Month: June 2017

Zhujiajiao – an ancient Chinese water town

Zhujiajiao – an ancient Chinese water town

The ancient water town

This weekend we took a trip to an ancient water town just outside of Shanghai. It’s called 朱家角 [Zhūjiājiǎo] and is 1,700 years old. We went there together with our friend Pearl from Taiwan and her friend, who is a Shanghai local. Although it is a rather touristy place, it was not too crowded.

Zhūjiājiǎo is famous for its many rivers and bridges, and there are historical buildings like a post office from the Qing Dynasty, the last imperial dynasty before the foundation of the Republic of China.

Some people call it Shanghai’s Venice and indeed, there are many boats you can take around town. We spent the whole day walking in one direction, and then took the boat to get back to the car.

We also visited a Daoist temple. The wooden structures of the temple have been built without using any nails or screws – just wooden connectors. It must have been one big puzzle!

Local food and another tea ceremony

When we had lunch, Marina and I didn’t even try to order after one glance at the menu – no pictures or translations. Instead, our local friends ordered specialties and their favorites. We had green pepper beef, eels, chicken, fried pork, sweet lotus, and some vegetable dishes on the side.  It was all very tasty and spicy. We had to get used to the looks of it, but we were happy to get a real taste of the local food.

In the afternoon, we went to a tea place in an ancient building, and had delicious tea. This time it was less ‘ceremonial’, since everyone had their own tea, but we still followed the basic rules: clean and flush, very short brews, repeat.

This time I had Taiwanese Oolong Tea, tea that is a little more fermented than green tea.

Even more food

The week before, we had dinner at a Kantonese restaurant. For the first time, we ate a dish that tasted like something you would get in a Chinese restaurant outside of China as well: It was a fried pork with sweet and sour sauce, usually not a very common combination in Shanghai. We also had milk tea and tried different dim sums that the friend who took us there recommended.

On Saturday, after we got back from Zhūjiājiǎo we also tried what can be best described as fried dumplings. It was the most delicious street food I’ve ever had! It was a recommendation by our Shanghainese friend. The place was small, packed and in a street far off any metro station, so we would have never found it on our own.

[Edit by Marina: And as a Swabian, I just have to mention that 4 big dumplings were only 7 RMB, around 1€! Even more reason to go back! 🙂]

First week in Shanghai

First week in Shanghai

On Monday my 3 suitcases and I landed in Shanghai which means it’s been almost a week since I moved to China. Time for an update.

Since my first day of work was on Thursday I was able to spend 3 days to get settled and get used to the time change. We were pretty busy from the moment I arrived: The first order of business was to get a local SIM card and a bank account, which means I signed about 20 Chinese documents. So far everything works fine, let’s see if one day someone will claim my first-born child :). A few days later I got my new phone – I have also crossed over to the dark side and am now an iPhone user. I’m still trying to get the hang of all the apps. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be just as fast as Thorben to whip out my Alipay to pay for stuff or turn my destination into a taxi card to show to cab drivers.

We also built up some of the missing furniture which was delivered on Monday (okay, Thorben built it and I handed him screws) and I unpacked.  It looks like all the bathroom stuff I brought won’t just last until Christmas but for a couple of years. I have a feeling the chocolate won’t make it quite so long.

We explored our neighborhood a bit,

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