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Friday, 01 July 2016

Sensory Delights in Shanghai - Page 3

Written by Jill Weinlein
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Day 3: In the morning we moved to the Pudong area to stay one night at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Our luxury suite was elegantly decorated in soft color palette and offered sensational views of Shanghai. We had a beautiful sitting area, and bedroom with a king-size bed. Inside the closet were silk robes and plush slippers. Beyond was the marble bathroom with a soaking bathtub positioned next to the floor-to-ceiling windows to take advantage of the magnificent city and river views.
The property offers six dining options and afternoon tea service. The fine dining Fifty 8 Grill has a modern French cuisine menu, and Yong Yi Ting presents elegant local cuisine.
My favorite breakfast and lunch item at the hotel were dainty watercress dumplings. They were exquisite.
During lunch we took the Tourist Sightseeing Tunnel under the river to The Bund. It’s a 5 minute psychedelic journey of blinking lights with multimedia themes. Exploring Shanghai we walked over to the French Concession Expat area with its trendy shops, hip coffee houses, and stylish fashion boutiques.
We explored some outdoor street stalls and wet markets to admire the skewers of meat, squid and chicken. Other skewers had rice cakes, whole eggplant, mushrooms, tofu and fish balls. The wet markets have live fish and eels swimming in little plastic containers. Meat and fowl are butchered right before our eyes, as vendors throw water on the narrow walkways to "clean" the blood off of the walkway.
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Locals and visitors tour these areas to purchase the brightly colored produce, chicken parts lined in a row, and eggs of many colors - white, brown, black and blue. Other stalls sell ice cream in a clear glass freezer. One is corn flavored ice cream shaped cleverly as corn on the cob.

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On our last night, a staff member at the MO (Mandarin Oriental) hailed us a cab to take us to dinner at Lost Heaven in the French Concession. The traffic at rush hour was a parking lot in the Pudong area. There are too many cars in Shanghai and not enough infrastructure. What should take about 15 minutes, took us about 50 minutes of driving on side streets and in a stand still at long lights. Cars somehow squeeze three into two lanes. We were shocked we didn’t see any accidents. Horns toot, cars drive up on sidewalks and turn right into humans jumping out of the way. It’s pure chaos.
When we arrived at the tranquil multi-level restaurant, we ordered thick noodles with cold carrots, cucumbers and peanuts bathed in a spicy peanut sauce. The black cod plate and spicy chicken dishes were delicious too.
Hailing a cab back to the MO Hotel was frustrating. At least ten available cabs slowed down, noticed that we were Americans and stepped on the gas leaving us before we could step into the vehicle to go back to Pudong.
Finally, we decided to walk twenty blocks, before reaching a subway station with a train going under the river to Pudong. It was all quite an adventure that I will cherish for years to come. The cacophony of sounds, fascinating smells, tastes and impressive architectural sights in Shanghai and nearby cities is an experience that one must have at least once in their lifetime.

©Jill Weinlein


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Last modified on Friday, 08 July 2016

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