Out and about in Shanghai

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Shanghai has been a great little reprieve from inland China - a sofistocated cosmopolitan with all of the trappings of a great place to live. In all honesty I haven't actually done alot in Shanghai, it's not really a doing place as such, but a place to just relax and soak up city life. I've largely been hoofing it around (through Chinese gardens, different city quarters) for a good few hours each day, reading afew books and hanging out in cafe's drinking coffee... hmmm very Chinese!

The nice part about taking it easy has been the opportunity it has created to spend more time interacting with the locals. Many many students are keen to take the opportunity and sit and chat practicing their English. A situation that I've found beneficial for both parties, enabling myself to learn alittle more about China. The students are a nice friendly bunch..... as opposed to the sales people barking the continuous "looka looka".

My weakness though - there's been an art festival on with university students from all over China holding exhibitions throughout the city! I was lucky enough to be hauled along to one particularly good exhibition with a 4 year student - Daisy. The output was a fabulous purchase for myself, an oil on canvas contempory design depicting the Chinese changing society over the Dynasties. The purchase didn't come without its difficulties, a toffee nosed English art dealer had his eye on the entire collection from this particular artist and I basically had to pry my beloved piece away. Never the less I worked abit of magic and got what I wanted for a tidy price. I was happy with the buy and suspect that the toffee nosed art dealer underestimated me. Memories of carting art work around Cuba soon flooded back to me though and I really didn't want to face 3 months attached to this painting. Consequently the day after my purchase I posted the painting home! I figure that there's probably more chance of it getting home though than what there is of me getting it to the UK (undamaged).

The one thing that I have paid for in Shanghai was a trip up the TV tower - a huge tower in Shanghai with two large balls and a big spike (that resembles a space rocket!). I guess it would be equivalent to our Sky tower only somewhat more extravagant on the design front (take a look at the photo). The trip up was well worth the view, I found myself surprisingly mesmorised by the huge number of boats on the river - I was continually on the look out for a maritime prang... barges, ferries, you name it but I was out of luck today.

Feeling alittle 'cabin fever' with my own company I decided to hit the town last night. To my good fortune as I was hoping into the lift to leave the hostel I met Lindsay, a new found friend from the UK. Lindsay is one of those extremely capable types - a Liz Hurley look alike, an Oxford graduate who's teaching English in the back blocks of China. In all reality I could imagine that she'd also look at home as a model in Paris, a cutting edge researcher or a corporate head.... you get the picture. Anyway, Lindsay invited me out with afew of her friends for a night on the town and what a great night it was! We started with dinner - 60 dumplings for the equivalent of NZ$8 and then progressed into the night in the French quarter. What an awesome place to go out - great lounge bars, free alcohol and all sorts of fun things going on! A good cure for the cabin fever.... but today has been alittle slow.
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