Monday, July 29, 2013


Nihao, Shanghai.
So Shanghai is in China, and we live in what we hear is the more upmarket China, so the thought of going to mainland brought to mind many things say, spitting, pushing, and general discourtesy, but 'liveable' and 'awesome' surely weren't some of them.  But gee willy, did we love Shanghai. 
<3 airport lounges

We began the trip on a high note.  Recently we decided that we needed to change our credit card (read: HSBC is the devil's bank) to something more lucrative in terms of miles.  So we got an AMEX linked to Cathay miles and one of the many bonuses is lounge access at airports across the world.
No, please leave the bumf in the bindon

The HK lounge is nothing exceptional, but free food with salad bar, and coffee and beer isn't a bad way to start a trip.  We really enjoyed HK airline and their entertainment systems, arrived on time, hit zero immigrations lines or issues, and hopped in the first cab that was right outside.  This is not the China we'd been hearing about.
Thanks, Vanessa!

We arrive 2 hours earlier than expected to Vanessa's, Paul's cousin.  Vanessa has an amazing flat.  A flat that would eat ours and still have room for more.  2 more.  Vanessa also has the cutest little sweat heart dumpster kitten, Lou.  And Vanessa also has the biggest most welcoming and fun personality of anyone I have met in a long time.  She's had an amazing life so far spanning Pittsburgh, Norleans, Ecuador, and now China, and I have no doubt she'll keep doing great things all around the world.
Big wide spaces with a huge lack of people.  Amaze.
Day 1 we managed to get up and out of the house by 2, as we had a bit of a session the night before.  Paul and I ventured down to Yang's dumplings near People's Park.  These deliciously greasy, soupy, meaty, and bready dumplings were the beginning of the end for Paul.  But damn were they good. 
Paul <3s Yang's now....
Afterward, we strolled down toward the park, and went up to the top floor of the Radisson in hopes of views.  Their Window's restaurant boasts panoramic views of the whole city as you sit in a lounge slowly rotating round.  Paul had whiskey sour and I indulged in a 1994 Great Wall Reserve.  For those of you not familiar, Great Wall is a Chinese wine.  China is now the 5th country in terms of land under vine, and 7th in terms of volume of wine produced.  GW is known for their garbage wine, but this honestly wasn't bad.  It was nothing to write home about (wait...) but was not offensive and was quite feminine and elegant considering.
Windows on the Park at the Radisson

China Wine.
Then we braved the 100+ degrees again to walk through the shopping district to the Tourist Tunnel.  Nina had warned/advised that this was totally cheesy but totally worth it, and she was dead on.  This tunnel goes under Huangpu river.  It gets better.  You get into a gondola sort of car (ours was empty, thank you Tuesday travel) and go through a tunnel enshrined in blinking lights.  Lights in circles, dangling lights, and then inflatable scarecrow men join the menagerie.  I don't get it either.  Totally weird and most definitely warranted some sort of  state altering drug before entering.  Next time.

Tourist Tunnel.  A must.

Wonderful tapas + wine set at....Las Tapas in the French Concession

We then made our way through Pudong to the Aquarium, which was great, and back to Yang's dumplings.  Only one order this time, and we got to watch as the dumplings were steamed in copious (copious!) amounts of oil before being pried off their industrial wok and onto your plastic plate.  Delicious.
Guess where!

Later that day, and Paul was feeling none too good from dem dumplins.  I felt fine, but that's probably because I only had 2 and he had 16.  Live and learn.  We eventually made our way over to the French Consession, which is just lovely!  Tree lined streets, cute little apartments, and no one!  Everywhere we went, we were shocked by the lack of people.  This is China, isn't it??  And to top it off we visited (one of 2 times) Boxing Cat Brewery.  It's a Shanghainese brewery that we were first introduced to in HK as it appeared as a guest tap at the Globe.  It was even better in SH and totally made us nostalgic of seasonal beers back home.  Pumpkin beer, anyone?
Tasty Yunnan dinner with Vanessa at Lost Heaven
We had an awesome day 2 with Vanessa exploring Mao's (propganda) house, Jing-an, and the French Concession, and basically sat in awe of how liveable Shanghai is.  Easy and cheap to get around, sunshine!, no English- but with google translate taxis are a breeze, and big big big apartments.  Hmmm. 
Mao's house.  It's MAO'S HOUSE
If you'd had asked me 5 years ago in DC if I'd be living in Asia now, I would have laughed.  If you asked me 2 years ago in Korea if I'd be living in Hong Kong, I probably would have snorted my beer.  If you ask me today where I'll probably live next, I would be inclined to answer Shanghai.  But that's 2-5 years off at the soonest and Spain could well get their nonsense together by then.
Paul <3s Boxing Cat Brewery
So totally awesome 3.5 days in Shanghai getting to know the city, and more importantly more of Paul's family.  It was so fantastic to sit with Vanessa and Paul and hear them hash out old Fiehler stories; the kind of stories you only get from 20+ years of history.  So, thank you Vanessa, thank you thank you thank you!

And did I tell you!?  I have accepted a new job! Marketing and Sales (title tbd?) for Ginsberg + Chan.  G+C is a small (I believe I'm #5) fine wine merchant located in Happy Valley. Hello, island.  The portfolio along with the owners really impressed me, and definitley convinced me that this would be a great place to work, learn, and taste.  Woot.  And a side bonus, the job doesn't start until September 1st, which means summer vacation continues on.

Tomorrow Disney!

Smell ya later, Shanghai











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