Saturday, April 6, 2019

Ultra Modern Shanghai: Fast Forward to First World (Getting High in Shanghai Series 19 )

Ultra Modern Shanghai 
Fast Forward to First World
Getting High in Shanghai Series 19       

Day 1

While we have been to Beijing and to Hongkong
several times in the past, it was my family’s first
time in Shanghai and everyone was excited.

We arrived in Shanghai at noontime
after a three- hour flight from Manila,

....and took a taxi to Oakwood Residences Shanghai.

We were met by a friendly non- English speaking staff 
at the hotel’s concierge at the ground floor, who 
accompanied us to the hotel lobby at the fourth floor.

Check in was a breeze,

…the people at the front desk were friendly,

..and we were immediately on our
way to our room at the 23rd floor.

It was a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment,

…which would be our home for a week
the first half of our Shanghai vacation,

…and we would later move to Pudong for
another three days in Shanghai Disneyland.


It was already in the after when we finished unpacking  that we decided 
to look for for something to eat. The Imago Mall located right next door 
luckily the Oakwood Residences Shanghai, had a direct access,

…and stumbled upon Hongkong Traditional Cuisine. 
the first restaurant we saw so we decided to dine there.

The restaurant didn’t have a typical fussy, overly accessorized 
Chinese interior design, and had a modern take by limiting
 the typical oriental design elements to a few basic pieces
and incorporated western inspired cushion seats,

…and lovely European crystal chandeliers.

The food was flawless,

…and left the restaurant satiated.

We went to the mall’s supermarket at the basement, did some grocery 
shopping. While we were able to use our debit card without difficulty
  at the restaurant, we were surprised. that a  supermarket this big  
was no  accepting any type of foreign debit and credit cards.

We paid in cash.

 We  a little window shopping at Imago Mall,

…before returning to our hotel to rest.

Day 2

After eating our breakfast we walked to the
 nearby Cao Yang Road Subway station,

…and took a train to Kerry Hotel, in Pudong.

I came to Shanghai to attend a medical convention and came to the venue 
a day ahead to register. To my disappointment I learned that no credit and
 debit cards are being accepted they are only accepting cash transactions.

I didn’t see this coming. While we did not have any problem
using our credit card in  Oakwood, everything else, from the
mall restaurants and the supermarket did not accept foreign
credit and debit cards except for an obscure China based card.

Since we are traveling as a family and would be
staying in China for 2 weeks we wanted to save
our cash on hand. I tried to withdraw from several
ATM nearby but my card just kept on being ejected.

We realized it too late that China is still largely a cash-based economy.
Chinese I believe are typically averse to debt and this maybe the reason
for overall air of negativity regarding the use of credit and debit cards.
 I decided to pay on cash and decided to dine and shop only in  international 
stores and restaurants to save our precious cash for our incidental expenses.


The Kerry Parkside Mall is an upscale mall
and a part of the Kerry Hotel Pudong complex.

It has a nice selection of western shops 

…and traditional Chinese restaurants. 

It was already almost noon time when I completed my registration
and we dined at Shanghai Dimsum at the Kerry Parkside Mall.

Luckily, they accepted our credit card.

We took a subway to Lujizui Metro station, as we wanted to tour the Pudong 
city center, known all over the world  for its famous towering skyscrapers.

At the Lujizui Metro station plaza,we spotted the Oriental Pearl Tower,
an we paused to take photos with  the iconic tower in the background.

We also took time to admire the several beautiful
buildings at the Lujizui Metro station peripheries.

We walked towards the Lujizui Ring Road, and 
used the circular overpass to cross the road,

…where we had an awesome view
of Shanghai’s iconic skyscrapers,

…the Oriental Pearl Tower,

…and the beautiful center island flower 
gardens of the massive roundabout.

We descended at Fenghe Road,

…and decided to have a
snack at a 7- Eleven Store,

…beside the Shanghai Aquarium.

We strolled by Oriental Pearl Tower,

…walked all the way to
the end of Fenghe Road,

…until we reached the Riverside Prominade      .

The Pudong Riverside Promenade and Park
is located at the bank of the Huangpu River.

This scenic park is popular with tourists and locals alike,
and it a one of the best places in Shanghai  to go for
family entertainment, recreation activities and dining 

My family came here for some peace and quiet,
while enjoying the views along the Huangpu River,

…with the park’s well manicured gardens as the backdrop.

The promenade is the showcase of some of the city’s
architectural wonders, like the Oriental Pearl TV Tower,
the Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower.

On the other side of the river is the centuries old the Bund.

...and towards the rear end of the riverside park, we spotted  the
 Pudong Shangri- La Hotel, with the hotel’s old building  serves a
classic contrast among the modern buildings on the backdrop.

We exited the Riverside Prominade  at the
Funcheng Road at the other end of the park,

…and turned Huayuanshiqiao where
we passed by the Jinmao Tower.

We ended our walk at the Douglas Road, for
a Shanghai Tower visit, the tallest building
in China and the second tallest in the world.

A visit to the Shanghai Tower, one of the tallest buildings
in the world is the highlight of my family’s Pudong visit.

