This past weekend, we headed to Shanghai after I was done working my part time job late Friday morning. When we arrived at the Hangzhou train station we quickly realized we weren't the only ones trying to leave for the weekend as the ticket office hall had lines out the door. Usually it is a quick process, show up, buy a ticket and get on the train. This time it was show up and wait in line for over 30 minutes just to buy a ticket. We had about 45 minutes before our train departed (typically only a 20 minute wait) so we grabbed a quick lunch at BK (Burger King). This was when I had my first soda of any kind in 10 weeks and it tasted great(Orange Fanta), but I now know that my body feels much better without it.
We were feeling a little defeated as one of our reasons for going to Shanghai was to pass out fliers for our college tour
at Shanghai High School, one of the most prestigious high schools in Shanghai. We arrived at the gate 40 minutes later than we wanted due to the long lines at the ticket counter
in Hangzhou and missed our target market, so we headed to J&K's apartment only a few metro stops away to start the rest of our weekend. We lived in the same apartment complex as J&K in Shenzhen and had met up with them for dinner last Fall in Shanghai. We hung out at their place, had happy hour at Boxing Cat Brewery
(must go to if in Shanghai), then lounged at their place while they went out to a nice dinner, watched The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and slept on their AMAZING guest bed. Thanks for the fantastic night of sleep, as I know that was the best bed we have slept on since leaving the US on September 4th.
Saturday morning, we ate Starbucks for breakfast and then ventured to Le Tour's Traveler's Hostel in Jing'an District. We met up with M&K, as they stayed at the hostel Friday night, to attend a job fair for Foreigner's. This was only a ten minute walk from our hostel and was a mood booster as Pete and I marketed his Expats in Asia website, that he has been working on since Feb 2011. After lunch, we hit the
streets on a walking tour around the Jing'an district. We usually traverse Shanghai by the metro so it was cool to see the neighborhood at street level.
When our tour ended all four of us agreed a foot/leg massage was in our plans along with a drink. K had made dinner plans for the four of us to meet up with two girls that she graduated with from USF earning a Master's in Asian Pacific studies. Both former classmates were from Shanghai and returned after they graduated May 2011. We had an AMAZING dinner at Hengshan Cafe on Hengshan Lu near Gaoan Lu.
It was 8pm when we departed the cafe and decided we wanted to hit the Tianzifang area. M&K hadn't really spent anytime in Shanghai before except seeing Pudong Airport so they were open to anything the whole weekend. We strolled through the restored alleys looking in the shops, checking drink prices (more than we wanted to pay) and stumbling upon an art gallery, the artist was there talking with the customers and signing his artwork. We had no intentions of buying anything that night but we came away with a piece
of art (now hanging in our living room) and a gift for someone back home.
Sunday morning was chill, as all four of us met in the hostel's rooftop cafe for the all you can eat breakfast buffet. There is something nice about lounging in a room full of Westerners and watching BBC that I enjoy so much while living in China. Simple things in life!
Our plan was to attend Mass at noon but Pete decided that he wanted to go home and relax after an action packed weekend and before we met up with Colin to celebrate his birthday. I wasn't keen on the idea of skipping Mass as it was a beautiful church and the Priest was great last week, but was thankful once we returned to Hangzhou to unpack and unwind. Working 30 hours last week and adding in an 90 minute roundtrip commute five days a week wiped me out, but it is a good transition to adjusting back to working fulltime in the USA and most important I am enjoying what do.
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