Saturday, February 03, 2007

Shanghai High!

As promised, below are a few things worth mentioning about, and some of the places we've been to, on our one-week stay at the Paris of the Far East (a.k.a. Shanghai).

THE BUND. My brother actually took us across The Bund to better appreciate a view of The Bund. We were on the other side of Huangpu River, hence giving us great photo ops with The Bund as background. While walking across The Bund, I can't help but think if this would also be the same nostalgic feeling I would feel had I attempted to walk along our own Luneta Park. Probably not, but that's a different story. Anyway, we visited The Bund at night which means we got to see all the buildings in all their lighted glory. Funny coz when you get there you'll get to think if the Shanghainese people get their electricity for free, coz everything just seems to be lighted. Even the side of the river has running lights that change color every so often. And, if you've seen one of those driving billboards around Metro Manila (those vehicles that seem to be a driving advertisement for whatever product it is that's posted on their side...but just actually adds to the Metro Manila traffic), then you'll have an idea about what i'm about to mention: imagine that, but only in water. Yep, you read it right: WATER. They have swimming billboards as I would like to call it. And mind you, it's more high tech coz the screen on this lighted billboards actually change as they go along. How cool is that? HAHA!

The Swimming Billboard

THE PEARL TOWER. Being the naive Shanghai tourist that I am, I first thought there were 2 Pearl Towers, only to find out later on that there was actually only ONE but with TWO pearls (Aba! ZAGU, istatue?Ü) on top and one near the bottom.Ü Nice! I learned something new that day...haha! Anyway, I can't tell you much about what to expect when you get inside the Pearl Tower since I never made it inside (And my Dad's to blame! Luv yah Papa! HAHAHA!). You may check out this site for more information: As for now, I'll just add this in my mental checklist of places to check out once I visit Shanghai again.

THE GRAND HYATT HOTEL. Hindi man lang ako nakapasok dito. =( Pero at least, nakita at na-picture-an ko yung labas! (Haha! I'm just trying to comfort myself here.) Anyway, "Grand Hyatt Shanghai in China is the 'highest hotel in the world' (53rd to 87th floors of the Jin Mao Tower), in the centre of Pudong, Shanghai's financial and business district. The Hotel provides easy access to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Shanghai World Financial Centre and the International Conference Centre. The hotel is just 50 minutes' drive from Pudong Airport." ( Ayan...content yourself with that...I obviously can't share to you any insights on this place seeing as I wasn't even able to see the interiors of it. Nonetheless, here's the picture I took of it, and additional mental note to self: add this in the places to visit on my next trip to the Paris of the Far East.Ü

IKEA...the karpintero's haven! HEHEHE! Joke! But really, I just love shopping at Ikea. Even when we were in the US before, Ikea never fails to put a smile in my face. They have everything that one could use to improve or beautify any part of a home: may it be the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living area, name it, they have tons of stuff available to beautify/improve it. Two of my prized purchases at Ikea are the apple green ladybug lamp that now resides on the wall beside my bed; and the laundry-lalagyan-slash-sabitan that I use NOT as a dirty laundry container, but as a container of sorts where I put all the remote controls, my mini jacket, pantulog, and other anik-anik in my room (the one I bought at Shanghai is colored fuschia, while the one I bought in the US in 2004 was apple green Ü).

MAGLEV (Magnetic Levitation) TRAIN, which we rode after getting picked up by my bro at the airport. It has no engine and no tracks and runs up to 431kph (the train has an LCD indicator showing its speed in real time. See pictures below.). As the name indicates, it basically runs on magnets and loads of electricity (in order to levitate and actually make the train run).

TMSK BAR and RESTO (sorry guys, I don't know what part of Shanghai this is actually in. Basta, it's like Shanghai's version of Libis). You'll just be awed by what you'll see there. One room even had lots of crystals hanging from the ceiling (see pic). My sister, who went to Shanghai with her hubby a few months before us, was treated to another TMSK branch as well (same vicinity as the one we visited, but I think they were brought to the RESTO while we were brought to the BAR/LOUNGE) and was awed (thus, kept on telling me via SKYPE) of the Lotus Flower-Fountain near the washroom of that place and that we should check it out when we get there. We didn't see that alright, but in the TMSK where we went, the washroom was awesome as well, with its walls lined up with vertical strips of mirrors (yes, mirrors!). Of course, I didn't take a picture of that lest you see me doing my thing in the bathroom throne (hehe!).

