Now as you know, I recently recounted my first trip to China back in 2009 (for the post that started it all, see here). You might also know that I took a second trip in 2011, after having graduated high school and just about ready to leave college. That said, starting with this post I’ll be recounting my time in China the second time around, this time visiting and exploring more the nature side of the country than the last.
Today however, we begin with the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai (上海). With over 24 million people living there, it’s the most populous city in the world, home to a blend of history and modernity, as well as local and international ventures all along its massive harbor (“海” means sea or port in Chinese, so appropriately named!).
Unfortunately, many of the photos that I’ve taken while in Shanghai have since been lost. There are a couple that I’ve saved and will show to you in this post- however, also expect some of the photos to be from the Internet (credited, of course) so you can get an idea of the size and beauty of what I’ll be describing to you.
Anyway, let’s begin!
After a *harrowing* journey across the Pacific Ocean (“harrowing” as in long and uncomfortable; I hate long airplane rides), my family and I finally arrived in Shanghai. We met our tour guide who would be taken us around China for next week or so. We went to our hotel, freshened up, and turned in for the night, as it was already late when we landed in the city. And considering that I had an awful flight experience, I needed to feel land again. A nice rest on a nice, fluffy bed in a nice hotel room was all that I wanted at that point, and I was glad to have gotten it upon arrival.
We woke up early the following morning. I was feeling better and after breakfast at the hotel, we took a short stroll along Nanjing Road, considered one of the world’s busiest shopping streets and the main one in Shanghai. It’s also the longest one worldwide, at 5.5 kilometers. After a long rest the night before, it was nice to get out and move about. We people-watched as the locals went about their morning exercises and errands along the busy, one-way pedestrian street. Lots of local and international stores sandwiched the road, and we saw locals and tourists alike go into these shops for latest sales. This is what internationalism is all about!
Next, our tour guide took to the Nine-Turn Bridge, a commercial square that dates all the way back to the Ming Dynasty. What makes it distinctive is that it’s both a historically-significant site (with its large, traditional architecture) and also a huge shopping hub for tourists to shop and eat in. And of course, there’s the famous Nine-Turn Bridge (also commonly called the “Zigzag Bridge” due to its winding structure), perched on top of a lotus pond and is constantly crowded with tourists. It’s a sight to behold!
The tour guide gave us some time to explore on our own, and so we walked along the *uber-crowded* bridge while also popped into a couple of souvenir shops that sold traditional items like snuff bottles, fans, even chopsticks. My family and I even bought a few pairs of the elegantly-carved chopsticks at one of the shops.
We also saw restaurant workers make the famous Nanxiang soup dumplings at the eponymous dining place. Unfortunately, we didn’t try them (line was too long), but the dishes looked really good!
We had lunch in the district, and shortly left Shanghai for our next destination on our trip, Hangzhou, which I’ll be writing about later in another post. However, we did return to Shanghai at the very end of our trip, spending our last night there before we finished the tour.
When we returned to Shanghai after touring other places in China, we first were taken to a jade shop, which sold the famous green item as necklaces, bracelets, rings, and other jewelry. Now, I thought that they looked pretty, but I wasn’t all for buying them, since they were expensive. However, my parents spent easily one to two hours considering and bargaining (erm, haggling) with the store workers for a cheaper price (in fact, bargaining can be done in China). I wasn’t feeling too well that day, and so waiting for my parents to finally purchase their jade jewelry was a very unpleasant experience. I’m aware that in Chinese tradition, jade supposedly helps with body circulation and whatnot, but seriously, two hours…I would say that that was my least favorite part of the trip.
In any case, we headed out after they *finally* bought the jade souvenirs, had dinner, and ended our stay in China with an evening boat ride along the river. Shanghai is certainly beautiful at night, with all of the lights lit up along the port; I liken it to New York’s skyline along the Hudson River (which I visited back in 2007; maybe I’ll write about that in another post!), and the views made up for my not-so-good body conditions that day.
…and that concludes my visit to Shanghai! Of course, I have more posts on places that I visited in China back in 2011 later, but overall, I found Shanghai a pleasure despite the brief stay(s). Compared to Beijing, I would say that Shanghai has more of a nightlife/trendy shopping vibe to it while the Chinese capital is more catered to business and historical monuments. Regardless, I am glad to have visited two of China’s biggest cities so far, and I hope to return there someday.
More to come soon! Next up: Hangzhou, China!
— The Finicky Cynic
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