Stuff From Shanghai

I found a bag full of ‘stuff’ from a couple of trips I had taken a while ago.  I had already scrap booked these trips and I didn’t really want to hold onto to all of it but it did bring back a few memories.  This is the stuff I found from the trip I took to Shanghai, China in 2009.20180204_174518Above- My sister took me on a little trip to visit a place she liked to go to buy little cups.  I can not remember where that was, but we did indeed buy some tiny, handmade, cups.  The kind without a handle, that you can imagine drinking green tea out of, they were wrapped in the orange Disney paper you can see top left.  Whisk was a fancy place we went for lunch, I remember getting a chocolate torte for dessert.  I remember significant things.  I think the white business card in the middle was for a lottery or gambling, the blue blob of toothpaste on it is Haibo.  Haibo was, obviously, the mascot of the Shanghai Expo and he was EVERYWHERE in Shanghai whilst I was there.20180204_175209Above- We went to a small Art Gallery, and the only thing I remember is my sister making me and her boyfriend (now husband) stand in a very hot window, in full glare of the sun as she spent 20mins trying to take a picture.   The photo, top left, shows where we were standing.  On one day we went to a shopping centre and I felt compelled to buy something.  You can’t really browse without a sales assistant insisting on helping which was interesting given that we were speaking totally different languages.  When I’d picked my item I went over the till to pay, she took my leggings and gave me a receipt and sent me to another till.  At the other till I handed over my money and was given another receipt.  I took this back to the first till and got my leggings (with the delightful orange mushroom label pictured).  Seemed like convoluted way of doing things but that’s the style in China.   20180204_175250Above- I took and used my Lomography fisheye camera.  How I wish I’d been able to take a better analogue camera, the fish eye thing got really old really fast!  Top right is an exciting photo of the TV screen in the taxi (like the future) which instructed me to ‘please do not forget the things you take’.  We went to an English language bookshop on my last day and I obviously bought something, wrapped in the brown paper.  I think it was something odd like Frankenstein, and the font had been printed so small I never actually managed to read that copy!

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China (Again)!

Some general views of Pudong, Shanghai:

fisheye china2That’s my sister bottom right in People’s Square.  In the centre is the ticket for the Jade Buddha Temple, and bottom left is the ticket for the Shanghai Art Gallery that we visited.

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Found some old fisheye photos of Shanghai, China from 2009.

This is the Jade Buddha Temple:fisheye chinaAnd the view of the Pudong skyline from across the water: fisheye china1

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Visiting China- Nanjing Street

Just a short post about Nanjing Street in Shanghai, China.  It’s full of statues and it’s fun for a wander. There’s also a film cafe, and there was a man selling bracelets which me and my sister bought (I can’t guarantee he will still be there…).

Statue Street

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Visiting China- Fuxing Park and The Bund

When I visited Shanghai, China in 2009 we spent an afternoon at Fuxing Park in the former French Concession.  Created in 1909 as Gu’s Park it was the largest park in Shanghai, during French occupation it became a military encampment, then it was renamed Daxing Park by the occupying Japanese.  In the mid-20th century it was reclaimed by the Chinese and named Fuxing Park.

China Fuxing pARK We went into Fuxing Park and were greeted by the long list of Park Rules which included ‘visitors are expected not to urinate or shit’, and ‘no playing mahjong in the park’ because you know what mahjong players get like after a few cups of green tea… There was a nice lake where people were zorbing (those big ball things you can run around in), there was tea house, people running backwards (which is a Chinese thing, it works the muscles in the back of legs more, they even have rear view mirrors attached to their heads).

Fuxing pARK1

The Bund is on the Puxi side of Shanghai overlooking the river it has a good view of the Pearl tower and all the lit up skyscrapers. We went to the Captain Bar where we got this view of the Shanghai skyline.  On the Bund no new buildings are allowed in stark contrast to the rest of Shanghai which was rapidly developing.


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Visiting China- People’s Square

During my trip to Shanghai, China we went to Renmin Guangchang or People’s Square where, by all accounts, you can get tricked into a very expensive tea ceremony.  But we just went to the Shanghai Art Museum.  We had to queue around the building to get in and go through airport style security at which point my water bottle became an issue until I drank from it to show it was just water and not a water flavoured explosive.  There were some impressive escalators in the middle that made it feel like a shopping centre more than a museum.  There was also a collection of Chinese drawings, paintings, and furniture.

Peoples Square Shanghai We also went into the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre where there is a model of the whole of Shanghai which is really cool.  The city was gearing up for the Shanghai Expo which happened in 2010.

Peoples Square

HaiboHaibo was the Expo’s mascot and he was everywhere, he looked like a squish of toothpaste with arms and legs imo.

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Visiting China- Chinese Toilets!

My trip to China was in May 2009.  My sister and her boyfriend lived over there for a year and I took the opportunity to visit her and a totally different country.  When sister met me the first thing she did is hand me some tissues and hand sanitizer in case I ever needed to use a public toilet.

