December 13, 2008

Around Shanghai with Diana and Esti

Having people visit you in Shanghai is definitely fun. I love playing tour guide!! It's a fun chance to see the familiar sights of the city all over again. This time around it's my friends-slash-extremely-distant-relatives Diana and her sister Esti. They arrived in Shanghai on Thursday afternoon after four days in Beijing, where they had a really good time. Sophia and I met up with them on Thursday evening and we walked on Nanjing Dong Lu, ate dinner at Charme, and then headed out to The Bund for some nighttime tomfoolery.

Lujiazui Ladies

Diana, Myself, Esti

Friday night I took Diana and Esti to dinner at Guyi , a fantastic Hunan restaurant in the French Concession. We ate and talked for oh, I don't know, two hours? It was great. Then Sophia came and met us in front of the restaurant. We had initially planned to go out to maybe the Shelter, but we weren't feeling up to it so we decided to head to Taikang Lu instead because Sophia's friend owns a bar/cafe there. We walked around Huaihai for about half an hour trying to find a cab, but eventually we found one and made it there. At around midnight, we headed out of Caesura and to our respective abodes.

Saturday I woke up ass-early (yes that's proper English) and met Diana and Esti at the World Financial Center, currently the tallest building in mainland China. We paid the ticket fee and, after some initial confusion on just where the hell the entrance to the observatory was, took the elevator up to the 100th floor, located in the top of the rectangular hole in the building. It is the world's highest observation deck. The views were pretty spectacular and people kept wanting to take pictures of me the whole way, because I was wearing my bear hat. (Don't ask -- I'm sure I'll have pictures sooner or later.) I purposefully didn't bring my camera because I thought the views would be similar to those from the Jin Mao -- and I was right, with the exception that you can see the Jin Mao from the WFC, which was a pretty neat experience. Seeing the top of the Jin Mao really underscores how lovely and unique that building is (which in turn underscores how bland the WFC is).

After that I took them to eat lunch at Dong Bei Ren, an amazing restaurant. We had jiaozi (the restaurant's specialty), fried bread, stir-fry mushrooms and lettuce, cumin-spiced lamb mixed with cilantro, and this amazing dish that consists of carmelized, sugar-coated apples. Mmmmm. Then we went to Garden Books where I bought a Shanghai-related coffee table book for when I go back home. It's a history of the city complete with tons of pictures, including old photos and building schematics. Very cool, and strangely enough, I paid less for it than it costs on Amazon!

Then we headed over to the Huangpu district (near Yu Yuan) for some shopping. Diana and Esti bought some stuff for themselves and gifts for people back home. We got lost wandering down sidestreets and saw some pretty interesting stuff, including animal brains for sale. Yuck. Now I bet you are really glad I didn't have my camera handy! A homeless guy helped us find our way around, so I gave him 10 RMB.

That area really is nice and pleasant. I should have visited it more during my time here. Even haggling with the shopkeepers seemed more like a game than a chore, this time. I bought a couple things, including a really long (like 12-foot) scroll with painted Chinese characters and drawings.

More pictures to come, hopefully, as Diana and Esti return to the states and give me theirs!

No comments: