As with Rio de Janeiro, we arrived and so did the rain. This was not too bad though since it provided respite from the heat (upon leaving Paris it was 12C and the forecast for Shanghai was 28C). This made the drive from the airport uninspiring since I was unable to pictorially capture my first views of ChinaL
So let’s go back to the airport – the immigration and customs line wasn’t too long and the interview was a breeze with no redundant questions like “why are you here?” After this it was a mad dash to the baggage area, returning residents were definitely the clear winners (home court advantage), but we made it unscathed as we quickly learned agile cart movements so as not to get run over. Lucky for us, we were greeted by our professors and Eric (our tour guide of sorts), I was very happy to see a few familiar faces to take us to our nice pink bus and ultimately to the Mingde Hotel.
Yes our bus is pink. Here we are driving in the rain in a pink bus and as I peer through the fog and rain all I see are modern skyscrapers, endless crisscrossing highways and transmission towers. In my alternate reality, all of China looks like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and sad to say, this modern Shanghai did not fit the bill. I was hoping to see a visual juxtaposition of modern and ancienne (can you tell we were just in France?) but this was not to be, well not initially.
Aha, so let’s get back to the donkey on the menu. In our quest for real authentic Chinese food and all that it entails, we ignored the recommendations given to us and took a taxi (green, yellow or white but not red, never red) to this trendy little shopping district where at 9:00 PM on a Sunday night it felt like Times Square on a Thursday night in July! There was an Apple Store and next to it, a tiny merchandiser who offered us cards for faux products, and many other stores one of which was a traditional restaurant with donkey on the menu. Did I try it? No, I kept seeing “Donkey” from SHREK and so I ordered hot pot shrimp instead. But I must admit this was my first time going out in a group where none of us knew the local language despite the five languages spoken between the three of us. Communications is going to be a challenge here. How big? I don’t know, but what lovely stories it will provide.
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Regardless of how much I love traveling, I’m gonna be honest – long-haul flights are brutal, especially flying coach! Before I got the hang of it, I would board all excited but too many hours later, arrive feeling achy and irritable and trying not to glare at the immigration officers 🙂
Wanna see how much I can do in two days in Bordeaux? Well, when time is short and you have excellent hosts and like minded peers, you get your fancy, okay, comfortable walking shoes, your shades and scarf and you hit the road. Continue reading “Two days, one night in Bordeaux”
FAM (Familiarization (hosted) trips) are meant to wow and truly showcase the best that the host has to offer and this trip certainly wowed me! 10 days in the south of France may be too short for some, but with a great, well thought out itinerary, it can be quite fun and intoxicating…pun intended. Continue reading “Southern France in 10 Days”
Exotic foreign travel doesn’t have to be scary. With the right precautions and preparations, your venture to a foreign (language) country can be quite exciting, especially if you learn a little about the culture and common greetings before getting there. This is especially relevant if you do not speak, write or read the local language. But what a wonderful way to get outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself!
What do you do when Aeromexico advertises amazing flight deals from USA to Mexico? You buy four plane tickets for less than what it would cost to buy two tickets from your favorite legacy airline and whip your family away to the impressive, all-inclusive luxury resort – the Hyatt Ziva!
Swanky. Kinda like a 1930’s Chicago speakeasy meets Brooklyn 2003. But don’t let the ambiance fool you, this bar serves up a wide variety I’m here not for the cocktails, but for the whisky, specifically the whisky tasting set. Continue reading “Brillant Whisky Bar Tokyo”
Sexy and sophisticated with hidden details that both surprise and delight. This luxury hotel, situated next door to Jing’An Park and Temple as well as a myriad of shops and restaurants, is quite aptly branded as an urban resort. The Puli Hotel & Spa in Shanghai discreet entrance is set back from the main street which sets the stage for the resort experience I was about to encounter. Continue reading “Puli Hotel & Spa Luxury Hotel Review”