Saturday, August 11, 2007

Chronicles of China Part I

My trip to Beijing and Shanghai materialized in a very impromptu manner, with the seed of the idea planted by a conversation I had with my brother over breakfast one morning. Apparently, the Life! section of our local papers were highlighting the various wonders of thte world and my brother gave an exasperated sigh.

Bro: I have only been to two out of the seven wonders of the world...
Me: ...
Bro: Great wall and Taj Mahal.
Me: I have been to none! (Indignantly)

My brother sniggered silently as I wondered why Ang Kor Wat wasn't included as part of the seven wonders.

Anyway, Sandy and I booked the tour on a Thursday and we were off on the plane by Saturday night.

Taking the red-eye flight, both of us were considerably exhausted when we touched down early dawn in Shanghai. Our tour guide took us to Yuyuan Garden, dating back to the Ming Dynasty in 1559. Frankly, my mind was fast asleep as he rattled off very interesting facts regarding the garden's landscaping.

Thankfully, he permitted us to catch some shut eye before we rose 2 hours later for lunch and proceeded to the famous Shanghai's Bund.

Our tour guide subsequently took us to shop at Nanjing Road. The shopping there was quite a bore. We ended up strolling aimlessly, finally ending up in a cafe for ice cream.

The ice cream isn't very nice. The service sucks, which is really quite rare in Shanghai, judging from the tonnes of people who are hired just to greet you at the door at each restaurant. The waitress here was the first of the many who questionned if I got my tan artifically.

It started to pour towards the evening and we headed to this touristy-looking boat for dinner. The food here is totally dubious. At one point of time, I commented to Sandy our fried pork resembles the tail of rat and she lost her appetite.

Second morning in Shanghai saw us heading towards the famed Pearl of the Orient at Pudong.

The elevator started and ended up at the observatory, built on the 263m level.

Doesn't every major city seemingly have this tall building that tourists visit? I have been to the Empire State in New York, Sears Tower in Chicago, Petronas at Kuala Lumpur... It is a major conspiracy to sucker tourists of their money!

Anyway, the view from the top of the pearl...

Some buildings Tom Cruise leapt across at MI3... Whatever. I don't like Tom Cruise. Why didn't he fall as he leap from one building to the other? Katie Holmes would have been freed from her Scientology prison! Haa haa.

Lunch was at this restaurant with a certain tribal theme to it. The food was passable and I was already getting so sick of chinese.

When the girls emerged to perform some tribal dance, we took it as a cue to leave the overwhelming tackiness.

We next visited the Jade Buddha Temple.

People write their wishes on a red cloth and tie them around objects all over the temple.

We visited the Tomb of Song Qiling, the wife of the late Sun Yat-sen. Over here, we were also given a in-depth understanding of Feng Shui as well as the auspicious products of China. It was a fascinating lesson.

A foot reflexlogy awaits...

Sandy spent a bomb on Chinese medicine for the sake of her health. I was adamant in not taking any of the doctor's recommendations because I am slightly skeptical of the Chinese medicine's validity. No doubt, I am certain they can be useful in certain areas. Till I verify them, I shall remain a skeptic. Ho ho, unless I have no choice lar.

We proceeded after dinner to meet up with Jervais's friend, Alvan at Xin Tian Di. Alvan and Paul were having dinner at Din Tai Fung. Doesn't Singapore already have that?! I think Singaporeans are quite safe in staying within their comfort zones, don't you? In fact, we went to Paulana Brahaus for our initial drinks. Ha ha.

Can someone tell Alvan he owes me 10 bucks for his picture? Thanks.

Anyway, the next location for drinks was much much better. It's called New Heights at 3 on the Bund. At the rooftop, you can get a superb view of the scenic Bund at night. The kaleidoscope of neon lights is simply dazzling!

We had a good time, playing silly games as usual. It was a good laugh, especially when Alvan revealed his inner true self. When all of us suggested answers like 'strawberries, lollipops, pacifiers..' to the question 'Things you suck on', he provided answers like 'nipples... c*ck'. For the category 'Things you buy for you Father', he said chirpily,"Condom!"

Jane and Jervais, he is YOUR friend ah.

Next day was a free and easy one in Shanghai. We proceeded to shop at Qi Pu Lu, but was apparently in the wrong building. We adjourned to the bustling HuaiHai Lu where I had a satisfying time shopping at H&M. Ha ha! I am reminded of my crazy shopping in USA! When is H&M coming to Singapore? Dang.

After much shopping, we went for lunch to rest our weary feet.

We proceeded to have a hair wash at a random salon. If you are going to China, don't miss out on cheap luxuries that salons offer! In fact, we have been having our hair washed everyday since we are here, for rates as low as SGD2 to 6. They include neck, shoulders and arms massage. Ahh, 'tis a good way to unwind.

Our dinner was hosted by JW's sister, her husband and her niece at Southern Beauty. It was an exclusive restaurant, somewhat like fine dining. I was a little guarded in whipping up my camera to take pictures of the exquisite fare. Thus, no pictures!

Her niece offered to take us to Qi Pu Lu again the next morning. We were chaffeured to the correct building this time and did a reasonable amount of shopping. Not much of their fashion style is tailored to my taste, though. However, I am pretty certain you can unravel cheap gems here and there.

From her recommendations, we additionally ventured on the street eats. They were pretty good!

She further took us to a shopping mall where I purchased loads of DVDs! Simpsons, South Park, Friends.... all for a meagre sum!

Finally, we had to rush to the airport for our flight to Beijing.

More about Beijing soon!

Free hotel internet rocks! :))


Blogger Luna said...

?? u still in China??!! Cool!! instant update :P

Did u try China's exotic food?? Where is Great wall??

3:48 PM  
Blogger jellybeano said...

Eh China's food isn't that great...

Great wall is in beijing!

5:59 PM  

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