(Ed. note: Lots of great stories and photos to share over the next couple of blogs!)
We were in Shanghai for the weekend. I should have known – Friday the 13th. Started off with the usual crazed taxi cab ride to the train station. It seems Jiaxing has two types of cabbies – crazed and “we’ll get there when we get there”. This was followed by the usual crush of people pushing to get on to the train – even though the seats are reserved, there seems to be a real need to push ahead of anyone in a line. The fellow who tried, unsuccessfully, to get ahead of Terry was successful in getting ahead of me. Sadly, I think he may have some bruises on the back of his legs, since I was unable to control the suitcase I was carrying due to the jostling I was receiving from behind. (Ed note: Terry is much kinder than I am.)
We were commenting the other day how, on the Jiaxing buses, people only get on through the front door and off through the back – they never try to get off through the front. On the train there is an announcement at every stop to please get on through the rear door of each car and off through the front door. People always have large packages, suitcases etc. so it only makes sense. However, there are always people who get on at the front and then have to fight their way down the 24 – 30″ wide aisle against the tide of people (including us) coming the other way. It was not my finest hour as I was not in a “cooperative, step to the side and let someone get by” mood.
The taxi setup at the train is very cool. They have a long (200 yards or so) walking lane about 30″ wide with railings on each side all the down. This puts everyone into a single line, first-come basis to get a cab. Very civilized. Fortunately, there were no incidents, other than a guy who dropped two 40 pound sacks of rice over the rail at the 75 yard mark and then had to walk back to the 200 yard mark to get into the lane. It was a safe bet that no one in the taxi lane was going to cart off his rice, although that might have been interesting!
Friday night we met the boys at Mekong River for a very nice Vietnamese dinner (Thanks to Harvey and Cinec Canada). After dinner, we waited for a cab and when one stopped to let someone out, we jumped in. We told him where we wanted to go and he waved his hand and shook his head no. We told him again, same reaction. Remember my mood on the train? Well, it had changed to a “I’m not getting out and the longer you sit here, the less time you have to make money tonight” mood. Finally after about 5 minutes he reached over, flicked on his meter and away we went – and in a very direct route, too! Victory was ours.
Saturday morning Terry was off to a Pro-D event and I was on my own – sometimes a dangerous thing in Shanghai. Not this weekend, though. I was very well behaved. Sat at Starbucks, marked some assignments and then went back to the hotel to meet a woman who was delivering some food we ordered from one of the vendors at the Farmer’s Market at the Ritz Carlton. Imagine free delivery to your hotel for $40 worth of food.
Terry got back around three and we were off to wander. First, we wandered through the new Jing’An Kerry Centre. The anchor tenant is the Shangri-La Hotel. One of the shops was offering champagne and Ferrero Roche chocolates as you entered. Kate Spade has a store. Get the idea? Boss is coming. Pick up the latest Valentino design. Now this is right across the street from Reel Centre where you can get Stella McCartney or Alexander MacQueen, Gucci, Coach etc. etc. I guess someone is buying, but there wasn’t anyone carrying any bags when we were there and if you couldn’t have fired a shotgun without hitting anyone, you could have fired a cannon. This is from their website:
From there we were off to Nanjing Road to see the Christmas sights and lights. Just before dark, we had dinner at the Sichuan restaurant where Barb, Michael and I ate in the spring. It wasn’t as hot as that time, but there were flavours and heat we hadn’t experienced before. Black pepper pods still on the twig numbs the entire mouth, including the tongue. After dinner we wandered down to the Bund to get some night photos of Pudong (Ed. note: Future blog)
I know you are tired of hearing about the “approaches” on Nanjing, but these two were priceless.
- Terry is about 20 feet to my right taking some photos and I see two attractive women approaching and one peels off to come toward me. “Hi – where are you from?” I keep walking. “Hey, where are you going?” she says. I say “To meet my wife and point to Terry” She looks at Terry, gives me a big smile, nods her head and off she goes.
- We stopped to watch some street performers (Ed. note: See next blog for video) and Terry has moved down, again the mad photographer at work. A guy comes up to me, shows me the ever present cards of beautiful women. “You want sex massage? You come with me – 1 minute away” “No thanks,” I say. “No, you come, we go” “No thanks” “Why not – why you no want sex massage” “I am waiting for my wife” “Where – where wife?” Just then, Terry has left the crowd and is walking toward us – 10 feet away “There’s my wife” and just like that he says “You want shopping – bags, watches?” Very funny – very quick.
From there it was back to the hotel. On the way we saw many Christmas displays. The first one, however, is from two weeks ago when we were in during the day. Hope you enjoy them.
This year’s winner, however is Bulgari.