Thank you for your feedback about my Shanghai stories. I hope you’re not sick of them yet. I’m sure you’re sick of my chunky jacket. Told you from the start, I wore this for 4 days! I brought some other more fashiony jackets, but I didn’t want to risk getting cold.
It’s interesting that some of you have said you’ve been to Shanghai but didn’t see it the way I did. I really don’t know what to say about that except that each of us has her own way of experiencing things. We chose Shanghai because we wanted an urban experience. I wanted to learn about another city. I studied urban planning in university and this probably the reason why I see things the way I do. We actually spent an afternoon at the Shanghai Urban Plannning Museum – where I made sense of it all. Obviously I’ll be posting about that too later. Yes I’m a nerd.
I’m glad we didn’t do anything too touristy. That would have killed our mojo. We have become so jaded because of how we’ve experienced some tours (like in Bali, our guide was obviously on commission) that my husband and I prefer to go to a city and explore it ourselves. Our travel agent Claudette Vitug of CV Travel gave us a complimentary private tour package if we wanted it. So we spent half a day going to must-sees. It was pleasant and our tour guide wasn’t pushy. We just did a quick round of the Oriental Pearl Tower (we didn’t go up), skipped The Bund because it was the location of our hotel, went to a silk making factory where they sold us silk duvets and we bought (because it looked interesting), and did a quick walk through YuYuan Gardens. The rest of the time, we explored the city on foot and by taxi.
This is Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s very busy pedestrian shopping street. All the major chain stores are here – Uniqlo, GAP, Apple. We weren’t really here to shop so we just walked through. Luxury brands are taxed at a high rate in Shanghai, so take note of that. The only place I bought stuff were at Uniqlo, which will soon open in Manila anyway.
Part of our halfday tour was a quick walk through YuYuan Gardens. Hello globalization, Starbucks. There are hundreds of shopping stalls here. I had to buy a compact flash drive for my camera. My tour guide said, “Are you Filipino? Because you do not shop like you’re from the Philippines. You have to haggle. At least half price.” I hate haggling.
I had this giant dumpling xiao long bao that came with a straw. The dumpling part was tough but the broth inside (sipped with a straw) was to die for! Temperature was probably 1° C. The dumpling soup gave me so much comfort.
Our guide took us on a tea tasting experience at one of the shophouses. My husband, being the jaded journalist, was ready to resist anything tourist-trappy. He vowed not to buy anything. But we admit, we fell for this tea ritual. LOL. We bought these tea flower bombs… and the glass teapot and double lined tea cups.
On our last night, I was getting lazy and sick of the cold. We almost stayed in and ordered room service. But our friend recommended we have dinner at Jean Georges in one of the Bund buildings. So we walked there.
Jean Georges was in this huge building on the right, No. 3 The Bund. The building across the street housed many fancy restaurants as well.
I’m so glad we chose Jean Georges. Even though we couldn’t get a table in the dining room (we were just at the bistro part), we had a good feel of the place. And we ate and drank real well. This was definitely a highlight.