The tower when seen from below stands tall and proud
that some people sees it as a fully erect phallic symbol.

Built in 2008 the Shanghai Tower is a 128-story,
is the world’s second tallest building at 2,073 ft.

We bought tickets for four and we were shuttled
by the world's second fastest elevators at a top s
peed of 20.5 metres per second or about 74 km/h-

…to the world's highest observation deck within a building.

We admired provides a breathtaking panoramic
view of Shanghai and the neighboring suburbs.

We lingered at the observation deck,and being the tallest
of the world's first triple-adjacent supertall buildings,

…Shanhai tgower dwarfs the other two
nearby skyscrapers, the Jin Mao Tower, 

…and the Shanghai World Financial Centre.  


It is a not to be missed attraction
for anyone visiting Shanghai.

We were starving after all the walking we have
done at the Pudong urban center that concluded
on Shanghai Tower observation deck past 8 PM.

We then went tp the Food Republic, a
food court at the base of Shanghai Tower.

Unlike a regular food courts made of nothing but a
conglomeration of small food stalls as tenants with
a common dining area, the food concessionaires
here are full restaurants located beside one another ,

…made to appear in an outdoor market street setting. 

We chose to dine  at A Ming’s Braised Pork Rice,
as being a Taiwanese restaurant this would the third variety
of Chinese cuisine that we tried upon arriving in Shanghai.

The first one, a Hong Kong cuisine at
the Hong Kong Traditional Cuisine,
a restaurant in Imago Mall beside our hotel,

…and the second, an authentic native Shanghai Cuisine
at Shanghai Dimsum in Kerry Lifestyle Center Mall.

We were very thirsty so we immediately ordered
Winter Melon Tea  and Taiwanese Milk Tea.

We did not regret, the food was great and very affordable.

The taste of Taiwan’s delicious dishes at A Ming’s Braised Pork Rice was an
excellent conclusion of our Pudong adventure on our second  day in Shanghai.


We took a subway back to Oakwood and had a really good
night sleep after almost a full day of walking in Pudong.

Day 3

I woke up early, cooked breakfast for my family, and proceeded to
 Kerry Hotel for the convention. I returned to Oakwood at noontime,
and took a subway to People’s Park. We alighted at People's Square 
which is referred as Shanghai’s KM 0 as it is the reference point 
for measurement of distance of all highways in the Shanghai.

We were delighted to see a Starbucks Coffee

…and we took the seats facing the square.

With refreshing drinks and delicious pastries,

...the place was perfect spot for people watching
and a peace refuge from the hustle and bustle
of the perpetually frenzied People’s Square.


After finishing our snacks, we proceeded to People’s Park
whose entrance lies right bedside the Starbucks, which also
has an access to the park at the rear part of the coffee shop.

People's Park was built on the grounds of the former
Shanghai Race Club, established by the British in 1862.

When the communist People's Republic of China was founded,
it  banned all forms of gambling, andthe northern half  of the
racecourse was converted into what is now the  People's Park,

…while the southern half to People's Square.

Shanghai’s People’s Park is probablywhat Central Park 
 is to New York, It is a major tourist attraction of lovely gardens, 
 verdant pocket forests, historic buildings, and tranquil ponds.

It was a busy weekend during our visit so we
chanced upon the Shanghai Marriage Market.

The marriage market held in the park every Saturday
and Sunday is also known as "blind date corner" .

Parents flock to the park to find a suitable partner
for unmarried adult children in which numerous
marriage advertisement listings are publicly posted.

Chinese culture’s long idealized important
tradition of continuing their family lineage,

…the standards of finding the rightmatch are written on a piece of paper,
.which is then hung upon long strings, boards, and umbrellas.

Sometimes referred as " meets farmers' market"
the Shanghai Marriage Market, a parent matchmaking fair
is a way of upholding a traditional dating style modern China.
Some may find it weird but a visit to the Marriage Market 
at People’s Park is an awesome cultural experience.

We intended to go explore the Nanjing Road from
the People Square all the way to the Bund, but my
son started limping and to complaining that his feet
hurt as he was not proper wearing walking shoes.


It also started to rain so we took a
refuge at the nearby Marriot Hotel,



…the took a taxi back to Oakwood.


We walked our way to the Imago Mall
and shopped for comfortable walking
shoes for my son at Pull and Bear shop,

…and decided to get him a
rain wear at the same time.

My wife and daughter also decided
to shop at the Uniqlo store where my
son decided to rest his aching feet.

On our way out, we chanced upon an
apparel store with an interesting name-
Kilikili which means Armpit in Filipino.

We decided to pose for fun photos with
our exposed armpits in front of the store.

I was also late in the afternoon so we scouted for a place 
to eat. We stumbled in this restaurant with a name which
 we could not read, located at the 4th floor of Imago Mall,

We were running low on Yuan as we didn’t expect
for overall air of negativity credit and debit cards.

We still have US dollars but we didn’t have time to buy
local currency in the bank so we inquired at the cashier
if they accept credit or debit cards and the answer was yes.

