a book tells how modern Shanghai was shaped
A book tells how modern Shanghai was shaped, “The Last Kings of Shanghai”, has been one of my readings in the lockdown. How it was shaped? probably many different explanations on how and by whom, we wouldn’t find any answers boring anyway.
This book is more than just entertaining. Through rich investigation, the author tells the story how two Jewish families the Sassons and the Kadoories (Kelly) transformed Shanghai into an international cosmopolitan before mid 20th century. buzzling with glamour. With ‘go get’ attitude, the Sassons and the Kadoories pioneered the foreigners in their era to bring industrious mentality into the city. If you are fascinated by the dynamic culture uniquely in Shanghai, or why it’s named as the capital of “international architecture”, or just interested in those buildings on the Bund. The book presents intriguing picture how the city was initially formed by location and how it’s shaped with the influencers then. Not surprisingly Shanghai is the most pro western city in China. Half a century later, still plenty of literatures and films dotted the fondness for that period, such as the book Peace Hotel (aka Cathay Hotel ).
Interesting books take us afar and away. Back to the reality, whilst we are still adjusting limited travelling for the time being, for the remaining half of year 2020, I feel this book gives me the comfort in my ‘comfort zone’!
What’s the fun in those fine days!
Always get prepared before your planning and travelling, so much to do!
How we enjoyed this quiet time at Shanghai
How did we enjoy this quiet time at Shanghai? It’s been a couple of months since the outbreak of coronavirus. We’ve been staying in and keeping outdoor venturing minimum, building up the inner zen …
Still, having fun: how to pass the time during the time of ‘staying in’ all that long, especially not by choice! Exercising at home, making spaces at living rooms, getting used to stretch out any time if feels like; friends try to perfect the culinary skills, no fear with heat in the kitchen… It will be an epic winter in the memory.
Shopping apps are the nearest and dearest for the restrained lazy toes, instructions on how to make the use of Hema, DingDong（叮咚买菜）, not to forget TaoBao, and, JingDong… Those delivery guys are the heroes.
Like entering uncharted territory, will life or the way of living quite the same or different in Shanghai from now on? Oh, perhaps… wait and hope, as Dumas cheered.
Get ready when it’s all over..
Our blog image overlooks NanPu Bridge at Power Station of Art, we’ll make a “splash” on it in blog in the near future.
Favourite Local Breakfast in Shanghai
Did you know the favourite local breakfast in Shanghai? Too many choices as it appears. There’re fritters (油条), you have them with porridge; or wan ton (dumplings); or savoury pastries… just follow the locals, check out the queue they are in. I have discovered the best fried dumplings in town, Yang’s Fried Dumpling, I have been there backwards and forwards several times during this time, with the easy access transport. Today, it’s the ‘chive egg pancake’ at the same street, Huang He Road (one of the many foodie street areas), shown in our blog image Old Shanghai Pancakes, one of the favourite local breakfast, only a few yards from the celebrated Jia Jia Dumpling, oh the long queue once you get there, worth the waiting, promise …
Read more our blog on local food
Did you know the Chinese National Day
Did you know 1st Oct is the Chinese National Day? It’s been 70 years, the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. Celebration are in full swing, major cities like Shanghai obviously Is a cool show piece, whilst the rest of world has been through tear and wear, such as financial crisis, conflicts of political ideology, drama of Brexit and etc, China has been unstoppable rising to a formidable superpower. Credit should be given when it’s due.
Bund (wai tan) is a must to visit for the locals and visitors, you’d be lucky to get through during the main festival time, like in National Day. Police closely watch over, one of the main reasons is to keep the crowds in order, this is to respond the tragic accident a few years ago, when 39 people died due to the traffic chaos.
It was great fun to get to the point, when you seet the east side of Shanghai in the front, after wiggling through pedestrian area at Nan Jing Road, we took a photo shot at that famous view, as we have done many times, still not bored. Our Bund walk was not shaken by the typhoon this time.
Check on our blog wai tan
Shanghai Night we took this video at La Terrazza at Bulgari Hotel Shanghai.
Share your thoughts and tips and experience in Shanghai.
Did you know more flights available to Shanghai …
Did you know more flights available from London to travel to Shanghai directly? Gatwick has opened its “gate” since March, at the time of writing this blog, price is at £468 end of Summer, operated by China Eastern.
