Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Shanghai Delight

4 days after returning from Brisbane, I boarded the plane again. This time the destination is Shanghai.

The (extremely) early flight at 8:20am means that I had to arrive at the airport as early as 6:20am. I woke up at 5:20 to make sure I wouldn't miss the first Airport Express departing from the Hong Kong station. Met Ellen at the airport and she was 20 minutes late. She was apparently still in her dreamland when she suggested to meet for breakfast without even checking us in! After my usual routine of having the breakfast at Café de Coral at the airport and visiting WH Smith, we boarded the plane with the *Final Call* sign flashing. So no duty free shopping this time.

The Hotel - JC Mandarin

Made a fool out of myself when I asked the cab driver to take us to "Gaan Chuang Wen Hua" (錦滄文華) Hotel. The driver clearly didn't understand me. It was then debated between us (Me and Ellen, not the driver) as to whether "錦 " should be pronounced as "Gaan" or "Jin". It turned out that I was wrong - it should pronounce as "Jin". Ellen got her revenge over me after her similar experience in Taiwan.

The hotel is situated at the central business district of Shanghai with Plaza 66 opposite to it. The Shanghai office of my firm (as well as several big names) are all packed in Plaza 66, a state of the art building which have a large shopping mall selling expensive stuff downstairs. McDonalds and Haagen Daaz are nearby.

The hotel room is neatly decorated with a king sized bed and the longest pillow I have ever laid my head on. Located on the 19th floor, it has a nice view from the room at night when the lights on the streets are on.

Eat Eat Eat

Without the desire to go sightseeing or visiting museums, 80% of our trip was planned around eating. There are so many good restaurants around but our capacity of our stomachs are limited, but we did try our best to put in as much food as our stomachs allowed. Adopting the economic theory I learnt from my F6 class, I only stopped eating until the marginal utility of my having another bite has dropped to zero.

Below are a list of restaurants we visited during our 4 days trip:

  1. 港式茶餐廳
  2. 永和大王
  3. 金錨
  4. 南翔饅頭店
  5. 真鍋咖啡店
  6. 新吉士
  7. 永和大王
  8. McDonalds
  9. 黃浦會
  10. [a coffee shop]
  11. [日式燒烤]
  12. 楊家廚房
  13. 永和大王 (again!)
  14. Hyatt Hotel Coffee Shop
  15. 小金陵
  16. Coffee Shop at Airport

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You may note that "永和大王 " appeared several times on the list. That was by far my most favourite place to eat in Shanghai. I have experienced the best beef noodles in my life there - the soup was made of chillies and carrot, so it tastes spicy and sweet at the same time. Then the hot soya milk with the "油炸鬼" is the best food partnership. You can spend as little as RMB18 to enjoy the above combo.

"新吉士" and "楊家廚房" serve good Shanghainese dishes. According to a travel guidebook, the latter restaurant is a must-visit place for my favourite idol - Headmaster Tam. "黃浦會" is another nicely decorated restaurant at the "外灘" facing the Oriental Pearl Tower at Pudong.

The Charm

Shanghai is a beautiful city, especially when the lights are on at night. The yellowish lights on the European style buildings at the "外灘" must rank as one of the beautiful sights in China and the Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Building on the other side of the harbour added to the modern uniqueness of the city.

I was surprised by the number of skyscrapers in Shanghai. Although I am not an expert in building design (and never will be), I do find the numerous 60-storey upwards buildings scattered around the city have their own uniqueness. I think it is only a matter of time before it breaks into the top 5 most beautiful skylines in the world (which is now occupied by Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Chicago and Singapore).
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Shopping?

Despite my best efforts to get a pair of new sportshoes, I failed. The prices of Adidas, Nike etc are much more expensive in Shanghai than in Hong Kong. Apart from the costs of travelling and food is slightly cheaper than Hong Kong, the money you spend on other items (especially luxurious merchandise) is as much in Shanghai as you spend in Hong Kong. So neither place is a shopping paradise. Anymore.

It turned out that the only stuff I bought is a pack of "Duck Liver" for my secretary and a mini Er-hu "二胡" for my mother.

Lastly…

We are already planning which hotel we are going to stay in for our next visit. Grand Hyatt at the Jin Mao Building is a clear favourite here.

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