Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Just a Jumble

If you're looking for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge you'll find the post here.

J is for Jumble

Jumble as opposed to a hodgepodge, random, miscellany, or insert synonym here. Jumble works for me today because we're up to the letter J in our A-Z challenge and also because I have an assortment of thoughts and photos to post as a way of (almost) wrapping up my week in Shanghai.

This may be a little bit long (ha!). I had more loose ends than I realized so I'm thinking I'll make a list and it will hopefully feel less jumbly. We'll have to see how that goes-

1. There are some tall buildings in Shanghai.

Actually the word tall isn't quite sufficient here as an adjective.

The building on the right is sometimes called The Bottle Opener. Can you guess why? It's actually The Shanghai World Financial Center and is currently the third tallest building in the world. I say currently because it seems that countries are always trying to figure out how to go just a little bit higher so they too can make the list of world's tallest buildings. By 2015 we'll have a brand new list.

The Bottle Opener contains offices, an observation deck and of course, shopping malls. It's also home to the second highest hotel room in the world. Guess where the highest room sits? That would be the Jin Mao Building also located in Shanghai. The Jin Mao Building is home to the Shanghai Grand Hyatt and is the 1oth highest building in the world. In our travels we also saw building #2 located in Taipei and #4 in Hong Kong.

Shanghai has some amazing views from up high...

We were on the 54th floor of our hotel, which I guess is small potatoes when it comes to tall buildings, but it felt plenty high to me.

2. The Bottle Opener is best seen from The Bund which is a waterfront area in central Shanghai. Besides the skyscrapers you'll see many historical buildings there too. The past definitely collides with the present in this city. Here I am in front of the China Merchant Bank eating my words.

We used to tease my mother in law because she's been known to have three pair of glasses on her head at the same time. I get it now since my sunglasses are not prescription and all of a sudden I can't read anything smaller than a 16 font without a little help. Hey kids-never say never!

3. I haven't talked too much yet about the food on this trip but I will.

For now let me just say the presentation of this cherry blossom smoked salmon was truly impressive.

Tea served in our hotel lobby was none too shabby either-

4. A snapshot of Nanjing Road, the famous pedestrian shopping street in Shanghai. Every time I try to describe all the shopping in this part of the world I feel very overwhelmed. Just know shopping is on steroids here.

Nanjing Road is the main shopping street in Shanghai and one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. Here's a shark tank for your viewing pleasure-

Yes, it's on the street. Why not?

5. There is a slight obsession here with KFC. That would be-Kentucky Fried Chicken. Personally I haven't set foot in one in the US in years but they're all over Asia. This is a painting we saw in a small shop-

Starbucks stock must also be soaring here. We don't have a Starbucks in our little NJ suburb but if you need a latte in Shanghai, Taipei, or Hong Kong no problem.

6. Hubs and I spent some time walking thru The People's Park which was close to our hotel. We saw lots of Tai Chi and hubs will tell you he's something of an expert now. Ha-don't believe him. He learned one move in a meeting and showed anyone who asked and possibly a few who didn't.

But this guy?
This guy did seem to be something of an expert.

Yes, he does indeed have a sword in the park. Hey, this ain't New York.

7. Here's something else I saw in the park....

A group of women preparing for a drum event. Listening to them play was entertaining but so was watching them try to organize themselves. Women are women the world over.

8. Americans tend to complain about laundry a lot. It does seem to be one of those never ending chores but if you have a washer and dryer or a clothesline siting in the crisp clean air of suburbia then feel grateful.

I saw lots of laundry dangling from lines high above the busy streets where soot and pollution are rampant. Made me think I really have nothing to complain about when it comes to doing laundry.

9. Here are some random strangers who wanted their picture taken with me so we obliged.

Everywhere I walked I was approached and looked over and told I was tall and thin-for an American-they always added that! Oh and lots of people said I looked Italian. I am none of those things but it did make me smile. I also got lots of comments on my blue eyes which are not seen very often in these parts. Students anxious to practice their English approached me too. They would always start out by telling me they spoke 'Shinglish' or Shanghai English. I assured them that their English was far better than my Mandarin so no worries!

