Monday, June 8, 2015

Shanghai Pictures and Videos

I arrived at the Shanghai Hilton around 7:00p after a nonstop flight to Shanghai (PVG) from LAX. I wasn't very hungry because I was so tired so I skipped dinner, but I went to the executive lounge to get a small snack and water. After that I showered and went to sleep. I had a big day the next day because I was meeting some government and school officials in a suburb of Shanghai called Kunshan. This was the view from my room when I arrived. 

After a fairly good night's sleep, I ate breakfast at the huge buffet spread in the restaurant on the lobby level. It was great with all kinds of food on offer including my favorite dim sum. I had too much for breakfast so I wasn't hungry for lunch, but I knew that it would be a long time before I would have the chance to eat again. So I grabbed a quick snack in the executive lounge before I went to Kunshan. This is the view of Shanghai from the lounge.

I had a really long afternoon visiting and meeting people, so I was happy to return to the hotel for some rest. I checked out their gym and it's a very nice health club that has a lot of locals as members. I wasn't all that hungry for dinner so I just had some xiao long bao, which is the famous Shanghai dumpling, in the lobby restaurant where I ate breakfast earlier that day.

The next day I visited an office building where the company who was arranging my school visits was located. It was a foggy day and the view wasn't that great.

After another long day of meeting and visiting people, I had a little free time to walk around near my hotel. I found a food hall that had a bunch of great snack food samples and other things. I found this place making little cakes that were probably filled with red bean paste.

While walking around I found another food court in a different shopping mall that had a great name for their Vietnamese restaurant.

After a quick nap back at my hotel, I was determined to find the nearest Din Tai Fung location I could find. Luckily there was one within walking distance in the plaza where the Ritz Carlton is located. It was fantastic as always.

I tried the spicy wontons plus my usual xiao long bao and they were excellent. It wasn't until I was paying my bill that the server realized I was American. She asked me in Chinese and I was surprised that I understood her. Once I was sufficiently stuffed, I walked back to my hotel.

On my last full day in Shanghai, I had a guide and my usual driver take me around the city. Our first stop was the Jade Buddha temple. This was April 5, which was the Qingming festival, or grave sweeping festival. Apparently a lot of people go home for this holiday, but there still seemed to be a lot of people and families in the city. I was fortunate enough be at the temple during a ceremony for this festival. It was crowded and many monks were taking part in the ceremony.

These two ladies were the patrons of the ceremony and I guess that means they paid for it. I walked around the temple with my guide and took some pictures of the things I was allowed to.

This is a marble replica of the reclining Jade buddha. This one I could take a picture of. It is not the case with the actual one, so I don't have a picture of the real one.

After seeing the temple, we went to the Yuyuan gardens. This is located in the old town, which has become a bit of a tourist trap. There are a bunch of dumpling restaurants and tons of shops. The gardens were built by some aristocrat as his house, but then ran out of money. So the emperor/government took it over.

I was told that the emperor was not happy with this guy using the dragon in the architecture because it was saved as the symbol of the emperor only. But the argument was that this wasn't really a dragon because it has only 3 claws instead of 4 like the emperor's dragon does.

There was a food hall/cafeteria in the same area as the gardens and the sheer amount of food was incredible. Just about everything was fried, but it smelled wonderful. I have no idea what these things cost, but I imagine that it wasn't very expensive. 

After exploring the old town, I went across the Huangpu River to the newer side of Shanghai where the giant skyscrapers are located. It was quite a gloomy day and the clouds were hanging low and covering the tops of these huge buildings. 

I went up into the shortest of these 3 buildings, the Jin Mao tower. It was once the tallest building in Shanghai, but is no longer. This is a shot looking down the middle of the building and I think this section, which only goes down about 1/3 of the way down, is the Grand Hyatt.

Later that evening I took a river cruise that gave me a great view of all the buildings on each side of the river. The lights and the moving pictures on the face of many buildings is so cool.

On my last morning before my flight left, I went for a stroll along East Nanjing Rd, which has a ton of shopping. I found a Giordano, so that I could get my I <3 SH t-shirt. My time in Shanghai was very short, but it was still nice to be in the city.