Shanghai, Travels
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Shanghai part II

The famous Yonkang road or Yonkang Lu in Chinese with it’s many watering holes, has a informal and rowdy spirit. This is were you go to have a beer or two or after-work drinks with your buddys.

Tianzifang_1Tianzifang market is a whole area of very old houses between Taking road and Jianguo Road. It’s a permanent market with products like leather goods, clothes and trinkets.

BohemiaFound a cafe called Bohemia so of course I had to pay a tribute by stopping and having afternoon tea there.

I loved walking around the wet markets with its live fish in tanks and vegetables in abundance. Finding vegetables and fish that I have never seen before. And I also liked that one can buy vegetables and fruit almost everywhere on the streets, very fresh and available.

Displayed very neat and orderly inside in the wet market, more haphazardly and creative outside the shops, spilling out into the street. This is taken just around the corner from where I stayed. However I would find soon enough that’s not always the case elsewhere in Asia.

bullfrogsThe bullfrog though is an exotic food ingredient I can manage very nicely without. Feel a bit sorry for them though…

Pudong_delcollageBest view ever from is from Hyatt on the Bund. The view from here is jaw-dropping! It overlooks the Pudongs skyscrapers on the other side of Huangpu river. Bearing in mind that for fifteen years ago there was nothing there except wharfs and farmland, it’s pretty mind-blowing. Pudong means literary The East Bank of the Huangpu River, is Shanghai’s equivalent to Manhattan and it’s estimated to home around six million inhabitants. Breath taking at night with it’s dazzlingly and glittering lights.

ThebundThe view over The Bund is equally spectacular, with its classical old buildings lining the waterfront and the skyscrapers towering behind them.

Consulate_1The French Concession was also a place very personal to me as this was where my parents met, got married and lived in. And both my brothers were born here too. I felt that even though this was a short visit, I understand a bit more about my family history after being here, walking the streets, soaking up the ambience and visiting their old hunting grounds. Of course life was very different then, but I still can picture their life a bit more clearly now when I’ve seen it for myself.

Consulate_3One place where I really felt the history was at the former British Consulate Residence, where everything seemed to be entirely intact since the roaring twenties. A beautiful old building set in a lush garden with ponds of Karp fish and an old world opulence about it. I could picture party’s and receptions on galore, cars driving up the gravel driveway and dropping of people in their finest rags.

Consulate_2Cocktail party’s in the dark panelled, spacious and elegant rooms. People smoking and dancing. Today it’s a quiet and dignified restaurant. A place where people speak in hushed tones and where a pot of afternoon tea costs an arm and a leg.

Mark_EssieOne day I had the privilege to be invited to a tea ceremony at the home of a lovely couple, Mark and Essie. They live close to the old city of Jiading. It was also a wonderful contrast to the hectic lifestyle in Shanghai.

teaThe tea ceremony is not a rushed affair but an act of mindfulness, to be savoured slowly.

JiadingWe shared many interesting talks that day, when I was also showed the old town with canals crossing through it, with beautiful parks with small lakes and temples.

Jiading2We talked about Confucianism and Taoism, of Chinese history and of life in China today. I feel honoured that Mark took the time to spend with me, a virtual stranger as I am. It was like getting a precious gift.

Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer

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