Last weekend, I went to Shanghai with my friend to visit the bund, Xin tian di (新天地), eat food, and have fun…. The primary reason for my visit however, was to participate in Run in Blue organised by Rotaract Shanghai to raise awareness about Down Syndrome.
My friend and I took the train from Suzhou station at 10 and in half an hour we were standing in Shanghai, all excited to begin a weekend of walking and running. As I got out of the train station into the subway station to go to our hotel, I felt scared. The metro station had a lot more routes like lines 1,2,4,5,6,9,19,13, which were more than I had ever seen before and I felt unsure and started doubting myself for a moment. How to get to the hotel? Will I be able to? I had a friend with me, but I was still scared. My friend took charge and I tried to mentally prep myself to get out of this zone. We looked up on 百度地图(baidu ditu – baidu map) and we found our way to the hotel.
We had already booked a hotel called 汉庭酒店 (Han ting jiu dian – Hanting hotel)， which was on 张扬路（Zhangyang lu – Zhang yang road). We chose this place (though there are other branches of this same hotel all over in Shanghai as we found out the next few days) because it was fairly near the century park where the marathon would take place the next day, and it was quite affordable (around 60 dollars) for 2 nights and 3 days.
By the time we reached the hotel, it was around noon and it was already time for lunch, and as usual we didn’t know what to eat. There was such a large variety, Shanghainese food, Japanese food, Oriental Cuisine, Indonesian food, fast food. I recalled that Taco Bell had opened its doors in Shanghai and we had talked about trying the food there since it opened last year, and luckily for us, it was only about 40 minutes away by bus.
Our little annoyance (and I’m being very nit picky here) during this trip in Shanghai was that we had to have coins to travel in the bus and the metro. In Suzhou, we have our student card which we can recharge with money to pay in the bus and metro but here we couldn’t find a machine selling the cards for multiple journeys.
Sooo, we reach the stop near Taco Bell and lo and behold, we see the very impressive Pearl Tower and the World Financial Tower looking all so grandiose.
We took a few pictures and off we went to Taco Bell. The place had mostly foreigners in it, which was surprising to me. In fact, ever since I got in Shanghai, I see many more foreigners here than in Suzhou. I start comparing Suzhou to Shanghai a lot.
Anyways, we order our food and find a seat and here I find a delightful little thing, a sauce dispenser. I. Love. Sauces. Especially Sriracha. I got a small cup filled with sriracha and one filled with salsa. The food nachos and tacos were not bad. I liked the nachos more than the tacos. I felt that the tacos were average and not amazing. The filling though was spicy just like I like.
After lunch, we headed to century park. We wanted to check out the place before the next day’s event, because we didn’t want to get lost and miss it. It was a new place to us.
We ended up walking way too much. We had to go to the entrance number 1, but we reached entrance 7 and had to walk a looong way. When we reached entrance number 1, we realised that had we taken a different line, we could have avoided walking so much. Anyways, we got a look of where we were to go and continued with the plan we had made; going to 新天地 (xin tian di). Xin tian di consists of an area of reconstituted traditional mid-19th century shikumen (“stone gate”) houses on narrow alleys, some adjoining houses which now serve as book stores, cafes and restaurants, and shopping malls. It was a relaxing walk (See photos at the end). In the evening, we went to one of the restaurants called Chalisi in SOHO mall. I had roast duck and noodles and a wonderful wonderful pastry which was sooo delicious.
The night ended with us returning to the hotel and getting a good amount of sleep to be fresh for the marathon the next day!
If you want to know more about what I did in Shanghai and how the marathon was, you can read all about it here.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.