Category Archives: China

They said you haven’t visited Shanghai, China until hitting the Bund. Some of the buildings there were built in Gothic and Baroque styles.

Shanghai

Hi, I’m back with another blog post that is long overdue!

Should have blogged about this almost a year ago but I’m only more free this time around to have sorted out and uploaded the pictures. And all the pictures now seem super old to me!

You can read other posts about my trip to Suzhou here, here, and here.

The reason why out of a sudden I’m blogging about Shanghai is because during my trip to Suzhou, Laurence and Hoe decided that hanging around only in Suzhou wouldn’t do my travel experience any justice and spontaneously wanted to take me for a day trip to Shanghai.

Since taking a bullet train from Suzhou to Shanghai only takes about 25 minutes, a day trip there definitely wasn’t a problem.

On top of that Hoe was and still is working in Shanghai so at the end of the day we could send her off before going back.

Woke up early in the morning (probably to Laurence’s utmost horror because I think he wished to sleep more and I did this to him like everyday) to dry some clothes before departing from Laurence’s condo unit.

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Waking up in the morning during winter had proven to be the most suffering period of the day because you just cannot do any business comfortably on the toilet bowl, have a morning bath, or brush your teeth without feeling the unbearable coldness with room temperature being approx. -4 degrees Celsius.

Worst of all lao zi got a pain-derful experience trying to wring out excess cold water from my clothes before air-drying them because Laurence’s washing machine decided to take a break from rinsing!

Even wearing a pair of gloves didn’t help at all!

Shots from the balcony of the orang atas’s two-floor condo unit.

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Ok, let’s abruptly end the Suzhou part and skip to journey to Shanghai.

Bullet train service from Suzhou to Shanghai cost only about RM20, which was very worthy because the train travelled very fast at a speed of slightly above 200km/hour.

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Many people thronged the Suzhou Railway Station every single second but good thing about train services there is that all trains arrive and depart on time.

Upon arrival, I think passengers have only about 3 minutes to get on the train before it forces the door shut and takes off to the next destination.

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Being boh liao on the bullet train I saw this in the magazine and imagined the obese girl being Laurence’s girlfriend and laughed to myself, like a siao, for quite a bit.

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In Shanghai!

In the picture below we were at the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Walkway, which I only realised now is famously named one of the World’s Seven Great Roads in 1930.

Apparently it is a significant landmark in Shanghai with lots of shopping centers and shops where fashion-seeking shoppers would throng.

And now I finally understand why Hoe said a picture with a stele that reads “Nanjing Lu Bu Xing Jie” (Nanjing Road Pedestrian Walkway) is a must.

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Heading for brunch. And guess what we were looking for?

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Shanghai’s famous steamed buns, which explode juice of pure heaven in your mouth upon a bite.

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Definitely one of the best cuisines I had tried in China!

As our “side” dish we ordered handmade noodles, which went so very well with the chilli provided. Can’t believe a simple bowl of noodles like that could taste so good!

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If you don’t understand the photo below, I was trying to take a photo of the great chef making the noodles but failed miserably.

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Shanghai is also known for its pan-fried baozi (filled buns). Wanted to eat some but everyone was stuffed after eating the our lavish lunch.

On a different note, they said you have not visited Shanghai until hitting the Bund.

Can’t recall much what we did after our brunch, but I think we loitered around the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Walkway and shopped a bit before heading to the Shanghai Bund.

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In front of the famous Peace Hotel, which I remember is a super historical building or sort.

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Just look at the crazy fella in the picture below who took the safety risk to stand in the middle of the road to take a photo for friends.

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The Pearl Tower:

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The Pearl tower didn’t intrigue me so much with its rather unique but still lackluster architecture so I insisted to skip going up!

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After that we went to explore streets around the Bund area.

Some of the buildings were built in Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism, and Renaissance styles due to past historical events and are definitely great places for photo-shooting.

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In one of the posts where I blogged about the famous Pingjiang road in Sushou, I mentioned about a retail chain that provides an unusual “slow mail” service that helps customers deliver letters into the future.

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Well I saw one of its chain stores in Shanghai too. And if you understand Chinese, the the last label in the picture below says a letter to be delivered within 4 years costs $30 (approx. RM3).

Laurence and Hoe trespassing into private area again! JENG!!!

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Along some of the hustle and bustle of Shanghai’s smaller streets, it was such an eye-opener to see this:

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LOL what a way of utilising natural resources.

Heading to Tian Zi Fang – an art and craft marketplace with old, refurbished buildings comprised of artistic shops, as well as exotic restaurants and bars. It is a neighbourhood of alleyways off the Taikang Road.

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Look at the map and see for yourself how complicated the place is.

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Didn’t buy much from there though except for some notebooks with absurd titles to be gifted to friends just for fun.

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Laurence then wanted to do some pretentious artsy-fartsy “looking away” photos, and then…

.

.

.

.

.

(Disastrous cases ahead)

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Just see what this ding doing was doing. Le sigh.

Our next destination – the Jing’an Temple.

In a city so developed and fast-moving like Shanghai where morale remains fragile, Laurence said he thought it was good that people turn to religion to seek a sense of belonging and peace of mind.

