My observations from Shanghai

As I am getting ready to leave the city that I lived in for the past 3 weeks, I began reminiscing some of my daily experiences during my stay here.

Approximately 25 million people live in this city. Regardless of where are, it is pretty crowded. I heard that life style in Shanghai is somewhat comparable to living in New York. I have only visited NY a few times, never have lived there for 3 weeks!

residential 2

Residential buildings

Check out these residential buildings

A local resident told me that a unit in these buildings (these are located right in the center of the city) costs about 2 Million US dollars. Living space could be anywhere in the range of 950 – 1200 sq. feet.

Traffic is very hectic between 7 and 10 am in the morning. Subway network connects most parts of the city and is a convenient mode of travel. Least expensive too!

Inside a subway

Inside a subway, it is rare to see a train that is not crowded

On a particular day, we worked late and could not get a taxi back to the hotel. We decided to walk to the nearest subway station. I was privileged to see some real crowds that evening.

People leaving work

People leaving work

Crowd 3

People waiting to cross the road to get to the subway station

A long line waiting outside the subway station

A long line waiting outside the subway station

If you buy a cup of coffee, it always comes with a bag. I wondered about the purpose of this bag. I quickly observed a lot of people travel by motor cycles, bikes etc. There is a hook in front where you can hang the bag and take a sip from the cup during the stop at traffic lights. How convenient! Really customer friendly!

Coffee bouquet?

Coffee bouquet?

As I travel by taxi in the morning, I notice some roadside shops selling various foods. It ranges from hot breakfast items to live chicken, meats, vegetables and fruits. People living in nearby apartments come out and buy these items. I have also seen some office goers stop and buy some breakfast before rushing through the traffic again. People walk and eat at the same time, it is a common sight here especially during the morning rush hour.

Street Markets

Street Markets

Roadside 1

Roadside Cafes

We had a fun experience with local breakfast as well. My team was scheduled for a field visit to Wuxi (pronounced as “Wushi”), a city that is 3 hours from Shanghai. We started the trip at 7 am in the morning. Around 9 am the driver stopped the car and gave us a restroom break. After a few minutes, he hands over to each one of us a local breakfast item that he purchased at a roadside cafe. It was a brownish (soy sauce) rice pudding with meat filling. Those of us that don’t eat meat were provided tea eggs. It was really delicious!

My team mates enjoying the local food

My team mates enjoying the local food

A close-up shot!

A close-up shot!

Restaurant that served our breakfast items

Restaurant that served our breakfast items

One thing that I have to come to appreciate about Shanghai is the safety factor, especially during night times. It is absolutely safe to walk on the streets even during mid-night. It is normal during these times to run into fellow strollers and even police men on their night rounds. Taxis are available in great numbers as well, if you need one in the wee hours of the morning.

Never leave Shanghai without experiencing the night lights. Almost all sky scrapers are adorned with colorful lights, some change patterns and colors as you gaze up and admire their beauty. This is probably the best I liked about this city!

 

Standing in front of the oriental pearl tower

Standing in front of the oriental pearl tower

 

Sky scrapers at night

Sky scrapers at night

Night 4 Night 3

Although it is hard for me to say good bye, I am ready to go to Columbus and connect with my family again. I had so many good experiences, some challenging ones of course, as expected. But overall, the whole experience was undeniably good for my growth – both intellectual and emotional. So, with a heavy heart and bitter sweet emotions I bid farewell to Shanghai, the city I called home for 3 weeks.

Zhujiajiao – Shanghai’s Venice

With our final presentation behind, we had 2 full days for shopping and sightseeing before getting on the plane to Columbus. Most of Thursday was spent on shopping. We walked around Nanjing road shopping mall purchasing sundry items such as purses, compact make up mirrors, sports jerseys, scarves etc.

Friday, the last day of our stay, we decided to do some last minute sightseeing. We took a bus to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town that is about an hour away from Shanghai. The trip was well worth it, the view was scenic and breathtaking.

A view of the water town

A view of the water town

Water canal that runs through the middle of the town

Water canal that runs through the middle of the town

Zhujiajiao means “Zhu Settlement” or “Zhu Family Corner” in mandarin. This town also has another elegant name called “Pearl Stream”.  This little town is the best-preserved among the ancient towns in Shanghai. From the pictures posted, you can view unique old bridges, small rivers shaded by willow trees, gondolas gliding on the canal and houses with courtyards. The whole environment magically transported us to a new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquility.

Ancient bridge

Ancient bridge

My friends standing over a covered archway

My friends standing over a covered archway

backyards

Backyards

with trees

Scenic view of houses

water town (2)

Boat docking station

While we were in the town, we visited another local tourist attraction –                             The City God temple.

The Main hall of the City God Temple

The main hall of the City God temple

CGT3

A closer view of the main entrance

Pictures below are from the interior portion of the temple –

The City Gods

The City Gods

Inside CGTCGT4 CTG5

Another portion of the temple was dedicated to Buddha

Buddha temple

Buddha temple

My friends were very happy with the trip and we all returned to Shanghai well satisfied. I sensed the trip to Zhujiajiao appeased my thirsts for sightseeing and I was ready to pack my bags to come back home.