We were hungry as we’ve been out all day at touring and we took 
our seats as the well designed restaurant. We had a wonderful 
dinner. The food was delicious and the service was good,

…but when we asked for our bill and paid with our debit
card, the waiter rejected it. We offered him other credit cards
from Visa,  MasterCard, Diners, Amex JCB as we posses
almost every card in the planet- everything was rejected

We panicked since we didn’t have enough Yuan.
We offered to pay in dollars but they did not accept
foreign currency. It was during this commotion
that an American and her lady Asian companion
dining next to us came over and saved our day.

He paid our bill in Yuan, we gave him a hundred dollar bill 
 and gave  us a change in Yuan. Our savior came from out 
of the blue, as heroes often do. We were as we never  
realized that we had an angel our midst, watching us.  

It was amusing that we had our best dining experience in Shanghai,
 and unfortunately the worst as well; We never had this kind of experience 
in any of our previous travels in the Philippines  and abroad. 

 We returned to Oakwood  and retired early that night.

Day 4.

It was the last day of the convention and I returned to the 
hotel by noon. We got to a bank located at the Imago Mall 
to change our dollar to a local currency but that instructed 
us to go the  Bank Of China, located at the  Caoyang Road.


We took a subway to Nanjing Road
as we intended to visit the Bund.


We alighted at the East Nanjing Road, considered the main shopping 
street of Shanghai,and one of the world's busiest shopping district.

The busy East Nanjing Road is largely
pedestrianised, extends from The Bund

…to the west ending at People's Square.

East Nanjing Road is a dedicated commercial zone. 

It was almost noon time and we spotted a McDonald’s
store, which  my family’s favorite burger restaurant.

Seeing a McDonald’s store abroad never fails to bring
a smile in our faces as it assures of a tasty comfort food
that we have been missing being far away from home.

Despite of being an American company, it is one restaurant
that makes Filipinos feel at home and reminds them of home.
This is understandable as McDonald’s is a very popular and
one of the most endeared fast- food chains in the Philippines.

While most of our all time favorite
McDonald fares are also available here,

What caught our attention are the Jumbo Wing,

…and the Chicken Patty Rice Bowl.


Both dishes are delicious and crave worthy
pnd we hope that McDonald’s should consider
offering them as regular fares in their menu.

After our McDonald’s lunch, we went
to Shanghai No. 1 Department Store,

…the first and oldest state-run store
to shop for sports shoes for the kids.  

We then took the mini train

…on our way to the Bund,

We were treated with the colorful
cacophony of urban Chinese life.

The roadside was lined with European-style 
restaurants, cafes and upscale malls.

We walked until the end of the East Nanjing Road,

…until we reached the Bund.

Right at the entrance of the riverside
park is the bronze statue of Chen Yi,
the first mayor of Shanghai after 1949.

The Bund is a waterfront area Shanghai which runs along 
 the  western bank of the Huangpu River. It probably is one of 
the most  famous tourist destinations  in Shanghai-.and refers 
to the strip flanked on one side by the mighty Huangpu River,

… and the well preserved and impeccably restored historic 
buildings on the other side of the road, that were the 
                    grandiose symbols of Shanghai’s colorful colonial past.                  

We strolled at the river promenade,

and posed at the riverside with the awesome
view of the Pudong skyline as a backdrop,

The riverside boardwalk is a great place to stroll,
and also a good place to relax, sit around
and do some shameless people watching.

We spent some time admiring. magnificent  Beaux Arts 
classical  buildings built around the turn of the 20th century 
 as Shanghai become a major financial center. in Asia.

We later went to an Ice Cream Parlor,


…to snack on refreshing ice cream and cookies.


We lingered a little more.and posed for 
 photos  at the colorful roadside garden.

…and headed back to Nanjing Road.

At the Nanjing Road we scouted for souvenir shops on the
numerous modern malls lining the famous shopping strip,

…and found none,

…until we passed buy  the Central Market, a century-
old outdoor market with numerous souvenir shops.

We also feasted on the several food 
stalls, that sells amusing street food,


…like the smoking ice cream balls, that literally make 
your nose steam with smoke in while you eat.

We then took a subway to our hotel and had
dinner at the Hongkong Traditional Cuisine


This is the second time that we dined in
this wonderful restaurant in Imago Mall,
and just like the first one we enjoyed
our meal as the food was really good.

We paid with our debit card, as they accepted it when we first dined here,
 but it was rejectedthis time. They rejected our credit card as well. It’s our
 fourth day in China and were getting used to this card rejection thing.

We stayed for a while at the Imago Mall
and watched a cultural show at the atrium-


...that feature Chinese dances. 



We walked back to our apartment in
Oakwood and retired early that night.

Day 5

It would be our last day in Oakwood in Shanghai city center 
as were are moving in Pudong We had a late breakfast,
packed our bags, and checked out at the hotel by noontime.

We took a taxi to Pudong,

…and arrived at Novotel in an hour,


…which would be our home for the next
four days while in Disneyland Shanghai.

Read my other Getting High in Shanghai Series:

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