Jesse’s Blog

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Shanghai – Day Two

Shanghai-68 My second day in Shanghai fell on Sunday – which meant more play time. After an amazing Japanese beef udon noodle lunch, we started out the afternoon shopping for some high quality imitation fashion accessories in the form of sunglasses, watches, and a few other things. I had George take me to the shop that Paul liked and the owner gave us more great deals. He even traded my broken sunglasses (which were bought from him in January by Paul) for brand new ones for free! He told me he would give me the same treatment with the watch I was purchasing. I spent less than $100 USD and came away pretty satisfied. Unfortunately my oriental fan opening skills left much to be desired.

On the way out I got some tasty coconut milk tea with red beans and jellies before we stumbled upon the Shanghai Museum of Science & Technology. We didn’t have time to stop (and George had already been there twice with Paul), but I did manage to get a nice panorama of the courtyard that is pressed up against the shopping center:

Shanghai_SM_Panorama

Next we went for a stroll down the famous Nanjing Road, which is the world’s longest shopping district (around 6 km long) and attracts over 1 million visitors daily. East Nanjing Road is pedestrianized (no cars) and seems like a super-sized version of the 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica. The “people watching” there is great and on a nice day the parks and trees would serve as great hosts to a relaxing afternoon.

Shanghai_BundA_Panorama

At the end of Nanjing Road to the East is The Bund, which is an amazing collection of architecture concentrated along the Huangpu River. Shanghai has a lot of well-preserved modern culture and it was refreshing to see everything mixed together in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. Being near the river had a certain liberating feeling to it, given that every body of water in and around Delhi feels downright toxic to even look at. Still, I wouldn’t risk a swim in the Huangpu, either.

Shanghai-102We wrapped up the evening with dinner in a quaint little “Canto” (Cantonese) Restaurant that George likes. I have to say that, without a doubt, the food here in China is the best I have had anywhere. I haven’t tried a single thing I don’t like. I love the main courses, the appetizers, the desserts… and it’s not just the Chinese food! The Japanese food is equally good. Maybe India is just so bad I’m not used to good, cheap food. The cost of living here seems the same or less than India, but the quality of life seems so much higher. But that’s a whole different post.

posted by Jesse at 9:26 pm  

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bad news…

I think I may have gotten sick from the salad after all. It started bothering me after dinner on Saturday night and by Sunday my stomach was turning over itself all day long. I won’t go into details.

Still, it wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t go out and about. After I met Raj for lunch to discuss some business, Garland and Esther joined us and we all went out to go shopping at Spencer Plaza (a really *big* mall in Chennai). It’s full of little stores and big stores, food vendors, service providers (like dry cleaning)… pretty much everything you’d need! Garland and Esther got some lunch at Mary Brown while I grabbed a smoothie at a juice store (they only use mineral water and “safe” ice as it says on their menu – they better not be lying!). After buying a present for Rachel (hmmm… wonder what it could be, honey??) everyone bought some cookies at Cookie Man. Except me… my stomach was getting worse.

Spencer Plaza, Chennai.
Picking out some cookies at Cookie Man in Spencer Plaza.After Spencer’s Plaza we hit up a street market where Esther wanted to buy some bracelets like the ones she bought on her last trip to Chennai. Garland and I wandered up and down the block looking at the various goods people were selling. Everyone was begging us to come and look at their stuff.

Raj helping Esther negotiate some bracelet prices at the market.Garland wandering around the streets of a Chennai market.I was pretty eager to get back to the hotel and take a nap. Esther was tired, too (since she just arrived late the previous night) so her and I conked out while Garland did some work. I slept restlessly until I had to leave for my flight.

I waited at the airport for about an hour and a half for Albert and Lara to deplane and get through customs. They had flown Lufthansa from Frankfurt, but one of their bags got damaged. After figuring out how to report it to the New Delhi Lufthansa office, we made our way to the domestic terminal to take our SpiceJet flight back to New Delhi through Hyderabad. I barely noticed the flight – thankfully I was sleeping the whole time. Mahindra picked us up from the airport and we went straight home and passed out after talking to Rachel for a bit on our new wireless connection with my PDA. It’s great to be connected at home. :)

Albert and Lara on the SpiceJet plane from Chennai to Delhi at 2:30am.
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posted by Jesse at 2:58 am  

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Almost Wal-Mart

Last night we took a field trip to New Delhi to what seemed to be the largest mall in India. The name escapes me at the moment, and I left my camera in the car (I wish I had a camera phone). Anyway, there is a store on the ground floor called Spencer’s Hyper. I’m assuming there are smaller versions of this store that are simple called “Spencer’s”. This one was huge.

From the moment we walked in we were all smiles. It was the closest thing to a Super Wal-Mart I had seen since being in the boondocks of Florida. Electronics, appliances, clothes, household goods – and groceries! Lots of them. I was ecstatic to find peanut butter, jelly and sandwhich bread. Tropicana orange juice! Frozen dinners, Pringles, produce, oh my!

Just some of the goodies we picked up at the supermarket.

This morning I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich for breakfast. Not exactly American, but pretty close!

For lunch today we took bicycle ricks over to the Shoprixx Mall (our driver was taking Garland and Chris to buy some computer parts in Sector 18). We enjoyed some Pizza Hut for lunch, and Baskin Robbins for dessert. On the way back, Anthony and I were riding with a kid who, in the U.S., would have still been in school at that time of day. As we attempted to cross a busy 3-lane road the kid couldn’t make it up the incline and traffic was bearing down on us. Tony and I had to leap from the bicycle and run across the road so the poor kid could make it out of harm’s way! Looking back, it was all kind of funny. We paid the kid an extra 10 rupees for the entertainment value.

Lastly, here are some random pictures that you may find interesting:

Whaley and Ronald… friends forever.Waylon in our usual morning hangout (Costa Coffee in Sector 18)A monkey with a pet man.

posted by Jesse at 11:08 pm  

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