 

 

Want to relax? Visit Suzhou gardens!

Image

As you know, my team has been in Shanghai for about a couple of weeks now and we wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. A couple of Shanghai locals advised us to visit Suzhou. It is a city in Jiangsu province and is famous for beautiful gardens and traditional waterside architecture.

The day of our visit however started out to be disappointing! We were denied train tickets to Suzhou because we did not have passports with us. So, we ended up taking an hour and half long bus ride to get to Suzhou. When we were struggling with directions with a map (Chinese version) in our hands, a Suzhou local came to our rescue. He directed us to take a stroll along this waterside street, supposedly a very popular tourist attraction, which eventually led us to the Humble Administrator’s Garden.

I have captured some interesting moments encountered along the way…

Dim Sum assortment – 2 Yuan each

Dim Sum1

Dim Sum 2 Dim Sum 3

 

The waterfront houses

waterfront houses

The Gondola ride

Gondola 1Gondoal 2

 

Have a cup of Jasmine Tea

Jasmine TeaTea

 

Rickshaws

Rickshaws

Gift store

Gift Store

All this fun just on the way to the gardens. Once inside the gardens, I was astounded by the peace and serenity of the place. It was a great spiritual experience!

Here are a few jewels of traditional Chinese architecture

bridge gaden 4 garden 2 garden 3 garden 4 garden gazebo 3 Tradtional Arch 1

 

With my friends Melissa and Dilyana

 With Melissawith Dilyana

We ended up reaching Shanghai around 10 pm after a great day in Suzhou.

 

The Tian Zi Fang – A Serendipitous Find!

The Tian Zi Fang is an arts and crafts center located in the French Concession area of Shanghai.

In this post I want to tell you the story of how we happened to find this place. It was our very first weekend in Shanghai. On that rainy Sunday morning, my team got ready to meet the OSU shanghai gateway office director for lunch. The gateway office is located in Taicang road. After a long subway ride, we arrived at Taikang road and started to roam around the street trying to locate the office.

About 45 minutes into the search, we realized that we were on Taikang road as opposed to Taicang road. It was too late to make the lunch appointment, and we were all famished as it was well past the lunch time. We started looking for a place to eat and turned into a side street. And there it was –  Tian Zi Fang…what a beautiful thing!

Tian Zi Fang Arts & Crafts Center

Tian Zi Fang Arts & Crafts Center

The street view
The street view

We found restaurants from around the world…Ireland, Spain, India, New York

 

Irish Restaurant

Irish Restaurant

NewYork Pizza
New York Pizza

Spanish Restaurant

Spanish Restaurant

Variety of collections were on display… portraits, jewelry, tea mugs, tea and flowers

Handmade Jewelry A portrait Fresh Food Market Hanging Flower Garden Tea Cups Collection TeaHouse

Finally, we settled on an exotic Chinese & Thai restaurant for lunch. The settings reminded me of a rain forest. We were seated upstairs, the walls and the roof were made of glass and was surrounded by lush greenery. It was raining, of course.

Seated for lunch, finally!!

Seated for lunch, finally!!

Lunch 2

Rice in a Pineapple shell

Rice in a Pineapple shell

After a few more rounds of sightseeing and shopping, we decided to call it a day.

Good Bye!

Good Bye Tian Zi Fang!

 

 

Hello Shanghai!

First day adventure in Shanghai streets…Morning Breakfast

Our team arrived in Shanghai on May 2nd. We were all so tired from a straight 15 hours flight travel and the jet lag from 12 hours time difference (It is a day and night difference, seriously!). The following day refreshed from a long sleep, my team was ready to explore the city on foot. Itinerary for the day – spontaneity is the word. First stop – fresh dim sum buns for breakfast at a local dim sum shop.

Next stop: A local fresh fruit market that sold exotic fruits like Durian and Dragon that are rare in United States…

Durian

Durian

 

Dragon Fruits

Dragon Fruits

Stay tuned for more of street adventures in Shanghai!

Visit to the magical “Bund”

Introducing the “Shanghai Six” team

Left to right: Vanitha, Kevin, Brad, Ryan, Mehdi & Dilyana

Left to right: Vanitha, Kevin, Brad, Ryan, Mehdi & Dilyana

On May 3rd, we took a subway to view “The Bund” – the water front promenade located at the bank of river Huang Pu. The  day we visited this world famous sight was on a Chinese holiday (May day holidays), so we were greeted by a lot of local Chinese tourists. I found people in this country to be friendly and warm. An occasional smile or a greeting such as “Welcome to China” were heart warming!

The oriental pearl tower

The oriental pearl tower

The oriental pearl tower is a TV tower, a tall structure that towers above most of the buildings in the bund.

Here is another picturesque view of Shanghai Skyline

Buildings on the other side of the Huang Pu river

Buildings on the other side of the Huang Pu river

Who would expect to see this breath taking flower garden in the middle of high rise buildings cluster?

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Here are other buildings that are part of the Bund.

More of "The Bund"

More of the “The Bund”

Overall, exploring Shanghai on foot proved to be a worthwhile expedition. We returned back to the hotel well satisfied!