Thursday, October 25, 2012

Golden Week Part Two: Shanghai

After our whirlwind trip to Suzhou, Chris and I decided to be tourists in our own town.  Since Chris started his job less than one week after our arrival to Shanghai, we have not seen many monuments as a couple.  It was about time he joined me on some local field trips.

After resting on Thursday, Friday we decided to do what many tourists long to do in Shanghai…eat street food and shop at the fake markets. 
Many street food vendors sell meat on a stick all over the city.  Good stuff! 
I'll take two...

Chinese fake markets are not for the claustrophobic or agoraphobic.  After walking through the plastic door flapped entrance, hoards of customers weave through a maze of stalls and are greeted by aggressive salespeople offering Gucci, Prada, Rolex, DVDs, Deats by Dr. Dre and more.   (That is not a typo folks. J ) Aggressive salespeople will gently grab your arm or shove a laminated product sheet in your face in hopes of landing a sale. 
Chris bargains for some DVDs.

The only problem with these markets is what you see isn’t always what you get.  For example, I thought I purchased the movie Campaign starring Will Farrell.  Imagine the disappointment I felt as I popped the movie in my DVD player to find Game Change, a movie about the McCain campaign.  I could not believe my eyes.  The DVD itself had the Campaign movie art on it.  (I double-checked.)  At least I was able to watch my other movies.  At the bargain price of 7-10 RMB ($1-$2), I should not expect these movies to be flawless.

After scoring some DVDs and a pair of ‘Prada’ shades, it was time for a rest.  

You make the call...Prada or Frada?
After rehydrating at the rooftop bar at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, we decided it was time to take in some culture.  The Shanghai Art museum was within walking distance, so we took the 10 minute walk to a museum Frommer’s called  “superb” and “full of fantastic old photographs in their original fittings”. 

When we entered the museum, we were told admission was free.  I figured that the museum was running a Golden Week special.  We walked up the stairs to see a minute clothing exhibit.  That was the only art in the museum. 

What was the artist thinking when creating this installation?

This exhibit completely redefines minimalism.

I guess the museum folks decided to clean and renovate the galleries during the break. 

We figured it was time to cut our losses, go home, and have a comfy night in.

Saturday was a brand new day.  The sun was peeking through the clouds, so we decided to take an elevator ride to the top of the Pearl Tower.  Built in 1994, the Pearl Tower was the tallest structure in China until the World Financial Center was built.  I did not care that it wasn’t the tallest structure in Shanghai.  Since the moment I saw it lit at night during our information trip in April, I knew I had to take a ride up to the top.

I could not wait to head to the top of the tower.

Needless to say, the view from the 269th floor of the tower was literally breathtaking.  I am normally not afraid of heights, but when I stepped onto the Plexiglas floor I had a minor panic attack.  “What would happen if this thing cracked?” kept playing through my mind.  

This was the view down.  

 To make matters worse, Chris told me,
“Don’t worry honey, Plexiglas is very sturdy.  That is unless the manufacturers messed up the chemistry of the materials.” 

If Plexiglas is so sturdy, why are you hanging on to a handrail and standing on a beam???

We were on the next elevator down to the lobby.

Saturday night we headed out for Turkish food...yummy!
After dinner, we decided to hang out at the House of Blues and Jazz.  Good times!
After a very relaxing week, I was very ready to get back to work!