Happy Snaps and Shanghai Shopping Guide!

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   With the Auckland weather being so cold and miserable, I was dreaming of being in warm weather and having some R&R after what has been a hectic few months. .  
Lisa on the Maglev Train from airport to city
My partner Gahame and I had been keeping an eye on the Air NZ reverse auctions and a fare to Shanghai was on offer. It was a city I'd like to go to but never had the opportunity.  Until recently.  I won the auction and within 10 days I was off!  Sure it was a short time frame but I love the sense of adventure of doing things at short notice. 

I didn't really know much about Shanghai except that it was a very modern city with a mix of high tech buildings mixed with traditional chinese architecture which included the amazing Pearl Tower and a maglev train that went over 300km per hour.  So ofcourse I had to go on the train!  The train went from to the airport and took about 15min to get to the outskirts of the city.  While it went super fast, it didn't feel like it but it was great to say that I'd been on it anyway.

One thing I wasn't prepared for was the Chinese facebook (fire) wall!  I couldn't access without a VPN number to unlock the sites.  I didn't see the point of getting a number for a week so thought I should be ok without facebook.  It was hard but certainly missed seeing what all of you were up to!


Immersing myself right in the city even more, I got to stay smack bang right in the middle of the busy street called Nanjing Road and from the room I could see the busy street which was always packed with people no matter what time of day and night.   The street is lined with modern malls and brand name clothes and products but I found it quite expensive and not full of cheap bargains I was expecting!

left: Nanjing Road
While the city is modern, the labour is still traditional and the ACC would have a field day seeing how they work here!  For example on one morning a crew of guys lowered themselves by what I could see was only one solid rope down 20 floors to fix a window.  They didn't have on any special clothes or footwear despite being super windy outside. Didn't hear of any accidents so I guess they survived.
Above: the famous Bund financial district.         Traditional housing amongst the new


Group Fitness on Nanjing Road.  While Nanjing road is a buzz during the day, it really comes to life at night time with the turning on of the flashing signs, the road become a mini Vegas strip without the nortiness. 

left: a group of workers take time out from the shop floor to get out on to the street and do a fitness routine to get their blood flowing.
Amongst the tourist and shopping crowd, there's groups of keen exercisers who do their dance routines on the wide pavement.  There's also dancers who come out and enjoy the cooler evening too.  While the dancing and group fitness is a fun thing to do, you don't actually see them smiling or look like they're enjoying themselves. Go Figure!


Getting around was quite easy.  Well, there's alot of pointing to maps and hand direction that is!  But generally the chinese are trying to help with their limited english.
I was actually quite surprised they shop workers don't know much english considering how much english influences such as tv and product branding has here.  The metro train is quite cheaper once you figure out where you are and how much to put in the coin machine.  Taxis were pretty easy too and once again, lots of pointing to leaflets and telling them where you want to go.  They have metres so have to make sure they put those on so you pay the correct fare.   But generally they are honest and actually give the right change back!
  The Pearl Tower in Pudong is an amazing building and the pink colours on the globes are much more radiant than what the photos show.


Why shop at a mall when you can buy real fakes on the street.

Shopping. As I said before, Nanjing road is the main shopping area but there are lots of other malls around - including the Superbrand Mall in Pudong which is one train stop away from Nanjing Road.  I was expecting alot from this mall, including cheap prizes for known brands.  But did I get that. No!  Sure the mall is huge and pretty and decked out with many american and english brands but they are all expensive and I really don't know how these shops survive.

The only places that seem to be doing well in the mall (and everywhere else in Shanghai) seems to be McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut and KFC.  These fast food places are full all the time.  Not sure how the locals afford to buy them as eating and drinking there is quite expensive for them.  For example a Costa Coffee costs $6 and a Burger King burger and chips is $7.  So I guess someone's Mums and Dads are making lots of money to be giving their kids loads of money to spend there and getting them fatter by the day. 

Cheap Shopping. 
So ofcourse I wasn't going to be spending my money on overpriced clothes and shoes in a mall when there's fashion aka fake markets I could go to. Im not a snob and quite happy to go for the cheaper option if it looks and feels as good as no one really knows do they.  Well you guys will now!

Sure you have to run the gauntlet of shopkeepers who are there to drag in you into their shops to buy their real Louis Vuitton or Prada bags, scarves and real Ray Ban sunglasses but the Fake
'Fashion' Mall called Tao Bao Fashion Market at the end of West Nanjing Road is definitely worth going to.  There I bought some very nice Asics to go with the 2 Adidas shoes I bought on the street earlier for a total of $100 for the 3 pairs. Bargain!  They fit really well but lets see how long they last.  Even if they last 3 months, it'll be worth the cost. 

The other thing I was after were cheap movies and I got those for $2.50 each so have stocked up heaps on latest movies which aren't out yet.  Have watched one and it worked fine, the only thing is you hear the audience laughing in the movie so guess it wasn't dubbed from the real thing.  That's all part of the experience though isn't it.  Haven't bought any clothes as they are generally very narrow fit and not big for my broad euro build lol.


 A dog serving food? something was lost in that translation. Interesting Ladies toilet sign

$5 chicken meal from a chinese fast food place.                $90 for 375g protein powder!

Food.  As I said before, there's lots of western fast food available which also includes the more healthier food such as subway for those who aren't keen to indulge in local chinese cuisine.  But why would you have western food when there's so much variety and delights to be had.  At most restaurants and chinese own version of fast food, there's lots of healthy options, luckily they have pics that I could point at, so I could order what looked like chicken and veges. 

Most times I get it right but sometimes other things are added but I just went with the flow.  No time to be fussy when travelling that's for sure.  The only thing I didn't like was all the salt and sauces they put on the food which made me feel like spongebob.  But I  know this will go away once I get home and back to some normal food.

I also checked out Holland and Barrett, which is a british brand supplement shop and was knocked out by their protein prices!  We have a good in NZ compared to the chinese who have to pay $80 for milk and egg protein.  I'm sure they don't sell too many of those.  Haven't seen too many muscly chinese walking around either so obviously not too much weight training is going on.  Well, not that I can see anyway!

Gym. I did check out a gym called 'Will's' which is in the Superbrand Mall.  It had lots of cardio equipment and some machines but I certainly wasn't going to pay $25 for a casual.  A year's membership was $400, which was reasonable I guess. But again, I doubt many regular chinese can afford it.  In a few years when the fitness culture takes off we might see more people get into it.  So start training to be PTs everyone as there might be some jobs here for you in a few years time.

$2.50 for a wonton noodle soup lunch, bargain!

Shanghai has been a great experience
and have definitely enjoyed the weather which ranged from 30-35 degrees most days.  Some days it rained in the afternoon which made a nice cool change from the hot humid days.

Have enjoyed my time out and now ready to have a great time at the Spectacular Bodybuilding Show with Naera and Timi on 1 September.  Hope to see you all there next Sunday!

Go Figure
23 August 2013

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