Exploring Shanghai: Thai Chi and the best dumplings I’ve ever had

This morning I wanted to take Leah to the fitness centre and to watch the Thai chi in the park but when we woke up at 7am it was raining. Instead, we booked our next set of hostels for the following week.

At about 8am the sky started to clear so we got ready quickly and planned to have breakfast in the park. We walked around the neighbourhood a little and found a fruit stall to buy a banana and an orange, then looked at the market stalls selling hot food. All of it looked really interesting (personally not that appetising because almost everything had meet in it) but leah got a pancake wrap type thing that looked quite good (with egg, chives, chilli and something in the middle that we weren’t sure what it was, all wrapped in a thin pancake case) and she said tasted nice. I attempted to buy a plain dumpling (but realised once I had bought it and broke it open that it actually had duck in ūüė¶ ).
We took our lunch to the park and found a seat in an area with a lot of foot traffic and watched people walking by as we ate. We hadn’t seen many white people in Shanghai so we seemed to be a bit of an attraction as people passed us. A man even came up to leah and I and told me that I had a face like a doll and reminded him of his Australian teacher, he then proceeded to air kiss us on either side of our faces and asked us to stroke his face… Needless to say it was a little bit odd but he seemed really nice and friendly.

¬†After breakfast we walked around the park a little and found people still practising Thai chi. We sat down on a bench and walked around for about half an hour. It was so relaxing to watch! Leah noticed that a little girl was peeking around her father to stare at us so waved at her and she waved back. Her father then asked as if we could have a photo with the girl (in actions because they didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Chinese). After the little girl had a photo her mum took her place… It was strange people wanting photos just because we were white but we obliged!

On the way out of the park we were approached by some young Chinese people about our age asking us to take a photo of them. Then we were engaged in conversation for 10 minutes or so before they brought up the fact that they were going to afternoon tea and asked if we wanted to join … The tea scam! ¬†We’d already been warned about this and had read about it in our lonely planet guide so declined straight away. A friend had taken part in this previously and spent ¬£30 on a cup of tea, a 15minute ‘ceremony’ and what she described as touching a voodoo doll for good luck…

We’d been walking around for quite a while this morning so went back to the hostel just before lunch to have a rest. Almost as soon as we got up to our room it started pouring of rain! Be couldn’t be bothered to run out in the rain for lunch so tried out the restaurant attached to the hostel. The food was so good and pretty cheap! We both had dim sum (mine veg and Leah’s meat), shared a plate of aubergines and a beer all for about ¬•60 so ¬£3 each!


After lunch we felt pretty rested so decided to take on the walk to the propaganda museum followed by the French consession. It was lightly raining when we first set off so we didn’t bother with our rain jackets as it was still really hot out. After about 30minutes walk the rain started to pick up and we were drenched.

We thought that the propaganda museum was only 45minutea walk away but it actually took us 1 hour 40minutes (with us only getting slightly lost 5minites from the end!).

When we finally got to the right place we found out that the museum was in the basement of a block of flats that we had passed 4 times! The museum closed at 5pm and we didn’t get there until 4.40pm so only had 20 minutes to look around. The museum was actually pretty interesting. It consisted of a collection of posters produced in the 1900s and showed how they were used for propaganda purposes. With the vast amount of censorship in China it was refreshing to see!

After the museum we got the metro to the French concession but got off at the wrong stop (we mixed up a p and an m of a place name) and ended up walking for another 40 minutes. By the time we reached the French concession we were starving hungry but wanted to have a look around the old streets with its shops and market stalls. The place itself was really pretty and the majority of shops looked sweet and had lots of different things for sale. However the restaurants looked purely for tourists, there was; Thai, morrroccan, Italian, American cuisine etc. but not any Chinese food.

We found a place recommended nearish by in the lonely plate guide and headed there for dinner… After another 30-40 minute walk we were informed that the place was closed! So tired and hungry as we were we went in the first restaurant that we could see that had a picture menu. We ended up in a basic restaurant and ordered vegetarian noodles for me and shrimp egg fried rice for leah. The food wasn’t great but it gave us the energy that we needed to get home.

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