22 February 2009

Day 05 Shanghai

This is the day I got sick. I felt exhausted, had sinus pressure, and dealt with a nose that would not stop running. I'm not sure if the change in climate and pollution levels did it or if I was just run down from traveling. Still, we spent most of the day walking around the city, finally making it to the French Concession in the daylight. First though, we walked along the building-side of the Bund so Turner could stick his head in the extravagant banks, most of which had surly guards and "No Pictures" signs, if they let you in at all. Turner likes to break the rules though.

During our perambulations, I started to get a chill, so we ducked into the nearest warm, quiet place we saw. Turns out it was a Dunkin' Donuts! I exaggerate. Turner saw the sign from the street and said he hadn't had a doughnut in ages, so we had to stop. Everything tasted like we were sitting in a doughnut shop in the US. Warm coffee can do wonders.

Not long after our late breakfast stop, it was lunch time. We had yet to eat dim sum, the Cantonese version of tapas, or small plates. Because we were in a retail/business district, most of the restaurants were fairly fancy, linen tablecloths and tuxedoed servers. But because it was lunch, prices weren't too high. We ordered a few dishes to give this cuisine a try: cucumbers in garlic sauce, chicken spring rolls, egg and onion pancakes, Shanghai pork dumplings, and sweet Shanghai dumplings (what you see in the foreground below).

These sweet treats look harmless until you try to pick one up with your chopsticks and realize that it is squishy. The outside is made from glutinous rice flour and coated in peanuts. The inside oozes a black substance that I think is made from either black sesame seeds or beans. As harmless as the ingredients are, it was the texture that I couldn't get past, only managing to eat half of one. Nothing we had for lunch was exceptional, somewhat of a let down.

All was salvaged with dinner though. Since I was sick and we were both tired from a day walking around, we decided to order pizza and have it delivered. We chose a place called New York Style Pizza, for obvious reasons, and ordering was surprisingly easy. They delivered it right to our hotel room for about the same price you would pay in the US. And let me tell you, this pizza would pass muster in Buffalo any day. I couldn't believe how authentic it tasted, right down to the pepperoni. What a great way to end our culinary adventures in Shanghai!

After some coffee and leftover pizza the next morning, we made our way by taxi and subway to the Maglev station in the outskirts of the city to take us to the airport. Turner was thrilled.

This was my first time on any high-speed train, let alone one that levitates on magnets. As we left the station, the train continued to pick up speed for about 3.5 minutes, topping out at 431 kilometers per hour and taking the rest of the trip to slow down. I am not kidding. It was like riding a 7-minute-long roller-coaster without the hills, though the train did make some steeply banked turns. Even I found the train ride exciting. Thus ended our vacation in Shanghai. It was a great experience, but I was happy to see our little city of Qingdao from the plane windows.

Bye-bye Shanghai; Ni hao Qingdao!

No comments:

Post a Comment