Today was full of fun surprises. The original idea was to look for an inxpensive digital camera at a marketplace recommended by John's Chinese friend, Kevin. The place resembled a mall, but with dozens (hundreds?) of tiny shops, one after another. Walking a narrow aisle, they're on both sides and the owners jump in your path, urging you to enter. "Come, lady, take a look - you need watch, belt,scarf..."?
We stopped to look at one thing and found ourselves being wisked into a scarf shop. (we were not looking for scarves) We went to the back wall where he pulled aside some scarves and revealed a small, hidden door. We followed him into this hidden tiny room and were surprised to see 2 Germans in there negotiating with the guy's brother!
After shopping, we set out again to explore the French Concession neighborhood. We had lunch in a wonderful French restaurant called Parkside Bistro on YanDang Rd.
We loved this part of Shanghai . It has a peaceful and friendly neighborhood feel to it, more European. We walked down alley ways and the people said, "Hello" in English. nobody was juming in our face or spraying anything on our shoes.
We saw a sign that said "Artist", "Atelier", "Oil Painting" and a red arrow pointing into an old dilapitated building. We ventured in and the artist came out to greet us and bring up into his studio. Ted was extremely reluctant to go too far into the building because it was very creepy... like something out of a spy movie. Anyway, he had a lot of large paintings, some very nice but nothing we could lug home. It was fascinating to see inside the old house though.
We found a tiny tea shop where the family was sitting at a table drinking tea. They spoke on English, but the woman brought out a can of jasmin tea and we bought some of that. the 2 men were shouing us tai chi-type moves and showed us a brochure. We think they were inviting us to take a class, but we weren't sure! They seemed genuinely happy to see us though.
In the evening, we met John at a bar at the top of the Jin Mao builing. It's in Pudongm on the east side of the river. We were on the 87th floorm a spectacular spot to see the Shanghai skyline all lit up. John knows the sous chef at the restaurant there. We had a fabulous meal that we were not allowed to pay for. Next John took us to his apartment which overlooks the water and has a great view. On the way back to our hotel the taxi driver suddenly pulled over to the side of the road, said something in Mandarin and jumped out of the car. We thought we were going to be stuck in the middle of the city, late at night and no cab! It turns out he was apparently answering a urgent call of nature. We were soon back to our hotel safely. We Just chaulk it up to our Shanghai experience.