10. I loved Shanghai. It felt so foreign and different from any city I've ever visited. The language is a huge deal. Fortunately the subway signs were in English and Mandarin, but in other aspects of day to day life communicating was a real challenge. That's part of the fun of travel though, figuring it all out.

I hadn't traveled much outside the US before moving to England. Lots of trips to the Caribbean and Mexico but that was mostly resort stuff and not exactly stressful. Foreign travel builds your confidence in a way that few things can. At one time in my life it would have made me supremely anxious to look around and realize I was the only Westerner in a packed subway, to have people come up to me and touch my hair and ask somewhat personal questions. I likely would have been clinging tightly to my purse, certain this was a ruse in order to snatch my wallet. I suppose I still cling to my purse because that's just smart, but I don't feel afraid in a strange city. I feel energized and curious and very, very lucky.


  1. Wow, even in pictures the cherry blossom smoked salmon has an amazing presentation. I'm sure it was even better in person.

  2. Love the pictures....and have enjoyed hearing about your trip.

  3. Hi, I a a new follower from the challenge. I enjoyed reading about your trip ad viewing your medley of photos. I am interested in learning more about your "Wednesday Hodgepodge" bloghop

  4. I like how the students wanted to practice their English skills with you. I'd say they wanted a photo with you because of the red jacket but it probably is the American thing.

  5. Gorgeous pictures! Now I have another place I want to visit. :)

  6. Your bright orange coat probably drew eyes your way as well. Do you think that maybe there are pictures of you in scrapbooks all over China?

  7. That salmon looks fantastic!

    And as a Chicagoan I still say the worlds tallest building is the Sear Tower (not the Willis Tower!)

    I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  8. I admire your bravery Joyce. It would scare me to death and I would never consider doing it alone. I guess I really need to learn to get out of my comfort zone some. I love all the pictures and hearing all about Shanghai! Beautiful!

  9. I'm also so impressed with all you did on your own! Very cool experience for sure.
    I bet you could make a book out of all the pictures.

  10. How fun, I came here from a Hodgepodge link and saw that you are participating in the A-Z Challenge as well! What a fun trip!

  11. Yeah, that first time you realize you are the only Caucasian person somewhere is memorable. And I could never figure out the whole hanging the laundry out in the smog thing either. They do that all over Singapore.

  12. What a beautiful city! I love your pictures, and love that I get to travel through you!
    That is cool that the couple wanted their picture with you. I love the picture of the Smoked Salmon also, you can see all the smoke. Great post!
    until next time... nel

  13. I've never been interested in traveling. But I love the way you have been sharing your trip- and I'm still waiting on that travel book you should be writing. :)

  14. Wow. I loved reading about your trip--it would be amazing to visit Shanghai!

    The Golden Eagle
    The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

  15. You are very lucky. What an interesting trip. My sister who lives in China always says that random people will approach westerners and touch their hair.

  16. I am having so much fun hearing about your experiences. Thank you for sharing them, it feels like we all got to go with you!

  17. My husband has been there SO many times but is a man of few details...this post helped me to understand and share the experience. Thanks for your detailed wonderfulness!

  18. Thank you again for sharing all these wonderful things. The skyline is so beautiful and I love that Bottle Opener building. I agree with your last paragraph. I never imagined myself going around Paris and London all by myself. It makes me want to travel a lot more! Of course the language difference was not like yours but certainly not as easy in France and Italy like it was in London.

  19. Did they really come up and touch your hair??? I think that would've freaked me out a bit!

  20. You visited my former expat city, Shanghai?? Did you wander into the French Concession at all? We lived there for three years. I loved that city. I leave May 2nd for Asheville, NC to visit 10 of my former expat friends from when we lived in Shanghai. We are all getting together to reminisce and play mahjong. I'm so jealous you were in beautiful Shanghai.