It has officially been a year since I left Shanghai, and my longing to go back still hasn’t waned. In fact, I just can’t help but remember all the fun I had while travelling last year. I’ve been to Singapore and Malaysia, but nothing can beat my favourite city. So, why Shanghai? I can’t decide how to put this in order, so I’m doing the old “first thing that comes to mind” trick.
Mouth-watering spicy lamb cuts, dumplings, and noodles – all that at such a low cost. I regret not trying the fried noodles while I was there, but the bowl I had for my very first authentic Chinese dinner was scrumptious enough to make me want to eat more. I have to admit, their servings are quite big, though.
2. The Company
I miss the friends I made during my 8-day stay, and although most of them came from different countries, there are still those within Shanghai or in the neighbouring cities.
One thing I love about developed Asian countries are the trains. Nothing like a good, cheap ride after a very tiring walk to make me feel better. The fact that Cebu utilizes jeepneys rather than trains may also be a contributing factor to my love and fascination with them.
There are big, walkable sidewalks in the city that don’t make me feel like I’m going to be run over by a car anytime soon. It further promotes walking as a form of transport, and everybody knows China needs to reduce the amount of air pollution in the country.
The sun was shining as bright as a summer sun in China could, but the breeze was cool enough to make one comfortable. The temperature at night felt like a mere 20 degrees, and airconditioning in the room I stayed in was not needed at all.
6. Nobody Cares What You’re Wearing
I don’t think I have to explain this.
I’m a biker. Always have been, always will be. So naturally, the amount of bicycles in the city and its bikability, is something very appealing to me. And Shanghai just so happens to have a LOT of bicycles, spacious bike lanes, and convenient bike racks. So excuse me while I get sad over the short amount of time I had to stay there which totally made buying a bicycle a decision not even worth thinking about. I was disappointed that they didn’t have bicycle rentals, but according to a friend I made while I was there, the bicycles sold in Shanghai are so cheap, that rentals aren’t even considered.
The exchange rate is this: 1 Yuan = 7 Philippine Pesos. I can have a full meal for 15 Yuans. A plateful of Lamb is only for 43 Yuans. Transportation on the trains and buses are only from 1 to 2 Yuans. Stationery is cheap. Souvenirs are cheaper – if you know where to buy them. One could live a day there for less than a hundred Yuans, and even a hundred is already quite much.
The city is so rich with culture that it’s quite hard to go around without learning something new every time you turn a corner. Their museums are chock-full with knowledge waiting to be absorbed, and if you visit Shanghai with very little time to spare, it’s impossible to tour all the museums from top to bottom without missing anything.
I would have wanted to spend a day or two immersed in the greens of Tongji University, but my schedule just didn’t allow it. I did, however, get the chance to walk around the campus and enjoy the peace and quiet. There are Tai Chi lessons being held in the parks, and some others also meditate and do wood carving.