Admittedly, I have had the chance to visit a good number of cities around the world in my youth, as my parents believed the best gift they could give their children apart from education was travel. Oh, but unlike my sister, I have not had the pleasure of visiting this part of China, and heck, who knew if I would have another chance?
We did our share of shopping at the copy markets (a fancy name for tiangge of fakes) in Xiang Yang and Pudong and in the luxury retail outlets of Huai Hai and Nanjing Xi Lu, but perhaps the most interesting was the antique market at Dongtai Lu. While I had considered buying a pair of Chinese cymbals (those things that keep clashing and crashing during Chinese opera), I chose instead to photograph the many curios that lined the street.
Of course it would be a sin not to sample the local cuisine, and so we made time for one local Chinese meal outside our hotel. Armed with just our fingers to point at photos of dishes that piqued our visual interest, we prepared our tongues for the unknown. First off, a crispy chicken dish that was more chili than fowl. Then some minced meat with tofu, baby shrimp and peanuts. And how could one go wrong with fried noodles? This one had asparagus, more shrimp, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, and ham. And for dessert? Sticky rice sweetened with light syrup and molasses, and filled with various seeds and nuts. Each dish seemed good for three. Nothing was left (save for some pepper pods). The bill? the equivalent of Php 500. Beat that!
Notable too about Shanghai would be the unique architectural shapes that grace its cityscape. Our hotel (Grand Hyatt) and the one across it (Park Hyatt--once the world's tallest hotel) are pillars of contrast in the business district of Lujiazui, with one like a many-faceted crystalline tower, and the other sleek and smooth. Pudong's Science and Technology Museum, on the other hand, is cosmopolitan glass complex that feels like a city in itself, and the nearby Oriental Pearl Tower (the third tallest TV and radio tower in the world) is a virtual rocket ship. I wish I had more time to survey this city with so much eye candy scraping the sky.
I believe that one is never too old for globe trotting (does it not seem that wherever tourists are, elderly folks are there, perpetually on travel mode?), so I hope I get many years still to tour the world. Although I have started young, there is just so much world to see but just one life to live. I've got to start planning my next itinerary.