Hello from rainy but oh-so-fantastic Shanghai.
We were warned that Monday would be rainy, after a fabulous weekend, and true to form (or the weather widget) Monday has dawned grey and rainy. Which means a day in the Shanghai Museum (“not to be missed” according to the guidebook) or a day in that other temple to culture, Ikea (“not to be missed” according to us).
I’ll let you know what we ultimately decide.
So far, what have we done?
Walked for miles and miles – even by my standards, so you can imagine my husband’s grumbling – but it is such an easy city in which to walk. Despite the crowds, the pavements are wide and clean and pretty unencumbered. Coming from Delhi, those are luxuries, remember. Several times up and down The Bund already, and I went for a brilliant run there early yesterday morning, enjoying not only the run per se, but also the great people watching. A group of wide-eyed villagers from Yunnan (I think) with turbans and colourful embroidered clothes, who gawped at me as much as I did at them. A lady playing the flute. Lots of tai-chi. Men repairing a large fishing net along the Suzhou Creek.
We have eaten hugely and well, and last night – oh joy of joys – found a restaurant with several veggie options for Anjulie, who battles to eat here. China doesn’t yet seem to have fully embraced the concept of vegetarian food, nor the concept of just fish or just meat. Prawns and pork, a popular combo in dimsum and dumplings, for example, pose a problem for all us of – vegetarian/non meat-eater/allergic. But we are coping, and eating well, thanks to Hari who has scouted out lots of good places. A year into Shanghai and he has got to grips with much of the city and has given us a huge list of To Dos, while he works.
Yesterday he took us to his favourite tea vendor in the amazing Tianshan Tea Market, where we had great fun sampling at least a dozen different teas, and shopping up a storm of flower tea and jasmine tea and buckwheat tea and many more.
We also checked out the Sunday marriage market in People’s Park, where hundreds of parents, family members and brokers meet (but no youngsters) to read the ads that are everywhere, or to discuss, or to note down the details of prospective partners in notebooks. A sort of classified ads meets Lonely Hearts column come to life.
Ikea it is.