The Third Day
We didn’t have much of a plan that day. I had written down some places people had recommended to see from online and decided to check them out (time permitting).
The first stop was checking out the Shanghai Expo grounds. Of course the expo had been long closed, but the area still remains a place to visit. Walking towards the expo grounds you begin to see the crowds of people, lines and ticket scalpers. I didn’t think it would be that busy especially since the expo is now closed. The place is just chaotic! Just getting into the place looks like a headache and would take all day. Me and Keisuke weren’t exactly sure what we would find inside so we opted to take some quick shots and just get out of there.
The first stop was a bust so we headed out to the Jing’an Temple. However by the time we arrived it was closed. Bad luck, bad timing. Plus the area we happened to be around near the temple had homeless people roaming about. It was a different contrast from the other places we had visited thus far. I especially enjoyed seeing the displays of public urination. :S
The rest of the day was spent in the Xintiandi where we went to this amazing Brazilian restaurant called the Latina Grill. Xintiandi has become a symbol of the changing aspirations China has for Shanghai. The area is really cute filled with cafes, restaurants and shopping. Nice place to spend your afternoon in.
The final thing on the list of things to do on the day was to finally go up the Oriental Pearl Tower. The weather had improved only marginally, but it was now or never as this was the last full day we had in Shanghai.
Outside the Shanghai World Expo. Behind me you can see the beginning of the line, which doesn’t look so bad from this vantage point, but trust me that line was ridiculous and chaotic. I felt stressed out just being there. Plus I needed to pee really badly and it was someone’s sick joke to have the streets lined with portable toilets, but almost all were locked! It seems public washrooms are hard to come by in Shanghai… at least for me they were.
Somewhere near the Jing’an Temple. It was a shame that it was closed when we arrived. The pictures from Google made it seem like a worth-while place to visit. For some reason there were a lot of homeless hanging around here and a bunch of stray dogs, which leave less to be desired. The Jing’an area however is home to one of Shanghai’s business districts, a vibrant nightlife and home to numerous expatriates.
Exploring the less to be desired areas of Jing’an; I’m treated to a public display of urination…joyful. :/
Being silly at the fountain in Xintiandi. We had a hard time deciding on what to eat cause there were many places to choose from, but deciding on eating at Latina turned out to be the food highlights of the day. Not exactly Chinese, but who can argue with a buffet. Xintiandi is a nice place… it feels like you’re not in China, yet you are.
Eating at Latina, the Brazilian buffet restaurant. They come to your table with swords skewered with succulent meats. I was so stuffed and very content… all I wanted to do after that was sleep. :P A must go!
In one of the renovated shikumen lanes in Xintiandi. Shikumen literally means “stone gate”, it is an architectural style for residential style buildings in Shanghai, China combining Western and Chinese elements. They also make a great place to have a photo shoot. I have a couple of fun pictures against this backdrop.
Yet another shikumen alleyway where I can pose for the camera! :P
I managed to take snap this angelic-like shot of the Oriental Pearl Tower. In actuality, the tower is not so spectacular up close IMO. The interior is dated in some places, but the view is nice (if the weather is cooperating).
When making our way up the tower, a tour group of Mainland Chinese proceeded to rudely pass me for the elevator. It’s a bit aggravating, but it a cultural thing. I learned that people tend to push. And stare. And spit. And talk loudly. China does have an extremely large population. Unfortunately, due to many years of civil strife, a good proportion of people did not have a good education. Many old Chinese habits like spitting and talking loudly continue to be part of their way of life and while rude and unbecoming to a foreigner, is part and parcel of the Chinese people. As a result it’s a culture shock and may affect your like or dislike for China. However, it is good to know that the young population is getting more and more polite and considerate over the years. (Find out more about Culture shock in China.)
Enjoying the glass floor of the tower. The interior of the tower could use some renovating. There was this one section of the observation deck where the stairs were lined with a wooden banister and some potted plants which stood out-of-place.
The infamous wooden bannister on the observation deck. This place needs a facelift.
The last full day was so-so. But it goes to show you that you should plan ahead of time as to not get disappointed. Always do your research. One thing to note is if you just arrive to work or travel in China, you are very likely to be in for a MAJOR culture shock. China evokes a response even from the meekest of us; either you love China or hate it on first impression! Always remember though to keep an open mind.