Wet and Cold – Shanghai Part 2

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So after having two magical days in Shanghai Disneyland, Doran and I had the opportunity to spend two days in the “real” Shanghai. By real, I mean the tourist traps. We had such beautiful hot weather the days before (almost boiling) that it was a terrible surprise that our time in the city felt so cold and dreary. Here are my most memorable (not always my favourite) moments in Shanghai:

1. The Food. I had high hopes coming to Shanghai because it’s the birthplace of my favourite dumpling of all time. The Xiao Long Bao. (Here in Melbourne, we are lucky to have large and soupy dumplings just a five minute walk away). I was very interested in comparing what we can get in Australia with what they are supposed to be like in the motherland. So we went to one of the top rated chains, Jia Jia Tang Bao, and immediately asked for the English menu. Sorry mom.

img-20161020-wa0005.jpgThe flavour was amazing, but I was surprised that they are supposed to be that small. The most amazing thing was that what you see in that picture above only cost three Australian dollars!!! THREE!!!!

We also tried some Tang Bao from Nanxian Mantou Dian because it was the thing to do. Basically, it’s a giant dumpling with just soup inside and you drink it through a straw. The novelty of having a dumpling through a straw was intriguing, but after having the soup, you are left with a thick skin sack. We didn’t know if we were supposed to eat it, so we left it. Sorry Shanghai.

Some of the other food things we bought while wandering Yunnan S Road included: baos stuffed with minced meat, noodles and free range chicken. We even ordered something from a cart on the street. They were good, but not great. AND!!! We survived the night; bowels intact.

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And as usual, we tried unique McDonald’s items and even found a CoCo Curry House!

2. Yu Gardens is very picturesque. Even in the rain we got some beautiful pictures. This place is by far the biggest tourist trap I have ever seen. The massive garden itself was surrounded by an even larger “market” where you can get random trinkets and souvenirs. It is also where you can find a Starbucks every 50 steps.

3. The Bund and Shanghai Skyline are iconic to the city. I mean. Look at how the mix of modern and old work so well together. Even in the rain, it’s pretty.

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So that was our trip to Shanghai, China. Even though we had to tell the Chinese visa office our life story to get into the country, it was worth the trouble. Thanks for everything Shanghai!

Especially Disneyland.
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Too Sexy for Buddha

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So Doran and I decided it would be fun to meet up with my friends in the middle of their vacation in Thailand. Since it was our very first time going to Bangkok we thought we should share some of our experience via topics of interest like any other travel advice sites.

Accommodations

Our hotel Centre Point Silom was fantastic. The location was great: close to public transport (skytrain and ferries), in the centre of the city, close to shops, bars and other tourist attractions. The best was its breakfast buffet. It had a decent variety of hot foods (Asian and Western) and a good selection of exotic fruits; of which I made sure to stuff my face with.

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Centre Point Silom Hotel View

Food

You would think that I would have tried some authentic Thai street food during my stay in Bangkok, but you would be wrong. After witnessing the debilitating effects of eating bad street food on my friends, I was fully convinced to avoid anything bought off the streets.

Turns out that our favourite Japanese curry chain (CoCo Ichibanya) was at our new favourite mall: Siam Paragon. So how was the pad thai? I don’t know, but I can tell you how delicious CoCo Curry is!

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Experiences

This is just a fancy way travel sites call culture shock. I didn’t really have an expectation of what Bangkok would be like, but when I arrived it was certainly not what I was expecting. For such a big city, it looked so run down. The old and new clashed. It was such a stark contrast walking down the block of glass and steel that is Siam Paragon then turning the corner to see old weather worn buildings that looked like it hasn’t been cleaned for 100 years. The only thing that really pulled it all together was the air. The wall of dense, humid air sprinkled with a touch of sewage never really goes away.

Things to do

One of the top things to do for any tourist going anywhere is to encroach on sacred spaces and pretend to do so purely out of respect and curiosity. For us, we decided to go to Wat Pho; the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. This place is massive. We managed to find our way around the maze of walls and chedis and into the temple that housed the Reclining Buddha, but before we enter we were informed that as a sign of respect, everyone that visits must cover their shoulders and wear pants that go past the knees. Well, as a tourist traveling to a country with an average temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, we packed nothing but the shortest of shorts and the thinnest of tank tops.

 

Lucky for us, there were some robes that are available to sweat in while in the presence of Buddha. As Doran and I go to pick up a pair, the robe lady loudly proclaimed that it was ok for men and that the rule applied only to women. However, as we continued into the temple a random tour guide approached us to inform us that we should be putting on a robe. I obliged and turned around to pick up a robe, but was stopped by the robe lady again. The two began to argue in Thai and after a few awkward moments, I was allowed in robe-less, but was warned that I was too sexy for Buddha.

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Sorry Buddha, it is way too hot to be covering our shoulders.