Day 4 – 23rd October 2009, Friday
After breakfast, we made a stop at the Taihu Wuxi pearl factory. Tai Hu (Tai Lake) is also producer of fresh water oyster pearls, amongst other things. On how to detect real pearls, you just need to rub pearls against a mirror and there would be powdery substance emerged on the mirror and not biting it till your teeth cracks. LOL. The most expensive pearls are big and round ones.
Here, my aunt spent a bomb on getting a set of yellow pearl necklace and ear rings. Pearl powder in Malaysia costs RM5 for one small vial. The Chinese believes that, pearl has cooling properties, hence it’s good to consume it when you are having fever or perhaps, dab some of its powder if you have ulcer in your mouth. Here, one vial goes for as cheap as 80 sen!
After visiting the pearl factory, we went to have early lunch. Right after lunch, we were whisked away to this “Tong Ren Tang” selling herbs and Chinese medication somewhere behind the restaurant for a foot massage. I asked if we can have a foot massage right after a meal? I remember, we were advised to have foot massage on empty stomach? Not too sure, we went ahead anyway.
The thing is, the people there are really blood suckers! A guy in our group who has businesses in China said it was a bit overpriced. After getting our diagnosis – me being overweight (yes, one need not feel pulse to find that out!) and my aunt’s blood sugar is too high (she is partially diabetic), we were persuaded to buy some 2,600 yuan worth of medicine. Of course we didn’t buy anything. Apparently, this shop is a bit seedy and I was somewhat disgusted by the pushy “doctors” and person manning the place. Bloody hell.
We went to a Jade factory after that. As usual, they would tell you of their history and eventually hope that you would spend to buy something there. According to the guy who has businesses in China in our tour group, it’s very difficult to tell whether or not the jade is genuine. It’s because sometimes, they could fake the jade color by injecting colorings into jades. So, because of that, we didn’t want to buy anything. Further, I don’t think I have any interest in purchasing jade.
There was an argument broke out when the Kuching lass tried to bargain for a cross pendant and a jade ring at cheaper rates. I didn’t watch the entire commotion but, the argument went on for some time coz we all waited in the nice, breezy compound for them. When they came out, they looked pissed but eventually got what they wanted.
Then we made our one hour long journey to Shanghai. It was already about 7 pm when we reached Shanghai. We were greeted with a long stretch of highways with skyscrapers flanking both sides of the highways. Our jaws dropped in awe when we see the endless highway with buildings touching the skies! Most cars are imported – Buick, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagon, etc. Heck, even the cabs are all Volkswagon or Mercedes Benz. The people here surely know how to travel in style!
By looking at the buildings alone, you could tell that Shanghai is so prosperous! It surely makes Kuala Lumpur look like some small kampong! At an intersection where the 6-tier highways were connected, there was a huge pillar with 9 golden dragons surrounding it. Since I couldn’t take any photos coz the bus was moving, here’s a scribble on how the highway looks like!
Illustrated Shanghai Night skyline along the highway
We were left at Shanghai Hong Qiao Da Tong Yang Market to shop for stuffs. The luggage bags here were cheap. You can get one 28 inch hard cover trolley bag for 280 yuan (RM140). I got myself a winter jacket at 200 yuan. Actually, we could have gotten it cheaper if not for the time limit imposed on us for shopping. We were given only an hour and half to shop and eat at the same time. After shopping, we went for a dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant. the owner spoke to us in Hokkien. He’s quite friendly. The food served was quite good. We had minced pork rice, saba fish, some ocien (yes – my aunt ordered it, I don’t know why), some stir fried pork and a plate of vegetables. Behind this restaurant, there was a group of kids practicing football. From the faces of the kids and the coach, I believed they are Koreans.
Shanghai ‘s traffic on Friday night could be pretty daunting. The jam was horrendous. Our guide told us that, they have closed the Bund for construction of tunnels so in future all tourist buses and vehicles could be parked down at the tunnel in order not to overcrowd the Bund. These were all done to prepare for Expo 2010 Shanghai China next year from May 1 to Oct 31, 2010. So people, it’s not a good idea to travel to Shanghai next year on the respective months as it’s going to be crazy!
A night scene in Shanghai
We were then taken on a ferry to see the Shanghai skyline instead. Well, the tour guide is probably right. If you have been to Shanghai and didn’t go to see the beautiful night skyline, then you have never been to Shanghai. It was breathtakingly beautiful. My picture didn’t do any justice. You ought to visit Shanghai yourself.
Everything looks yummy in Nanjing Road
After the ferry ride, we made our way to Nanjing Road, the business district of Shanghai. Here you could find shops upon shops selling branded goods, pharmaceutical, restaurants and little knick knack shops. After a brief stop at Nanjing Road, we headed to Xintiandi, the “Bangsar” of Shanghai. It’s definitely 10x more happening than Bangsar! Imagine tall girls with sexy long legs walking about in the knee high leather boots. High fashion seemed to be the order of the day. There were many mix of people from all over the world – all dining and eating, and watching the night goes by, sitting side by side.
Stir fried pork slices
By that time, we were already too tired due to the traveling time. We called it a night at Hunan Hotel in Shanghai. This hotel is very old school. It somewhat made you think that you have traveled back in time during the “Shanghai Triad” time. They don’t serve mineral water in bottles. They put water in a glass flask, which I find really good for promoting environmental consciousness!