how it all started - shanghai (2007);

Saturday, March 15, 2014
I vividly remember my first school trip to Shanghai and Suzhou. It was my first time going overseas, and everything seems pretty new to me - from boarding the plane, to navigating around in a foreign place and eating random street food.

Being a study trip, we are always on the road visiting various companies and logistics port. But when the night falls, that's when the adventure really begins.

On our first night, we stop by The Bund, where the iconic waterfront provides a spectacular view of the Huangpu River and skyscrapers with cruise ships drifting along. During or after sunset is definitely the best time to stop by when the dizzy array of lights take over the night sky.

We then stop by East Nanjing Road - a touristy place and pedestrian street mainly for shopping. We had quite an unnerving incident there that night. There are quite a number of salesperson going around with brochures showing what their shops have to offer, and being a curious bunch of school kids, we followed one of them. We were then led to small alleys away from the main strip, and that's where we start to feel uncomfortable. The real hair-raising part is when the salesperson start to lock the doors after we enter the shop. We try to keep cool about it and walk around the shop looking at the various fake bags and shoes. After showing signs of disinterest, we headed to the door and felt a pang of relief when they unlock the door for us. If someone approaches you on the main strip, never follow them as you could get yourself into some real danger.

We manage to go up to the observation level of the Oriental Pearl Tower. Being a distinctive landmark that looks like a space capsule, the view from above is absolutely breathtaking. This place is probably a good start for one to have a glimpse of the city.

One of the most memorable adventure for me is definitely when we roam around the streets (we were staying in a red light district) looking for food after our lecturers are asleep. From weird looking mini lobster, dumplings, corns and wings, it was all surprisingly delicious, better than the usual 10-course dinner that we have every night. Not to forget the morning that we escape to get soymilk and youtiao (chinese crullers) for breakfast.

This trip was about 6 years ago, and i believe Shanghai must have changed a lot since then. My brother have recently came back from Shanghai for a work visit, and from what i heard, it is a really expensive city to live or even travel around now.