Day 25: CONSTRUCTION DUST
Having slept last night kinda late, we had a little trouble waking up this morning. But Julie’s mother called long distance to the hotel and that kind of forced us to be awake. She was quite concerned about the H1N1 virus going around and she wanted to make sure we had masks. Of course, she’s in California, which we thought would be more serious than out here where reported cases were still few.
It wasn’t until after 10am that we left the hotel because Seav and Leslie were caught in traffic on the way over here.
Seav had to work so Leslie was the one who led us around.
We weren’t quite sure which joint was the one that sold the real soup dumplings because there were more than one that had the same name. We ended up going to one of the dives upstairs, but we were quite disappointed with the soup dumplings we had there.
All they served was pork, but the skin of the dumplings were suspect as they were soft and the insides of the dumplings didn’t really have the explosive hot soup inside.
It wasn’t until Julie went to the restroom did she realize there was yet another restaurant on the same floor. When she snuck a peak at some of the peoples’ food, she noticed the skin on those dumplings were thinner. That was when she realized that perhaps we did go to the wrong one.
Well we were too full to try the other restaurant at this instant.
So we decided to tour the garden and work off the junk dumplings we had earlier before returning here for another go at the soup dumplings. After all, we couldn’t come to Shanghai without seeing what the real soup dumplings were about.
Like the ones we saw in Suzhou, this compact garden was all about simplicity and how you could get different views of the same thing.
By 12:30pm, we were eating at the other restaurant. This time, we had crab dumplings instead of the pork ones at the imitation place.
So I felt kind of bad that we had to take another taxi to get over to the financial district, getting there some time around 2:30pm.
From that point, we walked into the welcoming air-conditioned base of the Shanghai World Financial Center Tower. At some 472m high, it was said to house the tallest public observatory in the world.
There, we bought the tickets and followed the futuristic-themed paths leading to a waiting area where we were introduced to Shanghai’s plans for the financial district as well as some of the statistics about the tower we were about to ascend.
Eventually, we went up some 94 floors to get into a glassy area where another elevator took us up to the 100th floor.
The elevators were quite smooth and the only thing letting us tell we were going up (besides the floor indicator screen) were our ears popping.
The more I thought about how Shanghai’s got lots of construction for improved public transport, a souped up tourist area based on the financial center, and trying to modernize everything, the more I kept thinking how backwards we are back in the States. Too much impedance of progress by special interests bribing politicians and seeing how even China has been surpassing us is just indicative of that.
Even though the skies were thick with haze from a combination of smog and construction dust, the views were still beautiful as we were looking down at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and other surrounding financial buildings.
After doing this bit of touring, we tried to beat the heat with a little chit chat and some gelatos again at 3:45pm.
By around 5:30pm we met up with Seav again and we went to a restaurant called Dongbei Ren (North East Person), which was one of Seav and Leslie’s favorites. We had quite a few sweet foods and a couple of local stuff, but it was really more about the chit chatting as we dined here.
We sat directly beneath an air conditioning vent so while I was freezing as the dinner wore on, it at least blew away most of the cigarette smoke from us.
This time, we could see that the lights on the buildings of the Pudong area across the river were well lit up and much more livelier than last night.
Oh well, maybe we’ll come back to Shanghai to see the finished work after Asia Expo 2010.
At around 9pm, we were back at our hotel. With our early morning start tomorrow morning to catch our flight to Haerbin, we had to call it a night and try to get cleaned up and rested. So we big Seav and Leslie a fond farewell and were on our way to continue on our marathon to cooler (and possibly wetter) places in the Northeast…