[continuation of yesterday’s Night in Shanghai]
i didn’t think i’d have time to get out and see much of Shanghai, but thanks to jet lag, i was pretty awake at 5 AM. i left the hotel a little after 6 and walked down to the Bund, the colonial-era waterfront area of Shanghai, and man am i glad i did!
it’s perhaps the most iconic part of Shanghai, plus you get a great view across the river to Pudong and the equally (or more so?) iconic Oriental Pearl Tower.
i am not sure if there was a kite festival going on or if people just like to fly kites on Sunday mornings, but it was quite a sight, with all sorts filling the sky. i don’t think i’ve ever seen kites go that high before — these were some serious kiters, making them loop around and do tricks and all!
Did I mention there were a lot of kites? //t.co/eFdhO8Knoj
— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) September 27, 2014
the colonial buildings from the early part of the last century stand so majestically overlooking the Huangpu River, and even though it’s recent history highly influenced by outsiders, there is an undeniable sense of grandeur and pride (well, at least, to me). it’s too bad i went at a time when none of the buildings were open so i couldn’t take a peek inside.
a stop at starbucks
i really needed a coffee so ducked in to a Starbucks where i had a “dark caramel latte” (think caramel macchiato but less rich and sweet) and red bean scone (luckily more scone than red bean — i don’t really like red bean but felt compelled to try something local).
and, i finally got a chance to try out VPN since my phone and hotel wifi both circumvent the Great Firewall (see the bottom of yesterdays’ post for more details)! (and yes, i’m still alive and well.)
On VPN (VPNGate, free) on the Starbucks wifi and I feel so subversive. Looking shit up just because I can. pic.twitter.com/0OZcfc9SKM
— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) September 27, 2014
i’m such a bad boy!
sidebar: vpn in china i think most hotels, at least Western chains, have internet service that is not subject to Great Firewall censorship. also, if you’re on a T-Mobile SIM like me, your data is routed through the US, so again, you’re free of the Firewall. it’s good, though, to have a VPN set up which will basically tunnel your internet traffic, encrypted, to a server in another country so it looks like you’re browsing from there instead of China. this is especially true if you are on a local SIM or public wifi, otherwise you won’t be able to access a lot of sites you and i take for granted (like anything Google). i used VPNGate, which you will have to set up before you leave since that page is blocked in China.
well, really it was breakfast time, but i ate so much it definitely was a brunch. across the street from last night’s xiaolongbao place is a branch of Yang’s Fry Dumplings, which also came highly recommended. much like the xlb place, you order at the register to your left when you walk in — there’s a menu in English. if you are just ordering dumplings, you get a receipt you present outside at the window (they’ll ask, i think, if you want it to go or for here. i just pointed at the pile of yellow plates to signify i wanted it for here). if you order anything else (including drinks), you’ll get a plastic number sign to place on your table once you get your dumplings; just find a free table and sit down. this branch had an upstairs.
if you like pot stickers, you’ll love these. four shrimp and pork dumplings for 11 RMB ($1.80); i got two orders and a 4 RMB (65 cents) can of coke. they are quite large, the thick-skinned bottom (ok, that’s oddly phrased) is crispy from being pan fried, and there is a bit of broth in them. so delectably delish! i think if i didn’t get that scone at Starbucks i could have finished all 8 that i ordered, but i was forcing 6 down as it was. ugh. (and still feeling bloated now, hours later).
ahhhh finally a chance to ride it at top speed (again, during rush hour), 430 km/h (267 mph).
here’s a hyperlapse (i was hoping the portrait would give more of a visual field; to view this at full resolution you may need to click the YouTube icon to load the video separately):
welp, so long, Shanghai! thanks for the super-duper high speed rail and the food!