The holiday (well, it was a holiday for me and a business trip for hubby) began when we got to Manchester airport (having left DC with his grandparents in Wigan) and settled in for a coffee at Costa; then it was a short hop down to Heathrow (I'm pretty sure the aeroplane barely had time to get off the ground before we had landed again, but in the few minutes where the wheels did actually leave terra firma we were served a drink and a snack - not that any one had time to let their hot drinks cool before they were being collected up again, but that's not the point); once at Heathrow we had three hours to kill so we made our way to Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food and settled in for the duration - yum, that's Eggs Benedict (except with smoked salmon) for yours truly and a full English for hubby. We settled in so nicely that we ended up having to run for the plane; yes, that's right, we had a three-hour layover and still nearly missed our flight; plus I even managed to leave my coat behind and had to wait til we flew back to the UK to collect it. I know, even I find myself amazing sometimes,
Within minutes we were at the end of the line at which point we picked up a taxi to take us to our hotel as we weren't in the mood to tackle the underground system.
|Both photos from the Din Tai Fung website|
The next day (Monday), international businessman had to get up early and head off for his meeting; I had also intended getting up early and heading out to explore, but somehow that didn't happen and it was after 11am by the time I dragged myself out of the very comfortable bed.
It was a lovely spring day - beautiful blue skies, some warmth in the sun but still a hint of coolness/freshness in the air. My first stop was Costa in the IFC mall. I settled in with a latte, a guide book and my book club book, The Thread by Victoria Hislop (as already discussed here.)
It was a very popular spot and great for people-watching which, when twinned with coffee-drinking, has to be up there in my top ten (five, even?) of things to do. I'm nosey, so sue me.
Once I was fully caffeinated I headed into the mall; most of the shops were of little interest (clothes, shoes, handbags, all of the designer variety and all out of my price league [and, more likely, size range], however down in the depths was a supermarket - now this was more like it. Does anyone else take great pleasure in wandering round supermarkets/food shops when they're overseas? I love seeing whether it's possible to get food from 'home' when abroad, just on the off-chance that I was marooned/seconded/offered a bazillion pounds to stay. And I love finding new foods that you can't get at home. Luckily, Shanghai will suit very nicely if we ever have to live there. There are chocolates for me:
jellies for hubby
After discovering that the major food groups were covered, I made my way to the nearest subway station, negotiated a ticket-buying machine and found my way to the platform. Luckily, the subway system in Shanghai is very easy to use; nearly all station names are written in English (as well as Chinese, obviously); all announcements are given in English (ditto Chinese) and the ticket machines also have an English page. And it's cheap, at approximately 30p per ride; not to mention sparkly and clean - come on, London, you've got a lot of catching up to do.
And a few minutes later I was on the other side of the river and wandering along Nanjing Road.
The Food Hall left me in no doubt that Shanghai is definitely a place I could call home (for a short while, at least.)
And, for the beginning of March, the weather wasn't too shabby either.
Before long it was time for me to jump back on the subway and head back across the river.
Downtown Pudong district.
And that is where the photos from my iPhone end; there are more/better ones on the camera that I will definitely get round to downloading some time soon. The photos I took of the historic buildings along the Bund (former head office of HSBC, etc) are worth a look, if nothing else!