Today has been a pretty good day. Though we’ve been up since half six we’ve seen quite a bit of Shanghai. Well, the main elements. Once we checked in and dropped dropped off our stuff we went in search of some breakfast. But it surprised us that Shanghai isn’t really awake until ten in the morning. But luckily we found this noodle bar (admittedly on the way to McDonald’s as we were starving and on the verge of giving up) which was yummy! I had beef and rice cooked in a lotus leaf. It was delicious and fresh. After that we went off to find two districts in Shanghai. The first was the French Consession which is known for its fine dining and a few shops. We thought it was a lot like London/Europe because of the buildings and streets.. And the red telephone (and wifi) boxes that lined the streets. Then we continued onto the second bit which was Tianzifang which is a bunch of little boutiques (souvenir based) altogether in a clump of bustling alleyways. We enjoyed this a lot as we got to window shop and feel like we were in backstreet Shanghai. Once we tired ourselves out we went back to the hostel of cleaned some of our clothes. Louise has to do this for the next five weeks and I have to say I do not envy her. Then we chilled for a while and heading out at seven for food.
We walked back to the main pedestrianised area called East Nanjing Road and the lights of the signs were pretty awesome. They aren’t ‘in your face’ as such but illuminate the street in a beautiful way. And then, it seemed, the most amazing thing happened. You hear about downpours in Shanghai but you don’t know what it’s like until you experience it. The streets were heaving as Louise and I tried to find food places and then we felt one drop of rain and absolutely everyone ran for cover. (we have found that people walk slowly in China, they give off the appearance that they’re in no rush at any point and that it is quite a relaxed lifestyle) so when we saw everyone move double the speed we ever thought they could (the dramatisation is needed) we knew something was up. But we didn’t realised what it exactly was until we were standing in the middle of a crossroads in the pouring rain on our own and then we ran for cover. After five minutes people started to walk back out with umbrellas. As we didn’t have one.. Or any waterproofs with us, we decided to brave it and go back to the place we ate at this morning because it was cheap and good.
Though it was still raining we really felt like treating ourselves so we went in search of an ice cream place and we found one. The ice cream was okay, I found the chocolate too dark but Louise loved hers! When we came back outside it was pouring so we decided we buy an umbrella so we don’t have to stand for ages. I bought a red one for good luck and off we headed back towards the Bund and our hostel. The puddles were so deep our feet and flipflops were sodden. The fantastic thing about all this was that Louise’s flipflops were so old that they had lost all grip. So there were multiple times where she almost slid across the pavement. I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched her walk. By the time we got to the Bund the rain had eased off so we spent the next hour (unintentionally) walking (or Louise running) up and down the Bund. It was just.. The perfect evening in Shanghai. I have to say that I expected the lights on the skyscrapers to be as impressive as I was told they would be or like the ones of East Nanjing Road but they were a bit of a letdown. Nevertheless, it was really fun.
Once we got back to the hostel we decided to go up to the bar at the top and have a drink before bed. A Chinese girl called Wendy in our dorm joined us and it was really nice to get to know her a little. Louise asked her questions about guys, drinking in China but also talked about the education system etc. Very educational. So now, I’m in bed. And it’s pretty comfy here. I don’t want to get up in only six hours time but I have to. And i don’t want to say goodbye to Louise. At all.