Saturday, August 28, 2010

Shanghai: China Part II

Ok, so my incredibly gorgeous and beautiful wife has really taken control of this blog, not by choice, but because she has a lazy husband who never helps her with it. She's so good to me. So, I said, "Katy, please let me write this time." and suprise, suprise she begrudgingly said "ok" so you're stuck with my commentary...mwooo-ha ha ha ha ha. (That was supposed to sound evil)

...I don't know why though.

We arrived in Shanghai at around midmorning and we had a plan. The goal was to take our belonging to the hotel and then go straight to the tailors. Where I would be fitted for a suit and Katy could be fitted for a coat.

We got everything to the hotel with no problem and then discovered that the tailor was literally about 100 yards away. That was convenient!

As soon as we walked into the building, which houses about a million little tailor shops we were inundated with salesmen, who are very persuasive and good at what they do.

we knew exactly where we wanted to go since Katy's family had been there last year. We chose our styles and fabrics and then the haggling began. After some debate, I feel fairly confident that we got a good deal.

We ended up getting my suit, katy's cashmere coat and a dress (for Katy) all handmade and tailored to our specific muscular physics for a little under $200 U.S.

That afternoon we went on a bike tour. Our bike tour in Beijing was great and this one didn't disappoint either. The Shanghai bike tour was a night one. Shanghai is a beautiful city with many different cultural influences. Picture, if you can, an Asian city with a European flare. It was awesome and very safe (see the helmets Debbie?)

Beijing is an older and more traditional city and Shanghai seem much more modern and new. There's just a very comfortable feel in Shanghai. We both felt like it was very western in a lot of ways.

Here's Katy taking some pictures at large outdoor walking mall that we got to walk around in the midst of our bike tour.

This area of Shanghai is called The Bund. On the other side of a large river we could see the downtown Shanghai skyline. It was very beautiful and like most places in China also very crowded. Once again we had our picture taken several times by Chinese people and other tourists.

I can't really blame them though, I do have a pretty hot wife.

As you can see the view was pretty incredible. The only obstruction was the thick layer of smog that seemed almost tangible at times.

Shanghai nights are nearly as bright as the days. Everywhere you look there are colorful neon lights. Even the overpasses have been transformed into urban art.

I liked it a lot, but I still couldn't help but think this is what a bug must see as it flies closer and closer to one of those electricfied bug zapping racket thingys.

We knew we wanted to go to China sometime while we're living in Korea, but the next few pictures are why we chose to go when we did.

This year, Shanghai is hosting the World Expo., which was AWESOME!

There are over 190 different countries represented at the expo and each one has an interesting way of displaying their national culture.

The Chile pavilion was our absolute favorite. It had a very modern, industrial, urban look to it.

We walked at the expo for hours, so we were so excited to sit and chill out while we listened to a jazz combo in the Chilean pavilion.

The Netherlands Pavilion was probably the most bizarre one. It was built to look like a roller coaster, but there was a lot to see and it was pretty interesting.

We were pretty excited to go to the Mexico Pavilion, hoping to get a taste of some delicious Mexican food, but the food there was expensive!
What's the deal with that?
Mexican food is supposed to be cheap that's part of the appeal.
The outside of this pavilion was supposed to look like a giant kite forest.

You could stand behind these giant heads and view mexico through the eyes of the character. I'm the punk on the right...well I'm not a punk, but...

Ok, so we've been away from "the land of the FREE," "the home of the BRAVE," "The greatest land of freedom that's ever lived and ever will live" for quit some time,
(go back and say that again with a strong southern accent, man that feels good, huh?) naturally we were pretty pumped to go to the U.S.A. Pavilion.
Here's Katy expressing her excitment for the world to see and she did make quit the spectacle.
She had no problem letting every tourist know that this pavilion was the place to go!

Living in the land of Kimchi, we don't get many chances to enjoy real American food, so when we saw the the America Pavilion had a restaurant called the "American Diner," we could not have been happier.
I am very sorry to say though that we were quit disapointed. My corn dog was not very good and the fries were quit soggy, but we did get to eat in a "diner"...kind of.

There were a few places that had incredible food and drink though, like the Cuba Pavilion, which had the best mojitos I have ever tasted. Most countries Pavilions had a walking tour of life in the country. Cuba's pavilion was only a bar. I don't know what that says about Cuba, but it was a nice place to take a break and relax.
Peru also had some pretty delicious food.

In order to get into the pavilions we had to wait in line for sometimes up to about 45 minutes (not bad), but we quickly learned that if you want to hold your place in line in China, you've got to be aggressive. If we left a couple of inches between us or on either side people would shove their way past us. We just learned to look tough and be battle ready at all times.

Visitors were encouraged by signs like these to be curteous and NO NOISING!!!

Denmark had a pretty cool concept for their pavilion. I guess a huge percentage of the population ride bikes on a regular basis, so we could walk through their pavilion or ride a bike. We chose to the walking path (shorter line), but the bikes looked pretty cool too.

In the middle of the Denmark Pavilion was a small pool, where they had their mermaid statue and a national girls choir was singing. A lot of people gathered to watch the performance.

Korea is a very modest society. When they go to the beach they all wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. They almost always dress nicely for any occassion and you would never see this.
China, was very very different. Most of the babies were completly naked, or if they did wear pants they would be more like chaps. No crotch, no back. Cab drivers would sometimes drive shirtless, bicyclists were often shirtless. We even saw a couple of 4 or 5 year old kid pooping in the middle of the sidewalk.
Tip: If you ever go to China, don't go splashing through puddles...probably not rain water.

This was probably our favorite area of the city. It was in the French Concession district. There were some very small alley ways that have been turned into little boutique shops and restaurants. There's also a very large western population in this area so many people spoke English very well. I think we liked it because it felt a little bit like home.

This steakhouse served some of the best hamburgers we have ever had, anywhere. Next time you wake up and find yourself in Shanghai, go to jianguo road and find this restaurant. You will not be disappointed.

Look at that!!! Finally, no Korean size portions.

Shanghai really is a very beautiful city and I think we both left feeling like we wished we had spent more time there.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a lot of fun! I'm surprised your lines at the Expo were only 45 minutes, though. When I was there, some lines took around 2 hours. You got lucky :D