Work had a sudden change in direction for me this month, which meant I will be focused on efforts to establish a new development centre in Shanghai for a couple of months. Good part was that it included a trip to Shanghai, possibly multiple trips there in the near future. Little did I know that I was up for my first one within weeks of starting the new role! For this first one, it was to be a 1 week trip from 9th-15th June, and wifey and baby wasn’t going to miss out! So we all went!
Having said that, I was at work slaving away most of the week though, so there wasn’t much exploring done around Shanghai at all. We really only had the one full day on Saturday (14th) and half of Sunday, before we headed back. So let me summarise some of what we thought were highlights below.
First, the arrival at Pudong airport was welcomed by long lines through the customs, which I expected. When we finally got out, we felt a little ‘privileged’ when we were picked up by a BMW 5-series. Thought that was a bit over the top! It was organised through work, and I had no idea it was going to be a BMW!
It was then a rather smooth 40 minutes ride to the Langham hotel, which I thought was a little too ‘girly’ to my taste. There’s just too much pink to my taste.
Having said that, Ethan loved it… why wouldn’t you when nice hotel staff lets you play with toys on the floor like this!
One part about the hotel room that I did remember was the huge bathroom that could easily fit all 3 of us, complete with 2 separate washing basins, and a Japanese style automatic toilet. This must be the only hotel that I had ever been where the size of the bathroom is just about as big as the bedroom itself!
Nevertheless, it was a very nice hotel at Xintiandi (新天地) which is probably the newer area around Shanghai. It was a short walk for me to work from the hotel and what I did recall were the range of luxury car brands around there including Lamborghini, McLaren, Aston Martin etc etc. It’s one way to make me feel like I’m the poorest guy in town, given I don’t own or can’t ever imagine owning any one of those!
As I was at work most of the time, wifey and baby Ethan basically spent most of the week exploring the area themselves. At least my impression of it was that they spent plenty of time sleeping in, having LONG breakfasts and spent most of the day either window shopping or playing at some kids playground.
On the evenings we did manage to squeeze some typical Shanghai highlights like the Bund (外滩). Not that we did or walked much. The view of across the Huangpu (黄埔) river was very nice though..
Another evening, we went to Oriental Pearl TV Tower (东方明珠电视塔) which is just across the Bund. Most memorable part was probably the transparent glass floor that gave us more than just a few shivers walking on it..
We did have buffet dinner on the revolving restaurant as well. Wifey’s comment was that it was not as romantic as she pictured it to be, because of the huge tourist crowd and lines. I probably agree with that. It’s one fact of travel to China that every you go, there will be huge crowds and lines!
There was at least one other evening where daddy did get to explore some old shopping centres away from the famous touristy areas..
And of course, the famous Nanjing Road shopping street..
When Saturday finally came, we did what we thought Ethan would like… the aquarium!
In the afternoon, we made it to Yuyuan (豫园), where we at least got to see something that resembled old traditional China. Yes it was a bit touristy and crowded, but wifey and Ethan had fun 🙂
Cuisine wise, there were some memorable dishes including this dish we had at Shanghai Min restaurt (小南国), called flavored Wantons in Yellow Croaker Soup ( 浓汤黄鱼野荠菜馄饨 )
And this braised pork dish(外婆红烧肉) is probably what Shanghai is most famous for. Yes, it looks a bit fatty.. but we’re on holidays!
Oh.. and how can I forget this bottle of whisky (石库门) which is apparently a local favourite. I had it with a bunch of persistent work mates who demanded that I drank with them. I didn’t regret it.. it was good indeed!
It wasn’t the first time I’ve been to Shanghai, although it was 2010 when I was last here (almost 6 years ago) with my parents for a much longer holiday around China. Only memory of it was that Shanghai Expo was on at the time! It’s good to go back to some of the same places this trip, although I got to admit my memory sucks, as I barely remember half the places I went to! Looking at some old photos of my trip to Shanghai, I can’t help but feel how time flies!
Anyway, back to 2016. We really didn’t venture very far out of Shanghai city centre itself at all this trip. I am expecting to be back here a few more times though, so it was probably good to ‘take it easy’ this time round. Ethan has improved a lot on longer flights, although admittedly it involved quite a lot of iPad and well… ice cream?
Will be back in Shanghai soon!