Location: Shanghai, China
We checked out of our upgraded suite because we made a reservation at a nearby buffet place. But first, Nicole had to buy flu medicine because she was coming down with something.
At Watson’s we couldn’t find any familiar flu medicine. The rest of the Chinese medicine came in big boxes with up to thirty pills each. (The one Nicole bought said you need to take 3 pills each time, no wonder the volume is huge.)
We walked to the mall where the buffet place was but we didn’t head there first. We hung around outside a café which provided free Wi-Fi. Here in China, places like Starbucks and Haagen-Daaz offer Wi-Fi but you need to have a local phone number to receive the password that it sends.)
At Costa Coffee, there is an option to select English in the Wi-Fi obtaining page. This allows us to use our foreign phone number to receive password. We already binged on the WI-Fi there last night but somehow I managed to write several Whatsapp messages and look at Instagram (one of the few apps I could use in China).
At last, we headed to the buffet place. It full name is “Lily Garden Seafood Buffet Meals”. From the outside, it looks like a posh restaurant. On the inside, it still looks posh and has many stalls serving different dishes. Its size is still smaller than the Jogoya in Kuala Lumpur.
Glutton at Lily Garden
First up on our personal menu was raw fish from the Japanese stall. There was already a queue forming at that particular spot because who doesn’t like loads of sashimi? Nicole and I had to fight others with our chopsticks when it came to picking up the limp sashimi from its tray. Crabs with fat legs were available as well.
At the to-order stalls, there were loads of choices. I went to the grill stall the most, ordering foie gras and steak. The steaks came out to be smaller than my palm as they seem to think that people would want to eat more of other stuff.
The alcohol section was filled with flutes of colorful mixtures. I also got a small bottle of cold sake which was a bit watered down.
After a lot of stuffing our faces, it was time for dessert. I picked Maple Walnut flavor which was divine. Too bad I couldn’t eat another mouthful.
All that cost 218 yuan per person, which was expensive in terms of living costs in China but it was worth every cent.
After lunch, we went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage to move to our other hotel. While looking for a cab, we found a bunch of drivers loitering around. These loitering cabbies seem to want to pick up customers who would pay more. One of them even told us to get on a cab by the road.
Before getting on the cab, I was worried that the driver would take us around in circles. I have a fear of dishonest taxi drivers and I have heard of a lot of horror stories about cabs in China. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), the cabbie didn’t exceed the fee estimated by Baidu Map.
Our new hotel was situated near the Bund and Yu Yuan Gardens. We took a nap before heading out into the wild wild city.
A walk with the crowd on the Bund and Nanjing East Road
When we were in Shanghai, it was halfway into the week-long National Day public holidays. My mom even sent a shot of the newspaper back home which reported of the massive crowds in China. Nicole and I had to chance to witness just a bit of this phenomenon.
At first, when we got to the Bund–a long stretch of road besides the river–it looked like there weren’t a lot of people. When we got onto the second level where the view of the river was, we realized that there were more tourists that we thought.
To me, the bund didn’t change as much as West Lake did when I was in China back in 2007. There were still old buildings on the left and fancy high-raise on the right of the river shore.
As we walked down the Bund, careful to take photos with less photobombers, we reached the end of Nanjing East Road. There was another long walk before we could reach the pedestrian street of Nanjing East Road. It was here when we met the full force of Chinese on holidays.
At the pavement opposite, we say crowds of people shuffling towards the Bund. The last time I’ve seen a crowd of such size walking obediently in one direction was at the end of a National Day parade in Singapore. There was just too many people.
We had to slip through free spaces between humans to move forward to our destination. Nanjing East Road is famous for shopping and I was eager to look at the collection at Uniqlo.
Before we reached Nanjing East Road, we stopped by the Forever 21 right before the start of the pedestrian street. The price tag of a product reached 200 yuan and it made me wonder how the Chinese can afford to buy these clothes when it makes up such a big portion of their salary? Maybe they earn more than I realize.
After Forever 21, we managed to hit 2 Uniqlo stores. One of them was tiny and had a limited selection while the other was a lot bigger but didn’t have the things I want in my size.
For dinner, we had 小笼包 (xiao long bao) which are tiny dumplings with a soupy and meaty filling. We ate at one of the branches of the famous Nanxiang Xiao Long Bao shop. This particular branch is hidden on the 3rd floor of Shanghai’s First Food Hall (2nd if you start with Ground Floor) and was recommended by a few people from Shanghai whom we met at Lilian’s wedding.
The mini buns were yummy. Soup flowed onto my soup spoon as I bit through the skin. At 25 yuan for 8 pieces, it was a price not found in Singapore.
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel. Nanjing East Road was still packed with people, shuffling slowly from one end to the other. We saw a mass dance performed by senior citizens and several bands (with old and young lead singers).
We walked on the Bund again on our way back. At night, the historical buildings were washed in yellow light, which was more pleasing than the bright, florescent-like sunlight. Opposite, sky scarpers blinked out advertisements or wore hoops of neon lights.
I love cities at night.
Follow my (2 weeks late) adventures in China:
Day 1 Misadventures at Hangzhou Airport [YQasia Day 1 Sep 26]
Day 2 Swindlers and bicycle misadventures at West Lake
Day 3 Bike returning at West Lake/ Staying with a cute baby [YQasia Day 3 Sep 28]
Day 4 To Thousand-Island Lake by bus [YQasia Day 4 Sep 28]
Day 5 Tour of Qiandao Hu (Thousand-Island Lake) [YQasia Day 5 Sep 30]
Day 6 Buying tix to Shanghai/ Eating on a floating platform in middle of nowhere [YQasia Day 6 Oct 1]
Day 7 A very Chinese wedding [YQasia Day 7 Oct 2]
Day 8 A very Chinese hotel/ 7-hour buses to Shanghai [YQasia Day 8 Oct 3]
Day 9 Exploring Shanghai: Buffet, the Bund and Nanjing East Rd [YQasia Day 9 Oct 4]
Day 10 A day of food and coffee in Shanghai [YQasia Day 10 Oct 5]