The Bund, Old Streets and Pet Market

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Friday, March 18, 2011

11:16 Today we went to The Bund, this is a promenade by the river which gives a view over to Pudong which has lots of very tall skyscrapers and is ultra modern. The oddity of this is that the buildings on the side looking to Pudong are all 1930's ex embassies and all have a very different style. As you walk down you can turn your head left to right and see the blatant contrast of ultra new to 1930's, which is quite surreal.
12:29 We walked along the length until we veered off towards the old streets. Lots of very old buildings, all busy with tourists and locals. Some thin streets with shops offering souvenirs. One shop shocked me, it appeared to have ivory tusks carved into scenes, which as you know are illegal and cannot be brought into the UK. Oh but don't worry, these are 10,000 year old mammoths tasks, so, yeah, no animals were harmed in the making of this art!! Are they totally bonkers!! I'm not surprised that no photos were allowed! Didn't stop me though!
We spent quite some time wandering around old streets. I didn't buy anything as I will wait till hong kong where I was born, but ever on the look out for possible presents. I'd quite like to get some chopsticks with something related to the year of the horse on them and some silk pyjamas. I'm always on the look out for presents as well.
13:08 Lunch was in a huge service station cafe style place. You go in, pick up a tray then make your way round the many food items on plates and pick up what you want and then pay at the end. Most of us opted for spring rolls and some chow mein type noodles. Everything else looked a bit unappetising, particularly the chicken feet.
14:00 Next mission walk was to the Pet market. There were Lots of birds and grasshoppers, the odd rabbit, turtle, kitten, goldfish by the dozen, all too often there are lots of animals all crammed into a very small space.
The grasshoppers were all in individual pots and I'm pretty sure they were bought for grasshopper fighting/gambling as we came across some guys betting on some in the Market. There were mostly those and birds, and a lot of fish. The worst thing we saw in the old streets was a small goldfish in a globe a bit smaller than a snooker ball, attached to a key ring! Apparently gold fish are good luck, I wouldn't want one on a key ring though. And I don't know how lucky you'd feel if it died half an hour later.
14:36 The 3rd area of the day was an antiques street. There were lots of old tin toys - cars and British aeroplanes. They were really sturdy too. I could imagine them being played with by the children of European expats during the 1930's. There was a tin hurricane that I would have so loved to have bought, it was so charming. I just couldn't see the practicality of carrying it though. I might come to regret that as mum keeps saying that if I see something I like, I should buy it.
There were also old coins, lights, china models of Mao and charactures of Chinese soldiers and workers, like a whole set of them. I spent ages looking at all the random objects on the tables and the little stalls packed absolutely full in some cases.
14:39 As we walk around, Very very occasionally I see a mini. As you know, I had a mini with my ex. I never wanted a mini. I don't really like them. They're too small, no boot space, stupid great dial in the middle of the dash showing the speed. When we looked for cars I wanted something a bit more practical as I scrapped my beloved Prelude in. We didn't even get the colour I wanted. I hate minis now, I hate seeing them too as they remind me of my ex too. There are bloody millions in England, but here, I don't get reminded of having my arm twisted into buying a car I never wanted. Fun!
14:50 Jade walked everyone to the French concessions, but it was now time to go to the bank. Jade called hsbc and they couldn't even tell her exactly where the branch was, just the general area. I thought that was pretty poor. After asking about 10 people, we found our way there. I'd like to remind you of the hsbc adverts on tv. Showing how they understand how in china the number 9 and red are important, and how in some other country something else is important, how it's the worlds leading bank. All giving you an impression that it really is a global bank. I'm quite sure that even my Advance card that I have to pay for allowed me some sort of global assistance. With that in mind, with that image and impression sold to me by advertising, I was certain that my predicament could be ironed out in my friendly shanghai branch of hsbc, where everything looked much like a branch at home, red carpets, black chairs, shiny wooden floors and English written adverts for assisting customers.
When I asked for help from a lady who spoke excellent English, she told me she couldn't help me because they can't see our bank accounts. She said I needed to phone the helpline again. I spoke to someone in England this time, rather than india and she reiterated what I had been told. They would ONLY send me, by post, to my statement address a pack which I would need to fill out and sign, and post back to them. I explained I was in china, that I have no known address for the next year, that the branch here could verify me because I was standing there with my passport, that I would give them any security detail they liked over the phone, my address, passwords, everything. No, all they really actually care about is me signing something then matching it with a signature they have in a uk database. Not only that, but when I asked her to move some money between accounts and pay some money to a credit card, they said they couldn't touch my accounts at all. So basically I was screwed and ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS. I have a good mind to leave that f******g bank when I get back as over the years I've had plenty if hassle. So, hsbc may as well be the bank of Manchester given it's lack of being able to do anything for me.
So, I have had to ask my lodger to forward me this pack, to the only fixed address I know I'll have in the next 3 weeks which is Hong Kong Yacht Club, and had to ask my Dad to sub me some money to my travel account until I can sort this mess out.
21:51 Having gone back to the hotel in an utterly foul mood, I sorted my photos out and uploaded a week worth in preparation for me adding the words from my phone. Sorry, but I'm not retyping them all, I just don't have enough time. Anyway, they're all ready to go when I get wifi so I can copy and paste it straight into my blog and publish a weeks worth of entries. Oh Glen Waters is my Dad, he's not actually called that, its an alias, which is why he knew my posts were coming-as per the comment, as I had a quick skype conversation with them whilst online.

