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Published: July 27th 2006
Yuyuan Gardens Bazaar
Described in Lonely Planet as "a Disneyland version of historical China", this busy shopping district is still fun to visit and experience some of the local culture and cuisine. I love watching the local tourists enjoying themselves.
My teaching schedule means that I finish at 11.30am on Fridays and don't recommence until 7.50am on the following Tuesday. So it's time to spread the wings and head to Shanghai "town"!
Shanghai is an uneventful (except for the often chaotic traffic!) 3.5hr bus ride from Taizhou.
Life has been made easier for me this visit as my old school pal Judy Ashcroft and her husband Brian are in town. They have kindly extended me an invitation to stay with them.
Their apartment is right downtown in Huaihai Zudong Lu and a short 5 minute walk from the metro. We are on the 20 something floor with almost 360 degree views of the Shanghai skyline- absolutely spectacular, day or night!
On arrival, Jude warmly welcomed me and we started to talk animatedly, the years melting away in minutes. Brian arrived shortly after, so we then settled in for a treat (for me, that is!) of great Aussie cheeses, prime beef steak and salad, and a good red wine! I felt absolutely spoilt! Who would have thought I would have enjoyed a steak so much- I don't normally eat it at home?
Next day, cruised into the day slowly,
More "Disneyland " History
Temple of the Town Gods. I just love the architecture.
then decided to get out and about. Wandered down to the famous Bund to get a feel for this big city. For those not in the know, The Bund used to be considered by Europeans as the Shanghai "Wall St". It is an area stretching along the very muddy banks of the Huangpu River that is lined by a number of 1930's style buildings of Euro/American architecture. The view across to Pudong new area was hazy and not particularly inviting, I will leave the "trippy tunnel" experience (as a friend of mine calls it!) for another visit. (A "pedestrian" tunnel runs under the river linking Puxi to Pudong)
Dinner out that night was at Jude and Brian's favourite Thai restaurant called "Simply Thai" and is located in the "preserved" area of Dongping Lu. There are a number of branches around town, but this one seems to be considered the best for food, service and atmosphere.
The place is cosy and has a lovely garden patio/courtyard at the back that is private and protected from the cool weather, while still maintaining it's outside "feel". The food is scrumptious and my taste buds revelled in the wonderful Thai flavours.
This entrance leads to the Yuyuan Gardens area and Temple of The Town Gods
was bright and clear, so a great day to "on the road" reasonably early. I was keen to check out the famous Xiang Yang (Fake) Market before its pending closure (yes, more redevelopment) later in June. Jude was more than happy to have a "girl" to do the "shopping/market" thing, so eagerly obliged. Brian wandered off elsewhere to eye off some lovely stone statues. With Jude's help in bargaining, I was well satisfied with some cashmere sweaters and a great North Face pack for my adventures later in the year.
Next stop, Yuyuan Gardens Bazaar area. As it's Sunday we wisely agree that we don't need to see the gardens themselves today, so are satisfied to wander around with the thousands of others.
Here's to a great weekend and rekindled friendships!
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