Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Shanghai Day 2: July 28, 2006

(written July 31, 2006)
I ended up sleeping in fairly late. I had set my alarm but when it went off, I was so tired, I couldn’t even drag myself out of bed and let myself go back to sleep. When I did finally wake up, I decided I would head for the museum. I didn’t make it far before I went into a few shops and ended up loaded with purchases. I had to head back to my hotel to drop them off, and pick up my backpack, incase I did any more shopping. I headed for the museum, shopping along the way. I went via Nanjing Donglu, which is only a couple of blocks from my hotel, and starts at the Bund. It is one of the main shopping streets in Shanghai.

A long stretch of it is pedestrian only. Tons of clothing, perfumes, silks, and anything else you could think of. I did a little bit of shopping on the way, but decided to hold off until after my museum visit. The museum is in the Renmin (People’s) Square and Renmin Park area. There are several other important buildings there, including the Art Museum and the Shanghai Grand Theatre.
I was at the museum until they closed. I was able to see everything, although the last room I was only able to do a quick walk through. They had a special exhibition on about Assyria. I enjoyed that very much.
The museum is 4 floors, with many different (mostly permanent) galleries: bronze, ceramics, sculptures, calligraphy, painting, seals, furniture, jade, etc. The coin gallery was closed. Oh well.

Detail on a piece of furniture.

They started herding everyone out at 5. I just made it into the little museum bookstore for some post cards before they shut the door. I was the last one they let in.

The front of the museum and some other buildings around the People's Square area.

After the museum, I headed back down Nanjing Donglu. I was hungry so I was trying to find somewhere to eat. I was thinking of just going to McDonalds, as it is always fast and easy. There is a McDonalds on almost every block of the Nanjing Donglu, but most of them only serve ice cream, milkshakes and drinks. As I was wandering along, a couple of Chinese art students started talking to me. I remember when I was in Beijing, a similar thing happened. They were having an art showing and it was the last day. They were from another city in China, and were just there for 3 days. They wanted me to go with them to see their art. I decided why not… I was thinking of looking for some sort of art to buy. The girl spoke English quite well, and really wanted to talk. Their art show was set up in a little room in one of the buildings along the street. Their professor sat at a desk while they took me around the room to talk about the paintings. The girl talked about the meanings of the different pictures. The walls were covered in paintings, all done buy them and their classmates, and a couple by their professor. Then they asked if I wanted to buy any of them, of course. I ended up buying two paintings, coincidentally, one done by each of them (not because they were their paintings, but because they were the paintings that I liked… and I had my eye on them before they told me who painted them). Of course, I had to negotiate a good price. Still, they are some of my most expensive purchases in Shanghai. One is for me; the other is a gift (unless I decide to keep it??).
Still hungry, they suggested a place to eat. It was a little Suzhou Chinese restaurant not far off the main street, where they usually go for lunch. (Suzhou is a small city somewhat near Shanghai. It is also referred to as the “Venice of the East” as it is covered in little canals and waterways.)

The little restaurant.

They took me into the place and helped me pick out my dinner (the menu is only in Chinese, of course) before they had to go. I had a beef noodles dish. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was very good! It was a good meal for only 12Y (less than $2 CAD).

Night views of Nanjing Donglu.

Then I made my way back to my hotel, still doing a bit of shopping on the way. Nanjing Donglu is all lit up at night. The shops close around 9:30pm, and the street is packed until long after that.
It is much easier to find clothing that fits in China than in Korea. It's not that Chinese people are bigger. I'm not sure of the reason, exactly. Several of my Korean friends that are not stick thin often have to order their clothes online, as they have a hard time finding things that fit well. I should look at some pairs of pants or such before I leave, as I know that they are next to impossible for me to find in Korea.
The day exhausted me, and all I did was go to a museum and do a bit of shopping.

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