Month: July 2017

Travel plans

Travel plans

One of the reasons I was excited to move to Shanghai is its location. There are so many places I want to visit that are now so close or at least much closer than from home. However, the list is very very long. In China I want to go to Beijing and the Great Wall, visit the Pandas in Chengdu, look at the Terracotta Army in Xi’An, see the mountains in Zhangjiajie that inspired the movie Avatar, take the train to Suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing …

And then just a short flight away there are Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos … The travel time to Australia and New Zealand is only half from here and even Hawaii is only 9 hours away. There are 222 cities that can be reached through a direct flight from Shanghai (at least that’s what google tells me) so how do I choose?

Even with 30 days of vacation a year plus some Chinese holidays, 3 years suddenly feels like very little time to do even a small part of it. Especially if I factor in going home every year and also continuing to visit my American family.

Thorben has been on a business trip for the past 10 days so I’ve started planning and booking. He said that I can be in charge of the rest of this year’s vacations, let’s see if he ends up regretting that when he realizes there will be very little hiking involved in our trips 🙂

So here is the plan for the next 3 months (the part I already booked, maybe we can also squeeze in a little weekend trip here and there):

  • 4 days in Seoul, South Korea in August
  • 5 days in Beijing in September to see the city and do a tiny bit of hiking on the Great Wall
  • 3 days in Hongkong and 4 days in Taipei over Golden Week (a week long Chinese holiday)

An American weekend

An American weekend

Friday night I went to Shane’s farewell dinner as she’ll spend the next few weeks abroad. We ate lots of New York style pizza at a place called New York Pizza. It was cheesy and delicious. The Chinese way of eating pizza is a little … interesting. Throwing lots of chilli flakes and Tabasco sauce on the pizza so you can’t see the pizza anymore just isn’t my thing but to each his own 🙂

Somehow American became the theme of my weekend. Saturday morning I met a friend at Mr. Pancake for some delicious American breakfast. Afterwards we got our nails done. They used OPI polish at the salon so I think that counts as American (and also so far I’ve only gotten pedicures in the US) 🙂

To stick with the motto (and maybe also because I don’t have anything else in the house) I just had bread with peanut butter and an apple for breakfast this morning. Not pictured: the delicious Italian food and whine I had last night when I went out 🙂

Yuyuan Old Street

Yuyuan Old Street

Last weekend Benedikt, who I went to university with, arrived in Shanghai for a business trip. With only a few days to spend here we focused on some of the main tourist sights. After Brunch in the French Concession, which he got a good glimps of also because I managed to get us a little lost, we went to Xintiandi and Tianzi Fang. In the evening we met up with Shane and walked around a park and saw a fountain show with some Chinese music. This was also were we encountered the paparazzi. After all that sightseeing we met some  friends of Shane for delicious Shaanxi food. On Sunday we got some Shanghainese street food (I love fried dumplings!) with Pearl and walked along the bund as it was getting dark. Even after seeing it a few times the view never gets old, especially when it’s lit up at night.

After the Bund we walked over to Yuyuan Old Street. I haven’t been there so it was nice to explore something new. The architecture is quite a contrast to the modern Pudong skyline and looks much more traditionally Chinese. According to my guide book those are renovated buildings from the Qing dynasty. There are tons of shops and food places there and it is right next to Yuyuan Gardens (where I also haven’t been), so I’m sure I’ll be back with more visitors.

Rainy season

Rainy season

We are in the middle of rainy season or for me hot, humid, frizzy hair season. It’s been over 30 degrees for more than a week now and it’s almost constantly really humid. The rain doesn’t cool anything down, it just increases the humidity. Thank God for air conditioners.

Complaining about the weather is a common topic of conversation. My favorite line so far was: “There are two seasons in Shanghai – uncomfortable and more uncomfortable.” A couple of weeks ago a coworker told me that now it won’t stop raining until the end of July. I kind of expected epic downpours lasting for days but it hasn’t been quite that bad. It does rain a lot  and sometimes pretty heavily but there are also whole days when it doesn’t rain or it last for a few hours, sometimes only minutes and then stops. When I mentioned that rainy season didn’t seem sooo horrible I was told that there are still 3 typhoons coming, so we’ll see how it goes.

One weekend when it rained a lot we went to IKEA to get some stuff for the apartment, mainly plants. I wish I had some crazy/funny/weird stories to tell but really it was just like all the other IKEAs I have been to. Crowded on a Saturday and full of fun items you didn’t know you needed until you see them 🙂 All the things have the same Swedish names so Thorben has managed to order from the otherwise only in Chinese online store (they don’t deliver plants, hence the trip).

On that same rainy weekend we also had a board game day and met up with some people at a bar to play games. Even in the rain you can get everything delivered so when we were in need of some snacks we ordered some chocolate and caramel popcorn 🙂

Other favorite rainy day activities include going to the gym (Thorben), getting manicures and pedicures (me, so cheap here and so fun) and going out to eat (also me, like I am doing right now) 🙂

I’m famous!

I’m famous!

I still have to catch up on blogging from the past 2 weekends but before I do I couldn’t wait any longer to let you know that I seem to be famous in Shanghai. On Saturday 5 people asked to take a picture with me, so that’s pretty much the same thing, right? 🙂

In the 5 weeks that I have been living in Shanghai that was the first time it happened. There are lots of foreigners living here so usually no one cares. That’s why I was laughing when my friend from Germany (here for a week on a business trip) got asked for a picture (twice!) and told him that has never happened to me here. … 3 minutes later it happened to me. And again 5 minutes later. Shane snapped a picture of one of the occurrences. Too bad I didn’t get one of the selfie with the cat filter or the one that made us both look 30 years older.

I guess I better make sure I look presentable every time I leave the house now. Wouldn’t want to disappoint the fans 😉