Did you know it just takes more than 11 hours to Shanghai (Pu Dong international airport) directly, over 12 hours on the way back. With time difference, it makes sense to switch your body clock to the destination time zone before your travelling. On arrival, ready for all actions.
To celebrate its 100 years in business, British Airway is offering promotion prices, which includes return flights from Heathrow to Shanghai on £508 (check out its dates). Good for them, however, watch out you top it with the check in luggage.
Please let us know if we can be of any helps.
Our blog image is from Mo Gan Mountain (easy access from Shanghai), a cool choice to see the rural China over the weekend.
We are happy to help your flights choice if needed. You can share your favourite Shanghai images with us (we can flaunt them on our Instagram).
How to get ready for summer at Shanghai
How to get ready for summer at Shanghai? We are nearly half way through the year. Summer is calling, isn’t it great to indulge oneself with ice old long drinks under the shades and watch the world goes by… get ready for those hot days!
If you plan to have a week there, we reckon it’s worth having a general plan about what to do, but just go with flow on the rest. It’s a fast paced city, always plenty going on, new sites/ new exhibitions / new gigs etc / new food trends … We have a list for someone who is only going to be there for a week.
- Yu Garden / Xin Tian Di… the former one is old town, where you see the original Oriental architecture, delicious traditional food. Check on our blog; the later one is a revamped residential area, lots of fun places for eating out, shopping, historic sites etc, our blog. These two areas are close by.
- Wai Tan / Pu Dong… you wouldn’t miss Wai Tan (Bund: riverbank) We recommend have an early start on the day, watching the locals enjoying the early morning there, or, becoming part of the evening glamour when you visit in the evening. Standing at Bund, you can see Pu Dong across the river, we also have blog on the best view.
- Shopping / East Bund… don’t miss out the fun of shopping. It is quite expensive to shop the brand goods, you can go shopping for tailor made clothing. We have checked out the place, it is great if you stay there at least a few days, allow the time for fitting etc. Check on our blog. Afterwards, take a stroll on the new development of East Bund.
- Old French Concession… there’re lots going on in this place, it is indeed our favourite place to walk in the town. Check on our blog We recommend visiting Propaganda Poster Art Centre, unusual experience.
- Zhu Jia Jiao / Hang Zhou … one of those days, you may want to venture out Shanghai, have a look the other cities, for example Hang Zhou, which is just two hours away by train. Our image is the sunset shot on Hang Zhou Bay Crossing Bridge. It’s a city where the one of the most successful enterprises in the World Alibaba based. Or, just take a short journey to one of the water towns, such as Zhu Jia Jiao, Read more on our blog
Want more FUN!.
What’s about Propaganda Poster Art Centre
How to make the most of Spring in Shanghai
how to make most of Spring in Shanghai It is a long wait to come after the damp winter, finally we see the cherry blossoms in parks and alongside the pine trees. Flowers festival will open till the mid April, in Gu Cun park and Pu Dong. Sports events like Marathon, takes place just before Spring.
A friend shot the image for this blog. It’s an old saying in China, duck can tell the weather the first. You always know that heat is on its way. Close to the Easter, people visit the grave of late family members or relations at Qing Ming Festival, a type of glutinous rice ball (糯米青团) in jade colour served for the occasion.
If you are a foodie, you may be interested in the local food tour with 12 dishes for 3 hours, is it somethings you are tempted?
Hot pot is getting popular in England recently with the influence of Chinese students, a type of comfort food in the cosy winter nights, it is fun to taste in this season. I have my favourite hot spot for the hot pot. This one maybe just what you want for the experience of hot pot on the cruise .
You are not going to be disappointed if you are a fan of traditional Chinese food, it will be great fun to impress your folks, master Dumpling making and get to know plenty of anecdotes at workshops.
Friends often rave about the scenes and the experience of laid back, after they have had excursions. Over the time, B&B at Farmers (农家乐) have grown with strength, attracted more and more city dwellers for weekends, you may also find fascinating when you explore outside Shanghai. Check on water towns nearby and talk to your local guides.
Check out our previous blog
How to enjoy the Spring Festival like a local
How to enjoy the Spring Festival like a local, when you are in Shanghai, you want to keep up with locals, just for good time sake.