Chinese public toilets are plentiful (unlike the UK) largely, I assume, because a lot of restaurants and cafes don’t have their own toilets.  The first Chinese style toilet I used was in a large fancy building, I don’t know what the building was but you could book tours to look around, as a result the toilets were immaculate and the cubicles very spacious.  But that doesn’t change the fact that Chinese ‘toilets’ aren’t actually toilets, they are holes in the ground over which you squat.

The actually squatting was not, for me, a problem. How elderly or disabled people successfully people used them was lost on me but, given the large amount of urine all over the floor of all the subsequent ones I used it seems like a lot of people do have trouble using them.

Chinese Toilets

The dirtiness was the problem, how do you pull down your trousers or skirt and hold you bag and squat without getting your stuff covered in the urine and dirt on the floor?  Also there was no toilet paper (the pipes are too narrow in China for tissue to be flushed down them) but the tissues people had used were placed into overflowing bins in the corner of the cubicle.  These were not the efficient sanitary bins provided over here but rather waste paper baskets.  And after you leave there is often no soap and occasionally no running water.  My sister said I was lucky the cubicles had doors.

In one public toilet I used I was charged 0.5Yuan to use the facilities (5p) and was given a square of newsprint to use as toilet paper.  For men the price was 0.1Yuan because they do not require toilet paper.  Nor do they have to disrobe and squat so I was being charged 5 times as much for a much less pleasant experience.

There are some Western style toilets, like the ones at my accommodation in China, and I think the Beijing Olympics had a strange effect on the country as the government tried to prepare the country for Western visitors despite the fact that they didn’t seem to actually sell any tickets to any…

Anyway, this is all I have on Chinese toilets but travelers to the country are advised to take tissues and hand sanitiser!


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Visiting China- Jin Mao Tower and Jade Buddha Temple

My trip to China was in May 2009.  My sister and her boyfriend lived over there for a year and I took the opportunity to visit her and a totally different country. I’m not entirely sure what order we did everything in but these are my recollections of China, specifically Pudong, Shanghai.  See my post on the French Concession here.

Jin Mao

We went to the top of Jin Mao tower, well the 88 floor to be exact for which we were charged 88RNB (about £8, but very expensive for China!).  It was, and still is, one of the tallest buildings in the world although a few taller ones have been built around it since my visit.  The view is supposedly spectacular but I don’t think either of us felt that we really got our monies worth especially as it was quite foggy.

jin mao

At the top there is the obligatory gift shop as well as an impressive display of Yao Ming memorabilia.  Yao Ming is a Chinese basket-ball player, he is also very tall (7ft 6″) and quite the Chinese celebrity.  I’m more of a Liu Xiang person myself…

jin mao tower

Of course I wanted to see ‘real’ China by which I mean temples and lanterns so we visited the Jade Buddha Temple, you weren’t allowed to take pictures inside or of Buddha so I just took some of the outside and the fish. The temple was built in 1882, to house two Burmese jade Buddha statues.   The temple was destroyed but the statues were saved and a new temple was built on the present site in 1928.

Jade Buddha Temple

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Visiting China- French Concession

ShanghaiMy trip to China was in May 2009.  My sister and her boyfriend lived over there for a year and I took the opportunity to visit her and a totally different country.  At the time I was quite the shutter bug I am now and the, relatively, few photos I have are not the finest example of photographic skill or, indeed, a steady hand.  I didn’t really document what we did anywhere afterwards so have had to ask my sister for reminders of the places we went and things we saw in order to sort through the pictures.

I waited for about 4hrs at the airport for my sister to finish work that morning, I was going to just take a taxi but she didn’t think the taxi drivers would understand me, even if I wrote down in Mandarin where I wanted to go.  And that’s the first, and perhaps biggest, difference between China and Europe; people don’t speak English!  Of course some do but by and large most people did not.  In fact, most people stared at me because they are so unused to seeing white people.

My sister was staying at Sanda University, Pudong, Shanghai.  Huang pu is the river through Shanghai, dong means East, Puxi is on the other side of the river with xi meaning west.

The French Concession is a series of tiny little alleyways with a more European influence than elsewhere in town.  Here was where we got all the pizza that sustained me during the trip, and here people spoke more English.  We ate a place called Commune that sister raved about, bought little cups at a place on Taikang Lu, and started ‘tan diary’ which was our pathetic attempt to record how much my skin tanned whilst in China and lasted about two days before we forgot to do it anymore.

French Concession

Also in the French Concession part of town was a café my sister raved about called Citizen’s Café, they did the best breakfast around.  But when I ordered myself a breakfast all she would do was mock me for my choice of pancakes and fruit and fries and coke.  Which I thought perfectly reasonable.  On the subject of coke, it may be an unadventurous choice but as it is so ubiquitous you are guaranteed to be able to order it everywhere you go so it’s just so easy to order in a foreign country where you can’t speak the language.  That being said Chinese coke is rubbish, the cans look cool but it tastes like it’s diluted and costs about £3.50 (for a can you could get for 70p in the UK).  Soft drinks in China always seemed disproportionately expensive, alcoholic ones much cheaper.

Citizens cafe

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