PEOPLE RESTAURANT. To get in to this resto, you have to have a reservation, basically because you have to have a unique password to get in...literally! And i'm not talking about the open sesame stuff! My brother, who made the reservation, remembered the wrong password thus we were left there sticking our hand on what we assume should be numbers (like in the telephone). Good thing another guest came & the real door opened (if you have the wrong password, the door opposite the real one opens revealing a full-body mirror, hence, nothing to enter into) so we got in & confirmed that we were indeed missing one number in our password.Ü That aside, we were ushered to our table & the first thing you'll notice is that there's barely any lighting in the resto except for the spotlights directly hitting the table (so that you'll see where your orders are & what you're eating). The walls have no paint & yet the resto looks classy & elegant. My brother calls this a designer resto, much like designer watches who's aim is mostly on the aesthetics rather than the purpose. The resto was pretty much the same: you'll ooh-and-aah with its gimmickry (e.g. no lights but spotlights; no wall paints; no password, no entry; etc.) but you can't say the same with their dishes. Well, the food tastes good but servings were small. I guess that's all I can say. Oh wait! They have this dish that literally moves...I even took a video of it (click this link). They say it moves coz of the air. Basta, I was just so amazed. HAHA! Ngayon lang ata ako nakakita ng pagkain na gumagalaw! Astig! One more thing worth mentioning is their washroom: it's hard to figure out how to get in coz the door knob is on the hinge side of the door. You actually have to push the side opposite of where the door knob is in order to open the door. That was the first challenge. The second is that in order to turn on the lights inside the washroom, you have to lock the door (this is not that hard). And yet again, the toilet bowl is placed in fornt of a full-body mirror (what is it with Shanghainese people & mirrors?!?!!!Ü) so you get to see yourself peeing (I really don't know why you'd want to see that) or whatever it is you're doing inside the washroom.

SOUTH BEAUTY RESTAURANT basically specializes on sze-chuan cuisine. We ate lunch here on our 2nd day in Shanghai, and all i can say is: HOT! HOT! HOT! Literally! Coz almost all of the dishes served to us were spicy & super hot! Case in point: the soup where half of the bowl consisted of sili & the other half the rest of the ingredients & the soup. At first i thought it was some kind of herb that the waiter was scooping out of the bowl. But my brother said, "Hindi, sili yan." My reaction was, "HUWAT?!?!???!!! Ang dami naman!" Their food presentation though was something to boast about.
They have this porkloin dish (like ham...see pic for better appreciation), where you put stuff inside it, roll it, and it eat as-is. Then there's this other soup that's placed in a mini teapot with matching mini teacup. You get 1 tepot-teacup set each and pour some soup on your teacup and appreciate every bit of it. I don't know what's so special with this soup (aside from it's placed in a really cute container), but according to my brother, expensive daw yun. I can't remember the reason why...anyhow, masarap naman sya...malasa...and at least, hindi maanghang

"Miss it and you miss Shanghai." This is the tagline on the website ( of the ACROBATIC SHOW my brother treated us to...which was to my Dad's dismay, coz he initially thought that it's not worthit, being the it-must-be-worth-the-money kind of guy. But he just had praises to say after the show, basically because the show was worth the 180 Yuan (1,134 Pesos) spent. I didn't have any pictures of the show simply because they indicated there that pictures or videos are not allowed to be taken (which was also the rule during the Bench Fashion Show, but I didn't listen then. This time, since i'm in a different country, I listened.Ü). So you'll just have to imagine these: acrobats on motorcycles running around a sphere of metal; chinese dancers spinning plates on a stick; a fat guy balancing and throwing a jumbo jar in the air and actually catching it either with his foot, hand, or head; contortionists who fit themselves in a jar, walked like scorpions on stage, and did some pyramid acts on top of one another; lovers who tumbled and jumbled on a piece of cloth hanging from the ceiling and supporting themselves with either their hand, foot, or body while hanging on air; and more. You just have to be there to see how awesome their performances are...believe me.Ü

YUYUAN GARDEN. When we went here to shop and I can't help but be reminded of our very own Binondo. These 2 places look very much the same, if not for the mostly chinese-speaking people you encounter along the way. I said "mostly" because you'll get to see a lot of tourists as well, with their groups marked with little flaglets in order to see where the tour guide is and to avoid getting lost among the crowd. The shops here mostly sell traditional chinese items like teapot-teacup sets, placemats with matching chopsticks, and your name painted chinese-style then placed on a frame. If you wander a little bit further into one of those little streets surrounding the main block, you'll find stores that are very much similar to those in Divisoria that sell items at a much cheaper price (than those in the main block). There was even this store we stumbled upon that sells all their items at 2 yuans each! Talk about a great bargain! Anyway, all those shopping made us hungry so we decided to eat shalumpao in one of those stores there. A shalumpao (i'm not even sure about the spelling), which was introduced to us by my brother on our first night at Shanghai, is similar to the siomai we Filipinos have learned to love. However, the shalumpao, aside from having the meat filling inside the wrapper, also has soup inside. Yes, you read it right: SOUP. May sabaw sa loob yung siomai. And it's not just your typical bola-bola-sized siomai, mind you. The shalumpao at Yuyuan Garden (at least the one we tried), is as big as a mini siopao, and tastes really, really good! I'm actually craving for it now as i'm writing this (I'll probably fly to Shanghai one of these weekends just to eat shalumpao at Yuyuan Garden...HAHAHA!)! Since the shalumpao has soup and meat in it, it's served with a straw (aside from the staple chinese utensil of chopsticks) for drinking the soup. I'm regretting now why I didn't take a picture of the shalumpao at Yuyuan Garden so that I can share it to you guys. Well, I guess we'll just have to leave it to your imagination. I'll just add this task in my list of things to do on my next trip to Shanghai.

Well, I think i've shared enough. Hopefully, after reading ths lengthy article, you'll at least be curious about Shanghai and add it to your list of places you'd like to visit. I'll surely visit Shanghai again when given the chance. I guess that's all for now guys...Hope you enjoyed reading about my Shanghai experience! 'Til next month's blog!

Note: All animated pictures c/o PictureTrail (

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