Sunday, 14 July 2013

our first adventures in shanghai. . .

 i can't believe i've been here in china for about 10 days now!
logan came out here about a week before me to figure out
where we were staying etc. & i am super glad he did!
he went to church the first sunday he was here & met a lovely
family who was going home to utah for the summer & graciously 
offered to let logan & i live in their house while they were gone.
it's about 40 minutes from downtown shanghai & we've loved 
getting to know this area:)

my first full day in the city was pretty much a blur.
i was struggling with jet lag and it was a little hard to keep my eyes open
by mid afternoon!
we went to the bund which is a beautiful waterfront with an amazing view.
i'm excited to go back at night & see all the buildings light up!
the next day we went to the other side of the river and got an up-close
view of all the buildings in the financial center.
it's insane how many people there are here!
a ton of people ride little electric motorcycles around the city & they pretty
much don't stop for pedestrians, so you have to be careful when crossing the street
or you'll get flattened by a little old lady.

 while in the financial center we went to super brand mall which is
one of the largest malls in asia.
every time i say 'super brand mall' in my head i just imagine a really excited
asian person saying it really fast with their hands in peace signs.
try it-it's fun.
you'd think that after perusing 13 floors of shops logan would find something he 
liked to take the place of his beloved 'texas twang' shirt he 
bought one day on a whim... but alas, he didn't find anything he wanted. 

 we randomly decided to hit up the shanghai zoo one day.
literally 30 seconds after we bought the tickets it started pouring rain.
we were super excited to see the giant pandas there.
we figured they'd probably be walking about, thriving, eating bamboo.
this is what we found when we got there:

by far the cutest & most active animal we saw there was the lesser panda.
so cute!
the monkeys were also hilarious-they just came right up to the 
fence and stuck our their little hands waiting for people to
throw them little chips and popcorn even though they had
signs everywhere telling people not to feed them.

dinner that night was probably one of the most entertaining 
experiences we've had here so far. 
we read about this place online & knew he had to try it out. 
it was in a pretty busy part of town which was fun to see.
we walked in & they put us in an elevator and took us to the top floor
of this tall building.
the waiting room there was half the fun!
they had everything you can think of-manicures, shoe shines, massages, 
board games, wi-fi all for free while you wait!
when we were seated at our table the waiters were trying to explain
to us how the restaurant worked. 
it's a hot pot which means you pick your meat, veggies & whatever & you throw
it in a big pot of boiling water right in front of you.
you can add whatever spices or sauces you like!
the waiters got a kick out of logan's chinese.
he took some classes at BYU for fun & knows enough conversational chinese to get by.

the coolest thing was when this guy came over to our table to make fresh noodles.
he just whipped out this little plate with a block of dough & started spinning & stretching it
to make them.
it was like he was doing some sort of kung-fu dance or something-swinging the 
noodles back & forth and spinning them in the air.
and they were delicious!
then the waiters said they had a surprise for us.
they brought us out this fruit plate & sang a little song complete with hand actions.
it was pretty hilarious:)
before we left they said they had a gift for us.
it was a little white box & inside was a silver knife & fork with little hearts on them.

we wanted to see the "old" part of shanghai, so we went to a place
called qibao old street.
it's basically a big market area with lots of little shops & street food.
there were sooooo many people there walking around these crowded little alleyways. 
they sold every random souvenir-type thing you can think of from
jewelry to pet crickets in little baskets. 

we got hungry while we were there so we decided to get some food
from one of the many street vendors.
i was a liiiiittle nervous about this because there were some pretty
random things that i saw & smelled while we were walking around.
we found some little dumplings & i was kinda scared to try
them because i was convinced they'd be filled with some sort of sea food.
anyone who knows me knows that i despise sea food & i was not in the mood
to go biting into things & not have a clue what was inside.
we found one vendor & logan assured me the dumplings were filled
with pork and veggies, so i decided to be brave and dug in.
they were actually pretty tasty!
stiiiill not %100 sure if it was pork, but that's what i'm going to keep
telling myself i ate:)

we found a neat antique market one day called dongtai lu. 
most of the pieces aren't really antiques, but it is still fun to go
 walk around & look at all the things they are selling.
i decided i wanted a little buddha head statue as a souvenir to put 
on our bookshelf or something. 
 you barter for pretty much everything here.
we've probably paid more than we should on a few things, but half the fun
of going to these little markets is the bartering.
all the vendors have calculators they pull out and they wave them in your face
when they see you're interested in something.
in very bad english they tell you to name your price, & you basically just pass
the calculator back and forth until you agree.

one day while logan was at work i went out to the jing'an temple.
it's a buddhist temple right in the middle of a big shopping area.
i took a ton of pictures while i was there.
they had these big metal pagoda-looking things that had fire in them, & people
could pay for these sticks that they'd light in the fire & use for prayers.
in the middle was a big metal urn that people were throwing coins into.
people were praying all around the temple, and before walking up the stairs
they were rubbing a metal slab.
when you walked into one section of the temple there was a giant statue
of buddha that everyone was bowing down to.
it was a neat experience!

on another day we went out to yuyuan gardens which is probably
my favorite area we've seen so far. 
the gardens are so pretty-they have amazing ponds with koi fish & beautiful
flowers & trees everywhere.
the neat thing is that the gardens are near a large shopping area that has very traditional
looking chinese buildings.
once again-logan was sporting his favorite shirt:)

after walking around the gardens for a while we walked through
the streets of the market in search for something to eat.
we found this giant cafeteria-style restaurant where you took plates of
the food you wanted, paid & then sat down.
they had soooo many choices, but like %90 of them had some sort of sea food
in them so i stuck to some pork pot stickers and noodles.

one thing we learned about through talking to people was the giant
fabric market close to the bund.
you can have anything you want custom made & if you are good at
bartering get it for a fraction of the cost in the U.S. 
our friend, tanner, from church served his mission in taiwan & speaks great chinese so
he came with us to the market so ensure we got a good deal on things.
tanner ended up getting an entire suit that will be ready in a week for $60.
logan got a dress shirt made for $12.
most of the places can make anything you want if you have a picture.
i want to look online at asos or anthropologie for a dress i love & see if
tanner can help me get it made for super cheap, which would be awesome!

the food here has been pretty great!
we found a place that has really amazing steak pho.
we may or may not have gone two nights in a row:)
aaaand to top it all off i found my favorite candy of all time: percy pigs!
i probably ate my weight in percy pigs while i was in london on study abroad.
i think i brought home like 20 bags!
i will definitely be bringing some home from china.
i'll probably need to buy an extra suitcase for them-no joke.

needless to say, we've been having some pretty fun adventures here in 
good old shanghai!
if the weather would just stop being so humid maybe we could stand to be outside
longer than a couple hours.
i though texas was bad but honestly i haven't felt humidity like this in like ever.
it is pretty miserable so i end up throwing my hair up and wearing like
the exact same outfit every day because i did NOT pack well.
soooo if you choose to come to china in the summer time just beware!

i'm so glad logan's work has been flexible so we've been able to 
spend a lot of time together exploring the city, & i
can't believe we only have about two weeks left here!
zai jian!


  1. I love living vicariously through you - China looks amazing!

  2. What a great adventure! I'd say you pretty much lucked out in the housing department. Good for you! Keep posting!

  3. Yay! So how do you travel from the house into the city? And speaking of house... that is unreal! How luck are you two? And Caroline and I decided that you look like Sara Jayne in that last picture! Post more pictures!!! :)