Lights were lit up a few days ago, people rush back to their home towns to celebrate the festival with their families, it’s quieter this time of the year, it’s something that a busy town like Shanghai appreciates.
Don’t worry about the quietness, almost two hundred attractions lined up such as museums, galleries, exhibitions are open to the public, check on the official tourism board, even walking tours organised by the locals, you can keep yourself occupied by joining the locals for some culture spice up or learning classes.
This will be the year of Pig in Chinese lunar year, pig indicates wealth and growth, like we all need after a long haul austerity. On the first day, it’s tradition to enjoy dumpling together for a family, it symbolises the unity and prosperity. A dish has so many varieties and been celebrated all over the country, we cannot help having the blog image other than this. You can join the class, to learn to make dumpling.
If you fancy eating out like a local, try our recommendation.
It’s cold in Shanghai, there are many ways to get lovely walks around in the town, find your favourite spots and local hangout, check on link here for your inspirations, and don’t hesitate to share your cool stop by.
Hop on hop off, to discover your kind of Shanghai,
If you would like to venture out of Shanghai, visit the water town nearby, give it a try.
When in Shanghai, have fun and never forget to taste the high life.
Finally, have fun and Happy New Year, as the locals say Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭喜发财 have a prosperous year)!
How to make the best shopping in Shanghai
How to make the best shopping in Shanghai, it’s not a funny question. We all know how much Shanghai has changed over the past 30 years, this means that we have to alter our mindset, which may expect that the prices of goods are still cheap. Plenty of shinning shopping malls sell the same or similar products at the same or similar prices just like we see at home. We assume that you want get something local, you want get bargain still. If that’s your thoughts, you still have plenty of choices.
First, we recommend the South Bund Fabric Market we mentioned it in our previous blog, we’ve been there a couple of times, looking for the materials for our fashion up-to-date and some traditional outfits. It’s a place worthy visiting, fairly easy to get there too (a short walk after getting off Metro line 10), four floors of stalls for you to browse or decision making. Different fabrics are available from all seasons. Before we went there previously, we took some magazine images with us to show the in-store tailors, we discussed with them what we want, we wanted something based on the images with own “creativity”. It’s a pretty quick turn out, we went back once to try the fittings, the third time we went was to collect. Overall, the prices we paid for tailor to made are fraction of some brands. Some ready clothes are available too, you certainly can ask the stall owners.
Not only just fabric for clothes, you can also find accessories or linens, we find some handcrafted items too. It seems that the displays changes over the time.
As long as you organise ahead, go there with open mind, it’s unlikely you will waste your journey.
More About Shanghai Walk v05
More about Shanghai Walk, it’s the time to venture out to the south bank of Bund, where Shanghai marina is located. As this part of the old town is going through transformation, highlighted by the authority, aims to be part of the grand metropolis attractions.
It’s such a transformation from the old shanty town to the current developing trendy area, all the buzz and cosiness, our image here only captivates the front sight on the bank.
We left the Shanghai Fabric Market, which we will follow up with the shopping guide later. It’s just walking distance to the South Bank. Still some of the shanty towns remain, we have a couple of images taken for our own record, pretty sure those shanty town will disappear in no time.
We arrived at Shanghai Marina. Chic promenade stretches out on the river bank, gone are those stubby old blocks. Marina has been there back in the 11th century, when Shanghai was initially just a fishing port. Fast forward to the 18th century, the Marina took the role to receive the goods and the imports from the inland, East Asia and the far beyond, where they started their first legs of journey into China. It has played the irreplaceable part to transfer the goods deep into the mainland.
From here, you had to take barges to the other side of Huang Pu river (Pu Dong), replaced by the metro lines and the bridges now. Apart from the restaurants, boutiques, still a lot are in the proceeding of development, we feel this area gives a different perspective to see Shanghai, from the grandiose north river bank does, where the old commercial titans dominate its storytelling. This area maybe more Chinese or with the sense of local culture and humility.
Quite refreshing to see that Shanghai showcases its appreciation to its own humble history, its struggling over the passages of time. South Bank was magnetic in the past, it has plenty to offer when looking forward.
Oh, what are the Fun or Something Cool