Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A day in Shanghai...

There are countless things to do in Shanghai.  I am pretty sure that everyday you could do and see something new here.  New market, new restaurants, museums, shows etc.  It is hard to ever say you are bored.  One Saturday, when the weather was really nice, we set out to explore with our friends Adam and his Ayi.  Ayi is something that you can call an older woman who is very motherly and you are close to.  I think it translates to Auntie.  Adam met Ayi when he was living in Beijing a few years ago and they have remained close.  She had never been outside of Beijing so she came to visit and see Shanghai and we were able to spend some time with her.  She didn't speak any English but Adam was nice enough to translate so we were able to communicate.

Joel and I met up with Adam and Ayi in Xintandi, where they were getting ice cream from Cold Stone.  Funny story, we were told that someone paid the franchise fee to bring Cold Stone here and it was so popular that they opened more without telling Cold Stone.  So they just order extra to the original store and distribute it to the others.  So most of the stores are knock-offs.  Anyway, we took a walk through the park next to Xintandi and ended up in the antique market Dongtai Lu.  Most of the stuff you find here is not really antique, but it is still fun to browse through the junk and take home a few mementos.  I bought a few fun things and was lucky to have Ayi bargaining for me.  She was very tough.  The bargaining here is really an art.  If you don't speak Chinese and they don't speak English it is sometimes done on a calculator, typing in numbers until you can agree.  The Chinese have learned a few expressions to say during bargaining... "I am making no profit!" (ya right.), "Now I will not be able to feed my family tonight!" and so on.  Know this, they are always making a profit or they would not be selling it to you.  Ayi was good, because she would tell them she knew what it should cost and say she knew they were making a profit.  She worked out some good deals for me.

After the market, Adam and Ayi had another engagement so our friend Schneider came and picked us up and we went to another market to do some more shopping.  Joel wanted prescription sunglasses and I found some cute sandals.  It was getting late by then so we headed to a place Schneider thought we would like called Tianzifang.  It is an area with small pedestrian streets with a lot of art and interesting little boutiques and restaurants.  We wondered around and had a beer at an outside bar then went to a Thai restaurant called Teddy Thai.  They had thousands of teddy bears everywhere, which was weird, but the food was amazing!  And the atmosphere was great, we will definitely be going back.  It was so fun getting to discover and explore a new place in Shanghai!

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