanghai with Will, which started with a Friday evening spent on this same service. The journey took about 5 hours but was incredibly comfortable, much like being on an aeroplane.

On Saturday we got up and went in search of breakfast. After strolling next to the Bund for a while, we headed into the more urban areas of the city and stumbled across a busy dumpling shop calls Yang's Dumplings. Yang's speciality is 'soup filled dumplings' which were a delicious but messy start to the day. We decided to try and find Shanghai Old Town and slowly but surely, the sky scrapers gave way to much smaller, traditional buildings, the streets became narrower and completely by accident we found ourself bang in the middle of a busy little maze of shops and food stalls. The atmosphere was completely different to the part of Shanghai we had just come from, there was so much noise, so many smells and so much going on it was impossible to know where to look.

We wandered around the streets and found our way to a central area which was absolutely stunning. The older buildings surrounded a lake filled with fish which had a tea house in the middle of it. But in the distance, towering over the rooftops of these buildings, we could see the modern skyscrapers of The Bund. What with the blue skies it was quite a backdrop.

Shanghai Old Town

By chance we found our way to the entrance to Yu Gardens, an old and tranquil walled garden filled with small buildings, lakes and rockeries. We strolled along the winding paths for a while before returning to the busy streets and went then in search of some lunch. That night I got to see The Bund in all its glory. The bright lights lit up the sky above it and the river below it and the view was mesmerising. The walkway was a hive of activity and so for dinner we headed away from the crowds to a place called Shanghai Grandmother Restaurant... which sounds interesting but Grandmother served us up some incredible traditional Chinese dishes! We were about to head back to the hotel when we suddenly heard some Jazz coming from a building a little way down the street. It was a 'why not?!' moment and we walked into into a Jazz and Blues night which was buzzing, so naturally, we had a few drinks to soak up the atmosphere.

The Bund at night

Today we have had a less busy day, but still managed to see an awful lot! We walked back along The Bund this morning on our way to brunch. It is beautiful during the day too! This afternoon we took the Sightseeing Tunnel under the river to actually look around the Finance District. The tunnel was a weird psychedelic-light-show-underground-cable-car-thing that crossed the river in about 5 minutes. Both of us were a bit confused by the whole experience but the confusion was forgotten immediately by the Finance District which is just incredible. First and foremost, the sheer size of it is breathtaking. It is also completely pristine and you can walk on a pedestrian roundabout above the roads which is a great way to see the different skyscrapers from every angle.

Yu Gardens

We decided also to pop to People's Park. When we got there it was just chaos. There were so many people and we had no idea what was going on. As we pushed into the crowds, it became clear to Will that we had walked right into a marriage market... So it turns out that parents advertise their offspring who are still single in their late 20s to try and find a compatible spouse. They do it in secret and then the two singletons will "coincidentally" meet at some point and, in theory, will be none the wiser about their parents' meddling. It was quite an event to find ourselves in the middle of!

The Bund by day

The weekend has been amazing, it was really cool to just be wandering around the city and to keep finding ourselves in the middle of such varied and vibrant goings on. For the time being it's back to Beijing, but Shanghai, I'll see you soon!

Posted by amysblog 16:42 Archived in China Tagged skylines travel city china shanghai tefl

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