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上海游記 Nov. 28 – Dec. 16, 2009 Day 4, Shanghai December 29, 2009

Posted by hslu in China, Food, Restaurants, Shanghai, Travel.
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上海游記 Nov. 28 – Dec. 16, 2009

Day 4, Shanghai, Monday, November 30, 2009

It was another cloudy day in Shanghai when we got super early to exercise. After another breakfast buffet, we headed out to another day of adventure. By this time, the sun was out and the sky got a little clear. The famous Oriental Pearl Tower 东方明珠 “dong1 fang1 ming2 zhu1” gradually showed up behind our hotel. The air was still kind thick and felt like an invisible cloak following us around. Thanks to the cold weather, the smog was a little easier to tolerate.

淮海路 “huai2 hai3 lu4” is famous for its name-banded stores, department stores, boutique shops, beautiful shopping malls, restaurants and pretty girls dressed in the latest designer clothes. We took our time enjoying the street scene strolling in and out of shops along 淮海中路; the busiest stretch of the 6 KM long street. We shopped at uniglo, 太平洋百货 (Pacific Department Store,) a couple of smaller department stores and a few others. As sky got darker, the trees along the street were dressed up with multi-colored Christmas lights to as far as eye could see. However, I wasn’t in any X’mas spirit probably because we were traveling. Our lunch was quick and easy at a café.  We had a steak/rice combo, rice with meat sauce and a wonton noodle soup; nothing to rave about.

When evening approached, more people showed up to shop, eat or simply 逛逛 like us. Near by, a subway station was busy with people rushed in and out of the building trying to go home. We sneaked into The McDonald’s to get warm and ordered something drink to kill time. The place was filled with people young and old. The small McDonald’s was doing a great business with four or five cash registers each with a line of five or six deep. Their prices were a bit higher than what we paid in the U.S. Of course, with the medium income of a Chinese citizen much lower, the price they paid was considerably higher based on purchasing power parity. Well, Shanghai was filled with rich people who could afford this kind of spending many times over and the name-brand designer cloth on many young girls in this area certainly made that statement very clear to me. I also saw one of my favorite restaurants here: 糖朝 “tang2 chao2, ” a Hong Kong-based restaurant famous for their sweet dishes. We like it so much that we had two meals there last time when we were in Hong Kong.

Another place we went to was 新天地 “xin1 tian1 di4,” an up-scale tourist area frequented by foreign tourists and local hot shots with new-found riches. It was only a few blocks away from太平洋百货. 新天地 literally means New heaven and Earth. It occupied an area of a few blocks with restored 石库门 “shi2 ku4 men2” or stone gate; referring to the stone gate in front of the multi-family building. It was a popular style of housing in Shanghai.

石库门

The place was filled with cafés, restaurants, book store, a court yard with several kiosks and a theater. Many restaurants had outside sittings equipped with propane heaters to keep their customers warm. Since it was a Monday, the outside sitting areas were quite empty and most people congregated inside the restaurants. A few of them had very loud music blasting from big speakers by the entrance of the restaurant.

As we strolling up and down the court yard, I was attracted by a beautiful female voice coming from the restaurant near the center of the court yard. The female voice was soft and sweet but I couldn’t see her face. She was singing Chinese songs from the 60’s and 70’s which were made popular in Taiwan by entertainment program like 群星會 “qun2 xing1 hui4” and signers like 鄧麗君 “deng4 li4 jun1.” It certainly made me stop to enjoy her voice and quietly sang with her. Unfortunately she only performed on Monday otherwise I would came back to listen to her some other day.

About the time we got ready to have dinner, we saw a Shanghainese woman in her early 30’s practicing her 臺詞 “tai2 ci2” (speech to be given on a stage) in English for a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Her English was very good and she attracted a small crowd including us. From her prepared speech, I speculated that a 副黨書記 “fu4 dang3 shu1 ji4” (vice Party Secretary) of Shanghai would be the guest of honor and he would be the one who threw the switch and officially ushered in Christmas holiday to Xintiandi. Of course, many 董事長 “dong3 shi4 zhang3” or CEO and 經理”jing1 li3” or manager would be on the stage too. I guessed the owner of Xintiandi must be a person of importance otherwise he wouldn’t be able to have a 副黨書記attending the ceremony. Because she was practicing her speech in English, there must be foreign dignitaries on the guest of honor list. I saw power mixing with wealth and without powerful connections; wealth could be hard to come by in Shanghai or anywhere in China for that matter. Well, what did I know? I was on vacation, wasn’t I?

We had our dinner at Fountain Bistro and Wine Bar: a restaurant with fusion-style food combining French and Mediterranean cuisine. The place was warm, loud and busy. Bao and I each ordered a cocktail, a clam chowder soup in a bread cup and shared a shrimp appetizer with some greens. Maria and I shared a paella and Xiaobao ordered a fish and chips. The soup was good: rich, creamy and hot. The shrimp was crispy on the outside and the meat was fresh. Paella and fish and chips were just okay. It was not cheap even by American standard.

After dinner, we were going to watch a movie at Xintiandi but decided to go back to the hotel because we needed to check out of the hotel early tomorrow morning. Our schedule called for us going to上海南站 “shang4 hai3 nan2 zhan4” or South train station of Shanghai and we would take a fast train to Hangzhou杭州, one of the most beautiful place in China.

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