24.10.2011 - 25.10.2011 12 °C
The next morning is particularly wet, great to see the cyclists out in their mega ponchos. Today there is more walking, up to Jing’an and then across to Nanjing West Rd. Here I looked around, but there is nothing to grab me with excitement. I had read about AmyLin’s Pearls in the Fen Shin Accessories Plaza, and there was plenty there to go through. After a long search there was a great string of pearls for L, earrings for Mum, all sortsa stuff. The Plaza is three floors of clothing, bags, luggage and a few electronics things. All I could find was a Mao Purse for L. I’m not much of a shopper unless I have a particular object in mind.
After all this time on the shopping strip, I am happy to get away to the south to some pleasant plots of green near the intersection of the two elevated roads – Yan An and Nan Bei. Here the parks are not big, but they are very well set out and quite tranquil, despite all the traffic and everything else around. If it was dry, I could have stopped here a while longer.
I thought I would go to an electronics “mall” to have a look at getting myself some headphones. The so called “mall” is four floors of stalls packed solid with deconstructed laptops, PCs, printers, etc, etc. The closest they have to headphones are used ones on a clothes line or empty beats by dr. dre boxes – the genuine article no doubt long gone. Not my place.
Just around the corner is my kind of place – a model shop. This is Xiangyang at 595 Nanchang Road. Everything is packed to the ceiling over 2 floors, mostly the Chinese (Trumpeter etc) and some other Asian companies.
I worked my way back to the French Concession, having a late lunch at Sichuan Citizen on DongHu Lu. At the time it is delicious, great soup and a spicy pork and chilli dish. In the end I had ordered way too much and had to waddle out. Just up Fumin Lu, I did my final ceramics shop and took all the loot back to the hotel. At this point i was a bit weary, so rested up for a short while before heading back out to the Bund.
I started taking photos, but the Bund lights all get turned off fairly early, so soon I was standing there in the semi dark. At this time, plenty of touts start to appear, offering all sorts of services to single white males, and no doubt others too. There are some shops still open and in one of the big modern malls I buy myself a pair of headphones from Audio Technica. Head for home and bed. I nod off briefly before the Sichuan makes an appearance, and I spend the next six hours on and off the loo (fortunately ensuite) trying to purge it out. This is the only time I have had an issue with any food in China street stalls, countryside, anywhere and it only because my body cannot cope with the amount and concentration of the chillis from the Sichuan.
I have a late start in the morning after a tiring night. I leave tonight, so the bag is packed and left with reception. I head back to the Bund for a day time view, walking south past the Bund Observatory. From here head inland to the YuYuan gardens. All around here is very much a tourist area, packed full of souvenir shops and fast food places. Inside the gardens themselves there are still plenty of people, but the further you get into the gardens, there are some places where you can take a bit of a rest in a peaceful corner. So I enjoy the different tableaux with the 4 elements of Chinese gardens – Water, Plants, Pavilions and Rock, and how there are new views at each corner. And they have nice clean toilets which is important with my stomach still active.
At some point this morning I have put down the Shanghai Guide from the local library – $40 I don’t get to spend out here...
From the Gardens I catch line 10 up to Tiantong Rd, and work my way east along the Suzhou River to the HuangPu and the Hyatt on the Bund. Again they are supposed to have an elevated bar with great views, but it is not open for another hour. Instead, I collapse into the tea room and do not much there for the next few hours, gathering my strength and having fragrant white tea. When the bar is open, I could not be arsed anyway, so I have more tea and a hamburger (something I know will not send my stomach off course.)
By the time I move, it is dark and I finally get to see the Bund at night, with the lights on. The photo tour over, I head back to the Old House Inn and saddle up my pack to head out to the airport. I am leaving from Pudong, so I have to head out on the Maglev from LongYand Rd station. It is smooth, and we get up to over 300km/h during the ride, so it does not take too long to get out there. At the airport, it is the last chance to buy up, but my remaining money will only stretch to a small panda and a pack of lollies. Once on the flight, I am quickly asleep.
In Singapore I buy a headphone to in flight converter, and it is a good investment, as I am on one of the new 777s back to Melbourne – big, clear screen on which I get through at least 4 movies!
And now back home and back to work after a great time away.