A Travellerspoint blog

November 2011

Counting down again

Reporting from Jinqiao

It's under two weeks now, before, yet again all 4 of us board a jet plane ... we're not off on any intrepid adventures this time... just a Christmas trip home to Australia to soak up the summer sun, catch up with friends and family and celebrate my Grandma's 90th Birthday!!

Cities we're visiting this time are Melbourne, Wagga Wagga, Sydney and Canberra!! We'll, all four, be away for 3 and a bit weeks, and the kids and I for nearly six weeks!!

Posted by aboo10 02:42 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Shanghai, through fresh eyes

Reporting from Jinqiao

Milly, an old friend of mine from school came to stay for 5 days in September, and I enjoyed becoming a tourist in Shanghai again.

Our first full day out, we headed down to explore the old town and Yuyuan Gardens. So I dropped the kids at school, came home and got ready to go... straight on the bus to the Xiangyang Market near the Science and Technology station. Just in case there was anything Milly 'needed', we walked through the local fabric market and ventured in past a little bit of of the fake market. After fobbing off the shop keepers, headed for the trains.

First stop was Yuyuan Bazaar and Gardens: Looked inside one of the traditional Chinese apothecaries, with an assortment of dried insects, roots and herbal remedies. Wandered around looking at the stalls with handcrafts, souvenirs and general dongxi, and admired the old town architecture. The roofs are pretty amazing.
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We then went into the Yu Gardens roamed around the peaceful space, which because it was a weekday was not overly crowded... quite serene really. Unfortunately while we were in there, the heavens decided to open, and we were huddling under the eaves of one of the building, when we hit upon the great idea of leaving the Gardens and going and enjoying a dumpling lunch, in the famous dumpling house just outside the garden walls. We jumped the queue, just a little bit, and got a table and quick service of some absolutely delicious xiaolongbao. When we'd finished lunch, we set off for the French Concession... lucky for us, not very far, and the rains had stopped. We visited the Shikumen museum in Xintiandi, walked through Fuxing Park and along the tree lined streets of the French Concession.

IMG_0041.jpgWednesday, Helen, a friend of mine, had offered to take us in her car on a day trip out of Shanghai, and we had previously decided to go out to Zhujiajiao, a water town, on the outskirts of Shanghai, also with Helen's new neighbour, Laura, who had been in Shanghai for the grand total of 4 weeks! Zhujiajiao is a town with over 35 bridges linking the town's alleys and canals. The alleys were full of little shops selling all kinds of souvenirs and delicacies. Had a cheap as chips lunch, in a little restaurant with a balcony over the river - delicious, and felt a little like we had invaded their home!

On Thursday we went to the fantastic History of Shanghai museum in the base of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. I've lost count how many times I've been here, but it is seriously good. There are models of Shanghai, and the displays are such that you are wandering along old Shanghai Streets. As you progress through the museum it also becomes more recent. The views you see are amazing, and it was exciting to see that the Water Town they'd modelled, was actually Zhujiajiao. From there, we jumped on a ferry to cross the Huangpu and deliver us to the Bund, where we were going to my old favourite - Lost Heaven - for lunch. Lost Heaven has the most amazing food from Yunnan, in western China up near the Tibet and Myanmar borders. It is a very tribal region where people still wear a lot of traditional dress. There is also a photo gallery in the foyer of the restaurant which shows the beauty of the region. After lunch we explored the Bund, visiting a number of the stunning old banks, and enjoyed walking along the edge of the river. Remarkably, after a huge lunch, we still had room for afternoon tea at the Peace Hotel. A Shanghai landmark recently restored to it's true glory. I loved the art deco teaset and interior.
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After this we jumped on a train to the Jingan district, where I showed Milly some of the 'alleys' of Shanghai. They really are very picturesque, and it captures a bit of what, when you haven't been here, you expect to see when you come to China. Washing hanging out of windows, old bikes leaning against walls, kitchens outside, and so on. It's disappearing rapidly as these areas of Shanghai are 'cleaned up'. It's the character that's disappearing.
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We headed home after this, exhausted after a huge day, but snuck in a quick foot massage before going home proper!

The next day was Milly's last. We had a manicure / pedicure and hung out in Jinqiao until lunchtime, when Milly jumped into a taxi and headed back to the airport... Thanks for coming to visit!! See you in Melbourne!!

Posted by aboo10 07:10 Archived in China Comments (0)

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