New hostel and new routines.
Our neighbour decided to clear all, and I mean all, of his orifices at 6.30am.
Back to sleep.
Next wake up call was simultaneously a kindergarten whose playground backs onto the hostel and an orchestra who tune up at 8.30 in the morning starting playing at 9am. There is no double glazing in China, God knows they could do with it.
Birthday over we were back on the tourist trail and off to the Museum of Shanghai, this time it was free and you could just walk in, after going through the obligatory security checks, obviously! It is a fascinating museum, loads of English information, we learnt lots about ceramics, Buddha stones and bronze pots and how to make them. I now want a potter’s wheel for my next birthday present.
We found a place for lunch that you could just build your own dish. There were 2 fridges, one with all types of veg, one with various parts of animals and balls made up of various parts of animals. Luckily the food hygiene was of sufficient level to require 2 bowls, one for veg and one for meat. The tongs were not so defined. We naturally used our tongs for veg THEN meat, no other person I saw did the same. Still, all the food is taken away, cooked in a hot tasty broth and given back to you with a bowl of rice. We had a lot of green with our soup. All the Chinese people I was watching do this afterwards had more meat than veg, and a lot of it!!! It cost us less than a fiver and was more than our five a day (a rarity), and no,we have no idea what that pink luncheon meat was, but it was tasty.
Next up was another part of Shanghai to visit, the French Concession area, Xintiandi, which we knew was going to be slightly commercialised, but even we were stunned at how plastic and fake it all was. Everything had been rebuilt in the old colonial style, with top end shops, restaurants, and boutiques inserted into them. It was not backpacker territory, it was posh tourists territory and we saw plenty of them (with their nice white linen and freshly ironed chinos). We walked back into Shanghai with its chaotic traffic, piles of rubbish, cables everywhere and felt much better.
More walking followed and we got to another French Concession area, Tianzifang, which was less high end tourism and more normal tourist tat for sale, in hundreds of shops down narrow little alley ways, with more bars and restaurants, with happy hours (still at ridiculous prices).
We stopped for a cup of tea and caught up with the unfortunate news of the elections in America and whatsapp’d friends who were similarly disappointed. Maybe democracy doesn’t work and China is right??? One for a pub discussion I think!
We wandered back into the throng of tourists. A French group of middle aged tourists seemed not content with walking around and seeing the place but had to do a treasure hunt through the area as well. They were dashing around like excited kids, pushing and shoving everyone out the way to get a red crepe paper prize. Sometimes I feel as if I am from a different planet.
Guy was tempted with a tofu and mango desert, the tofu was hot, which made it slightly too rice pudding like for me, he loved it.
Guy decided we should go to a Cantonese for tea. It was just like home. We had no 15 and no 22 and an over priced beer. No 15 was sweet n sour pork and was sweet and gloopy. No 22 was egg fu yung and was eggy and ricey. Guy did enjoy it. The setting was ace though in an old restaurant (not restored) with even the light switches being the ‘old black sticky out the wall ones’!
We then made our way home, via our local supermarket for some Great Wall wine and snacks. It was cheap, Chinese wine. We have had worse in the U.K.