Everyone else went out for dinner and to some bars. Me and Fiona stayed in, we were tired, and I had lots of 'work' to catch up with on my blog. We ended up going to the golden arches for some food, only to take an interesting detour on the way.
Whilst walking down this busy main street of shanghai, lots of people surruptisouly approach you with a laminated card that folds out, offering you handbgs, watches, DVDs, phones and the like. A pair of ladies, one thin, quite young, in a green jacket was showing me her card and I spotted an iPad. I thought what the hell. Something to write about maybe? Her partner, an older lady in a red jacket saw we'd been hooked and came over to join in the persuasion that the lady in green was hammering me with with. Fiona was less keen so I had to persuade her that I just wanted a quick look and that was it. All the while the lady in green had grabbed my arm and was manhandling me by pulling me down the street!! Fiona agreed and let ms know that if they sold her kidneys she'd kick ma head in (apply strong Scottish accent).
We went onto a street off the main street, and into a legit shop selling cloths, pyjamas, dressing gowns and other souvenirs. I told them I wanted a look at the iPad, and the lady behind the counter reached down under the counter and produced an iPhone. I waved and said no, no, iPad. She put it back, had a short conversation with the woman in the green jacket and then brought up a larger White box that had iRobot written on it.
Me: "That's not an iPad"
Her: "yes! iPad!"
Me; "no it's not, look, it's too small and says iRobot!"
Her: "similar! Similar!"
Me: "well it's not an iPad and wouldn't even work in England"
Her: "yes it work! Similar iPad!"
Me: "no, it's not what I want, so we're going to eat now"
Her, not giving up: "you wan watch? Handbag! Very good price!"
Me: "no, I don't want watches or handbags, I came to look at your iPad but you don't have them so we're leaving"
Her, grabbing me by arm and pulling me round the shop: "look, real silk, sill pyjama, you wan, sill pyjama'"
I'm thinking, I do want silk pyjamas, but not right now and not when being literally pulled around a shop!
We left, feigning the excuse of going to eat and thinking about it.
So, golden arches for dinner. They are EVERYWHERE after all, then back to the hotel.
Walking along the lady in red comes up puts her arm around my shoulder saying "hello! You come back! You come buy pyjama!"
Wow, they really found us, and now a 3rd guy joined in. It was quite amusing.
All the way back to the hotel people kept sidling up to us "hello, you wan DVD?"
"no, I don't want DVDs thankyou"
After the 5th one I piped up with asking her to name one, this confused her, I said name a DVD, you know, Avatar, Star Wars, name one. She couldn't, so I said if she couldn't even name one, I didn't want one!
We got back to the hotel, kidneys and wallets intact. And at 10pm, I was so whacked, I fell asleep.

Best thing: the old streets of shanghai

Worst thing: Hopeless Stupid Bollocks Corporation

Most beautiful: view across to Pudang

Funniest: being persuaded to buy under the counter goods by the technique of being manhandled
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Mrs Bloom on

My darling zo you are providing the BEST bedtime stories but you know you mist stop visiting the golden arches! Xxx

Sm*arti*e on

Dearest Zoe!

Finally catching up with your blogs!!!

Sounds absolutely amazing! If you make it to India, be prepared to be haggled at, annoyed and pestered some more!

Take care and be safe honey

cpbirch on

Cant believe how poorly HSBC dealt with you. Shocking.

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