My good friend Sue Lee and her family were in Shanghai July 4-5– part of a two-day stopover during their 2-week China/Thailand family vacation. They arrived late in the afternoon on July 4, and the tour had their schedule packed with activites upon arrival. I googled the hotel number she left me to find the hotel name and location. We then trekked northeast on the chiggy (ching gui–elevated rail) to Hankou district. The hotel room was a refrigerator– with the temp set to probably 68 degrees. It’s been so long since I’ve experienced A/C like that, I swear it made me sick the next day.
So we hung out some at the hotel… caught up with ol’ times and then headed out in two taxis to Xintiandi. I know, I’m always bitching about how Anqian loves that damn hoty place, but we had little choice. They were dying for some real American burgers and unfortuantely our top choice, Rendevous, was too far away. So KABB in Xintiandi it was!
John ordered the burger (off the menu), Troy had the chicken quesadilla, Andrew got the steak burrito, and Sue and I shared the pita wedges (mediocre at best). An expensive meal for SH, but hopefully it hit the spot.
The next day, John and I got up early to meet the Lee’s at their hotel. We spent the day with them on the tour bus, shuttling around town. We drove around the French Concession area and visited the White House, which houses SH’s Institute of Arts and Crafts. I was very impressed by the exhibit– a lot of miniature wood and ivory carvings, embroideries, knitting crafts, as well as papercuts and lanterns. Compared with all the shit on the streets, this stuff was very delicate and beautiful. The grounds were nice tool, with a nice garden. Some Englishman named Sassoon used to live there.
Next we went to Xiangyang market. John and I usually avoid that place at all costs, but it’s a standard tourist stop. The Lee family bought a bunch of stuff– Adidas sneakers, swatch watches, a chess set, and Oakley sunglasses. They had fun bargaining. Believe it or not, I’m not into bargaining and shopping that much anymore. I mean, bargains are tough to resist, but as my mother says, “It’s always cheapest not to buy anything at all!”
Afterwards, we had lunch at the Yangtze Hotel. It was Andrew’s birthday; surprisingly, we had a pretty tasty Chinese cake. It was still lighter than what American’s are used to– a sponge cake with a fruit layer and whipped cream frosting. Christine’s brand. I’ll have to remember that. After dessert, I was off to tutor Keiko’s kids. We parted ways as the Lee’s headed for Pudong airport. It was great seeing them, but I wish they could have seen our place and the pups. We’ve still had zero visitors. Sigh. Anyway, next stop on the Sue itinerary? Thailand. Yup, they’ve seen more of China in the last week than John and I have seen in six months. 🙁 Ok, not wholly true. But yeah, we gotta get going on some domestic travel plans.
I’ve been pretty busy this week. Classes resumed full force… and them some. Actually, because of all the courses I missed with Cissy last month, we’re making them all up in July. So Cissy’ll have 15 sessions with me this month. I returned to SABIC this evening–first time in over a month. It was great fun. We went over five writing samples in class. I enjoy that class very much. I brought back a box of Andes chocolates for my students. They devoured the entire package during class. I guess there are not mint/chocolate candies in China. Missing out over here! But at least now I know what to bring back on the next trip to the US.
Speaking of traveling to/from the US, I think the airfares are going back down… at least a little. Heads up buddies: SFO-Beijing is $700. I know, it’s not to SH, but BJ-SH is only about $100. Screw Travelocity and Orbitz on international flights. You gotta check FlyChina instead. Trust me.
Ok well I just got home and am starving. More later.