Food & Travel: Shanghai, China.

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so it was said…

In this day and age of fast food communication (hello, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever that is out there nowadays), I can’t quite keep up.

It takes me a longer period of time to learn all of the nooks and crannies of even the most ubiquitous apps (I’m looking at you in terms of “social media” – Instagram, Tinder, and Bumble). It’s not because I have trouble learning…at least, I don’t think so, it’s because I don’t feel the need and / or want to. What’s the point of it if the game changes after an app update or two?

So, without further ado, I present to you a facet of Shanghai through my lens (for those who think my phone picture quality isn’t up to par: I agree, but I was more focused on being in the moment instead of worrying about my photo quality – which is a lot more important, anyway, just saying).

[Note: There were some people who have pointed out to me that none of my buttons on the top right corner of the page direct to anything. That is absolutely correct and on purpose, haha.]


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Shanghai Tower上海中心

Last time I was in Shanghai was approximately eight years ago for its World Expo (2010). Coincidentally and fortunately, I went to its succeeding one in Milan (2015) as well.

The Shanghai Tower was completed in 2015, so this was an entirely new experience for me.

I’d definitely recommend it for those who are into panoramic views, and well, people who are into garnering likes on Facebook and Instagram after bypassing the firewall. I’m kidding. Before going in, there’s a monitor that shows you the view from top to bottom as there is a huge smog issue in China. I happened to be there when it was rainy as there was an incoming typhoon, so there was some sort of clarity (other than the fog from the air conditioning and the clouds).

Note: For those who are scared of heights – fret not, I’m terrified as well, but this was okay. Promise. I felt completely safe above, I think even my Apple Watch could prove that (as it tracks my heart rate). I don’t think there is any glass floor installation that lets you can see directly beneath you…or maybe I avoided it for obvious purposes.


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Oriental Pearl Tower 東方明珠

This is actually a TV tower in Shanghai. It looks similar to a rocket, or at least the tripod on the bottom makes me somewhat see the resemblance. There is an observatory up there, but I didn’t go up as I’ve been there before. Truth be told, one of the most prominent buildings that stood out to me during my trip was this one, and if I were to go on its observatory, I obviously wouldn’t be able to see this one (refer to the first picture for contrast), so I’d definitely recommend visiting the one in the Shanghai Tower more than this.

I suppose this is one of the must see architecture in the city center. It’s quite fascinating, especially with the two disco balls.


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City God Temple of Shanghai 上海城隍廟

I believe that this is one of the biggest temples in Shanghai city center, and there are so many classical Chinese architectures around as well. When I was there, it was as if I went on a time warp to a few decades ago.

There are a lot of souvenir, snack, and garment stores along with tea houses and restaurants at the area. Knowing me, I obviously bought a lot of food from those stores. I can’t deny that I was very tempted to buy a qipao 旗袍 or two to change into in order to truly feel like I’m back in a specific era.

Qipao is a traditional Chinese dress that was at its pinnacle from 1920 – 1930s, usually worn by upper class socialites. These dresses are very form-fitting and accentuates women’s hourglass figures. As a never-ending perfectionist and a self-proclaimed adventurous person when it comes to fashion, one of the articles of clothing that I want to tackle the most is the qipao. It reflects part of my heritage and history, and to be honest, it’s exquisite and elegant in my eyes.

It’s pretty simple to just go to a random store to buy one, but I know me. I’m picky. I want to select the style, fabric and have the seamstress tailor the dress accordingly. After years of continuous experimentation, I finally (more or less, but I’m still somewhat in the dark) have an idea of what goes well and not well with me. Perhaps it sounds a bit daft, but I’d like my first qipao experience to be up to my par. And truth be told – when it happens, it’s going to be fantastic. Maybe when I hit 30.

(That, and I’d like to work out a bit more to get to a more personal idealistic body type beforehand.)

There are quite a few sections to the temple, and due to being blocked from Facebook, I forgot to send my best friend a picture of part the temple that is designated to the Chinese Cupid (also known as 月老, the pinyin would probably be yue lao in this case). Apparently, the chances of finding the one or the love of one’s life increases somewhat drastically after listing one’s personal preferences for his / her ideal partner. Should that person get into a relationship, he / she will have to go back to the same temple to pay his / her tribute to the cupid.

Being single is a running gag between me and my friend (and is evident as we send each other gifs and memes about being single), but at that precise moment back then, I truly wanted to go into that specific temple for prayers – perhaps it was partially self fulling prophecy or just wanting to grasp onto a speck of hope.

For what?

I don’t think I know.

Love? Companionship? Someone to grow old with? It’s so hard to pinpoint what type of relationship and who it is that we want individually. I used to think the answers were so easy and recognized that I had a type (that evidently evolved and changed and definitely different from what I prefer today). I figured that if I were to go in, I’d be stuck in my personal limbo that I’ve created entirely on my own. I’m not quite sure I want(ed) to go down that route, so I snapped a few pictures and left before it started raining again.

However, if not for me, I’d at least want to wish for my friend, because he’s a gem and I do hope he runs into someone he gets along well with, trusts, and perhaps eventually falls in love with sooner than later.


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Huxiaopang 沪小胖

If you were to visit Shanghai, don’t miss out their crayfish, or xiaolongxia (小龍蝦 in Traditional Chinese, meaning little lobster). This restaurant was recommended to my brother and me by a local who lives there, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

It was my first time trying crayfish, and as much as I loved it – the ones above were marinated / infused with their local rice liquor and they somehow look so majestic with dry ice – eating them took way too much effort.

My hands also smelled like spice and sauces for at least half a day after that, too. It was well worth it and delicious, but it does take a lot of work.

…should’ve went to the restaurant where I could hire someone to peel them for me (yes, they have that). I’m kidding. I’m glad I tried it hands on for the first time.


Okay, since I was only there for a few days, here are some other pictures:

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This was taken at Grand Hyatt Shanghai’s lobby. I didn’t get a chance to go to their rooftop bar this time, but I mean…I regret it for pretty obvious reasons. 
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Views from their gym at around 6:30 am. I was on the treadmill and this was the one time I didn’t really want to look at the television screen. This was the day after the typhoon, so the sky was actually quite clear.
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Traditional Chinese food for breakfast? Hands down the best. I’m hungry just by looking at this picture…and you wonder why I want to work out in the mornings.

I think what I want to say in a nutshell is: Shanghai, I’ve missed you, and I’m learning to love parts of you.

I’ll be back soon – before eight years time, I swear.

 

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