Author: Jill Weinlein
Date of Trip: June 2015
During lunch we took the Tourist Sightseeing Tunnel under the river to The Bund. We investigated more of the French Concession Expat area with its trendy shops, hip coffee houses and fashion boutiques.
Later, Elizabeth took us over to some outdoor street stalls and wet markets to admire the skewers of meat, squid and chicken. Other skewers had rice cakes, whole eggplant, mushrooms, tofu and fish balls. The wet markets have live fish and eels swimming in little plastic containers. Meat and fowl are butchered right before your eyes as vendors throw water on the narrow walkways to “clean” them.
Local and visitors tour these areas to purchase the brightly colored produce, chicken parts lined in a row, and eggs of many colors – white, brown, black and blue. Other stalls sell ice cream in a clear glass freezer. One is corn flavored ice cream shaped cleverly as corn on the cob.
On our last night, a staff member at the MO (Mandarin Oriental) hailed us a cab to take us to dinner at Lost Heaven in the French Concession to meet our daughter’s roommate “Queenie” and her family. The traffic at rush hour was a parking lot in the Pudong area. There are too many cars and not enough infrastructure. What should take about 15 minutes, took us about 50 minutes of driving on side streets, stop at long lights and a lot of frustration.
When we arrived, we let the girls order. I was envious how Queenie’s mother ate pork ribs with skilled dexterity, while I clumsily picked up the ribs and tried to keep them on my sticks. With relief, I noticed that Queenie’s father picked and held a rib in his fingers to gnaw the meat off the bone. I relaxed, picked up a bone and enjoyed every bite. We tried thick noodles with cold carrots, cucumbers and peanuts with a spicy peanut sauce and a black cod plate. All were delicious.
Hailing a cab back to the MO Hotel was quite a feat. At least ten available cabs slowed down, noticed we were Americans and stepped on the gas once our daughter, speaking in Mandarin, asked if they could take us to Pudong.
We must have walked twenty blocks, before reaching a subway station with a train going under the river to Pudong. It was all quite an adventure that I will cherish for years to come. The cacophony of sounds, fascinating smells, tastes and impressive architectural sights in Shanghai is an experience that one must have at least once in their lifetime.