Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shanghai Day 1

This is the short story of my weekend trip to Shanghai. It was a really amazing experience because I got to travel completely ALONE for the first time in my life... and I survived! haha. Backtracking a little - I was sent to China for a conference/workshop (for work purposes) so I can finally say that I'm one of those sketchy people who go on "business trips"... haha. But really, I had a great time and I want to show you all pictures... get ready for image overload!!!

So after school, I rushed like a madwoman to the airport to make sure I caught my flight. But when I got there I still had time to eat some fries at Popeye's.
 Once I got through customs, there was still time to spare so I found a ZARA...
...and tried on bird clothes. I didn't buy that but being a dork I took a picture for ART INSPIRATION purposes.
The happiest moment OF MY LIFE (okay, I exaggerate) was on the plane when they served us ICE-CREAM!!!!!!!! The man beside me didn't want his and I was so SHOCKED that someone would decline ICE-CREAM that I was too busy gasping to ask if I could have his share. hahaha.
When I got to the Shanghai Airport, it was eerily deserted.
Now I don't know any Mandarin, so before the trip I got my coworkers to write down all the names of the places I needed to get to (hotel, conference, etc.)... and then during my entire trip I would just hop into a taxi and point at my pieces of paper hoping that I'd arrive at my intended destination. My taxi rides were usually around 30 minutes long so it was like half an hour of me sitting in the backseat in awkward silence with no way of verbal communication with the driver. But I didn't get scammed, so that's a bonus! 

Below is my hotel room which had a surprisingly high ceiling...
clean white toilets (yes... I took a picture to show you all how clean it was)...
...and a huge GLASS SHOWER, which I thought was hilarious because the door to the shower was the same door as the one that locks the bathroom... so basically if you use the shower and you're sharing the room with someone, your roommate can see everything that's going on... all the walls of the bathroom were glass. Awkward invasion of privacy...
Also, the hotel lobby had a painting I really liked. I wish I could paint like that!!!
Anyhow, the next day I was heading to my conference when I saw this weird sign, which really confused me.
I also walked along the longest pedestrian crosswalk ever (and didn't get run over!) Hey, I am not joking when I say that is a HUGE possibility in China...
There are no such things as traffic rules in Shanghai. As a pedestrian, you just kind of start walking onto the street and hope that you don't get hit, and as a driver/cyclist, you skillfully maneuver around every other driver/cyclist. The picture below looks like there's a dozen accidents waiting to happen, but in China it's a skill to be able to drive like a crazy and get away with it.
Many people have bikes or scooters. I always saw rows of bikes lined up along the street.
On my first night of sight-seeing, I went to a place called Tianzifang/Taikang Lu near Madang Rd. Station. It's a quirky little area with a whole bunch of dark alleyways (yes, alleyways!). There's all these little shops and cafes... it's really cute. It was at that moment that I decided to start collecting as many pictures of shady Shanghai alleyways as possible. Here are some for your viewing pleasure...
My favourite is THIS ONE below because I took it with no clue what the huge red words (on the left) said. But I really liked this particular alleyway so I took a whole bunch of pictures and vowed that when I went back to Hong Kong, I would ask one of my friends to translate the words for me.
 Well, when I finally got the chance to ask someone they told me the translation was: 

.... HA! Whoops.

Anyway, in these alleyways they sold little trinkets like these dangly fish decorations...
...while other little restaurants showcased things like crazily-carved fruits and vegetables...
...and still others sold the creepiest row of dolls in the world.
This is one of my favourite shops that I saw... if only for the store name.
I met an awesome bunch of people from the conference so we went to eat Thai food and then ended off the night at this little lounge... I think it's one of the few places in Shanghai that allows live bands to perform. 
So that's a picture update of my first full day in China! Day 2's adventures are full of gorgeous views so I'll get   to uploading that right now because I'm excited to show you! =) 


  1. wow!! you're on a trip by yourself in CHINA?! my goodness! i would be very worried about u! but looks like you're doing well!! hehe i'm very proud of you! ...actually, i am still worried! please be careful!! i've heard lots of unpleasant stories that happened in china :S
    hahahaha i could read chinese so i was already laughing before i read your translation for that mural of chinese characters hahah oh lauraaa :) u r too cute <3
    i love every one of your blogs!!!! pls keep 'em coming!

  2. w00t! welcome to the world of travelling by yourself! it's fun! and exciting. and addicting. Can I convince you to travel with me next time I go somewhere? hehehhehe.


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