I couldn’t agree more.

I found mine in my own religion. In fact I made my solo trip to Hatyai last year to visit Wat Hat Yai Nai, which houses the third largest reclining Buddha status in the world (also the largest in southern Thailand).

While studying and admiring the huge Buddha statue, the kind of serenity and bliss I felt in my heart was something I had never before experienced.

Anyway at the courtyard of the Jing’an Temple, people were throwing coins into a giant metal incense burner for luck. My first attempt had the coin successfully thrown into the one of the upper “windows”.

Laurence giving his attempts:

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The incense sticks and the way people burn them are rather different compared to Malaysia. Or maybe there are similar practices in Malaysia too but so far I haven’t come across anything like that.

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Saw this touching scene at the Jing’an Temple, which got me blown away by what I saw in the two women:

  1. Filial piety/kind-heartedness displayed by the daughter/lady stranger.
  2. The never-give-up spirit of the old women.

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I think the picture below is one of the very, very few pictures Hoe took with us! Sigh, why she so camera-shy one?

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And that kind of ends our day-trip in Shanghai.

To me Shanghai is just another commercial city with lots of crowds and cars. Modern and fast and all that, except that I prefer exploring around cities or outskirts that are less developed or underdeveloped.

Potong steam moment on the way back: Professor Laurence revising Maths questions on the train.

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But who could blame him, right – he had to teach early next morning!

Loitering around “Venice of China” at Pingjiang Road, Suzhou

I scrolled through the first few pages of this blog to have realised my entries on my Suzhou-Shanghai trip stopped at part 1. :(

Wanted to give up blogging the China trip but felt rather wasted when there are so many great pictures of the trip (my friend Jeff even edited them for me). So here comes the long due part 2.

Just in case you’re wondering why I’m calling it “Venice of China” – it’s just a nickname given to Suzhou because, just like Venice of Italy, there are many canals running through the city.

And this particular one I went to – the Pingjiang Road, it’s much older than your great great great great grandparents. It’s 800 years old!

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

I read somewhere that another canal is 1,200 years old and I don’t know why Laurence didn’t mention that one.

From one end to another end of the Pinjiang Road I figure there must be  over a hundred of little shops, stores, and boutiques that run parallel to and overlook the canal.

Some of the folks living on the other side of the canal washed their clothes in the canal and it proved difficult to do so in the winter period without using a pair of gloves!

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Although there was sunlight and the water did not froze it just literally chilled the hell out of you by just dipping your fingers into the water!

Hoe going near the canal to take pictures. I, on the other hand, felt very tempted to kick her from behind ahhahahah!

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

OK, back to the other side of the canal where commercial activities took place.

There were an abundance of guest houses along the Pingjiang Road and all of them were rather unique in their own way – much like those around the historic core of Malacca.

Take note of the cafe in the picture below that looks like a ke zhan (ancient hostel) from those wuxia films.

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

A peep into the building revealed it wasn’t a hostel actually, but a cafe with a super homely environment. There were fishes in that big, tall glass!

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Where else except China can one find flags like that hanging outside the olden shops? NICE OR NOT THE SETTING?

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

There were too many little shops with strong conceptual underpinnings. While shops like this to have only begun popularising in major Malaysian cities like the Klang Valley and Malacca, they are simply everywhere in tourists spots across China.

There was this chain store that provided a “slow” mailing service for customers to send postcards into the future. Along with the thousands of postcards to choose from, they also sold souvenirs.

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

I wanted to send one to myself too but unfortunately the service was only available in China only. -_-

Occasionally in between rows of shops, we observed a small, narrow alleyway leading to someone’s home.

Laurence and Hoe checking out random uncle’s/auntie’s home. Hahhaha sorry for assuming that the younger generation doesn’t like staying at such a place because Laurence said he would never stay there!

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

I told Laurence I wouldn’t mind though, and he called me siao.

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Visitors can go on a boat ride and sailor would take you from one end to another, which I think  should keep them occupied for quite a bit of time considering the long distance involved.

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Took this photo because the rack wasn’t fixed to the wall. It was hung against the wall by using jute rope.

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Chilled ourselves out at Laurence’s favourite coffee house Momicafe. Couldn’t retrieve any picture of the exterior so…

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Besides the drinks, other items on sale like coffee beans, postcards, notebooks, and bookmarks really completed the homely atmosphere that Momicafe was trying to create.

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

I remember buying one of these notebooks sold at the coffee house but I have forgotten whom I gave it to.

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Sat down to have a cup of milk tea – which tasted FANTABULOUS!!!

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

See the 1st floor of the Momicafe!

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Syiok right?

I think the reason why we did not choose to go to the first floor was because of the crowds.

While having our tea, a group of fashionistas cum photographers brought in their camera equipments and started taking pictures near where we sat. Apparently people were allowed to take pictures inside the cafe.

Ping Jiang Road, Suzhou, China

Finally get done with the second and last post on Pinjiang Road of Suzhou. I had taken too many pictures there!

I shall blog about Shanghai in the next entry.