10 March 2009

Shanghai Old City

On our second day in Shanghai, Lauren and I hopped on the little shuttle from our hostel to go to I don’t remember the name of the park. You love my attention to detail and ability to retain information don’t you? Go on, you do. The little bus dropped us off on the side of a dusty street seemingly nowhere near a park. We were, however, near a lot of shops (like two full streets of them) selling, you’ll never guess, Christmas decorations. Christmas in Communist/Capitalist China is garish, full of glitter, shiny tinsel and streamers, fake trees, Santa Clauses, huge plastic candy canes, funny hats, and even a few angels.

One over our horrified fascination (and after Lauren pulled me out of a store of “sparkly” jewelry) we accidentally stumbled across Shanghai’s “Old City.” While it was on my to-do list I had no idea it was anywhere near park what-its-name. It also was not what I was expecting. Honestly I am not sure what I was expecting. I knew it was a shopping area but I guess I thought that the Old City would be, well, old. And while beautifully reproduced in the Jingnan style…this was clearly a modern area. I fell in love with it here and took an absolutely ridiculous amount of pictures.

We were quite thrilled to discover Dairy Queen!! Although, tragically, it was far too cold that day to really seriously contemplate getting a hot fudge shake.

(Told you I went overboard with the pictures. This isn't even a quarter of them.)

We also saw, although did not visit, the tea house on the lake where the famous Willow Ware china pattern was inspired and became popular (if Frommer’s can be believed over Wikipedia).

In our wanderings we finally did find the entrance to the park (I looked it up, it’s the Yuyuan park) but declined to go in. The entrance fee was far too steep to pay in the winter but if you ever get there in spring/summer it is supposed to be fabulous.

After we left Old City we started wandering. The little bus from the hostel dropped us off here and we were not exactly sure how we were going to get anywhere. Using the not to be trusted Frommer’s city map as a guide, we wended our way out of Old City, past yet more Christmas shops, a McDonald’s McCafe (we don’t even have those!), across several frightening cross walks, eventually a large bridge after playing tightrope walking on busy street curb, and FINALLY found ourselves dumped out on the pedestrian area. Exactly where we wanted to be so…yay us.

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