Friday, August 10, 2007

Memoirs of a tourist in Shanghai

(I’ve been traveling around on holiday, which is the main reason for my brief disappearance from this website. I will try to slowly catch up on my adventures)

I first visited Shanghai in the year 2000 and sadly I didn’t remember much. I remembered being inside a tour bus and stopping for a couple of minutes at every photo opportunity or market. I remembered the city’s skyline and fancy hotels and some of the delicious (and abundant) Chinese food.

During this visit I saw so much more. For starters we were on our own so we walked everywhere. We rode the maglev, the subway and took cabs. The first impression I got was: this city is huge… and trendy. It looks much more modern, there are lots of parks, people are dressed nicer, there a lots of malls (there are malls dedicated to technology alone) and street venues, I mean NEW YORK CITY BEWARE. And the food, the food is so cheap! My rant isn’t making much sense but that is only because I am really excited to tell all. There weren’t many English speakers in Shanghai, the hotel clerks barely got by and we pointed at places on a map in order for the cab to take us there. By the way cabs are very cheap as long as you are not stuck in traffic, they can take you many places for $2-3.

Among the things that we visited that are a MUST-SEE are: the Shanghai Art Museum, here you can spend the entire morning looking at calligraphy, bronze, jade and porcelain sculptures, furniture, dresses and all kinds of Chinese art. There is also the Shanghai Institute of Urban Planning (this one is truly mind blowing) You’ll learn a lot about how much and how fast the city has grown. At the institute there is a small scale model of the whole city and you can take a virtual tour of it in a 360 degree video room.

This time of year the sky is cloudy and it is extremely humid (110% humidity on the day we arrived) the temperature is hot and you sweat a lot, which is why I bought a small cheap Chinese fan to try to stay fresh.

When there I recommend eating Dim Sum, these are delicious little buns or dumplings and you can try many kinds of fillings in one sitting. Tsing Tao beer was rather tasty too, it is a lager with a very light, crisp, and refreshing taste. I tried the bubble tea in a couple of places but it was crappy, not slushy at all (EVO’s is a thousand times better).

Only one criticism about Shanghai, and that is web censorship. You cannot access wikipedia, which for me is a tragedy, what kind of life is that? and there is some funky-looking censored version of facebook too :-(

(I accidentally lost many of the pictures we took in Shanghai, thus the lack of graphic evidence in this post)


Steve Hanna said...

I am jealous. The closest connection I have to Shanghai is Yisong, and he loves to play the extreme between Twinkie and Fob.

Parisa said...

1. Yay, I love Leo blog posts.
2. You can use Tor to avoid Chinese web censorship (or other forms you might find in stats). Ask me how, I'll show you how to set it up.
3. I want more pix of Leo.