Thursday, March 5, 2009
Shanghai Part 1: Batman,TiredMan and Fish Head Curry
Saturday-Sunday: Finally, after all the immunisations and injections it was time to go! The alarm went off at 5.30, everyone except Oscar got dressed and we got picked up by taxi to go the airport, met up with R's parents at the check in and headed off for an incredibly overpriced airport breakfast. The flight (Finnair) to Shanghai changed at Helsinki which was covered in snow, part of me wanted to stay there for a day or two and build a snowman or two with Abby and maybe try and see the northern lights, but no such luck! The rest of the (night) flight went OK although it was a bit long -Oscar managed to sleep fairly OK with the baby cradles they have at the front of the rows of seats, but Abby was just too exited to settle for any amount of time. I did manage to sneak a look at one of the many films on offer - The Dark Knight, which I thought was good but a bit too long, the late Heath Ledger was brilliant as the nihilistic, unhinged Joker and he pretty much blew everyone else away whenever he was on screen, including Christian Bale, who I thought was a bit lame as Batman. Arrived at Shanghai ready to go to bed but couldn't because it was early morning over there...jet lag here we come ;-)
When we arrived R's brother was there to meet us, he is teaching over there and he took us to the hotel via the Maglev, the futuristic train that floats on a magnetic field and travels at up to 450 KM PH, it doesn't always get up to full speed, but it did for us! After a scary taxi ride we arrived at the hotel and got unpacked. I'd forgotten my DNase. Bugger. Big phlehm for me this week then ;-). We then mis-ordered some food. I was fading fast so we headed out to the Bund to get some fresh air by the Huangpu River, which overlooks the Pudong Skyscrapers on the other side of the river, like the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Jin Mao Tower. We got some tea at a restaurant, then we meandered back nearly getting run over by the many Shanghai cyclists and had a swim in the hotel pool which Abby loved, although Oscar got tired pretty quickly as the pool was a bit too cold for a wee baby. We then ordered a meal; had a brief scare about R's peanut allergy as her dish had whole peanuts in it even after we had expressly told the waitress about peanuts being life threatening. Anyway the food was nice, but then it was time for a very early bed, as by then I was so tired I felt like a corpse. ;-)
Monday: Had breakfast with dim sum and boiled eggs soaked in tea (actually very nice.) Went to Peoples Square, got a ropey meal (Italian/Chinese fusion which didn't really work) and went to see the museum, which was a bit of a showpiece for all the new architectural development, probably where they bring all the business suits to wow them. Anyway, Abby was very excited by it all and went charging around checking everything out, which was very cute. We then had a wander around some shops, then me and R's brother took the underground Metro to a superstore while R, Oscar, Abby and the in laws went back to the hotel for another swim at Abby's request. The Metro store was near the Maglev, it is the only place in Shanghai were you can get imported european foods like Cadbury's chocolate animals, chocolate fingers, and Old Speckled Hen ;-) we actually went to get some spoons, plates and emergency baby/kid supplies for Oscar and Abby, some baby food and some pasta, tomatoes and beans, which is Abbys fall-back food in case she doesn't take to any of the stuff in the cafes and restaurants.
Me and R then went out for a meal while the in-laws babysat in the beautiful lantern road area; which was slightly traumatic ;-). First of all some of the restaurants wouldn't accept us because of R's nut allergy, and when we finally got into a restaurant the menu was a bit, well...challenging ;-) I like to think I'm quite open minded, you know, when in Rome and all that, but some of the dishes on the menu together with the in your face photos and descriptions completely threw me; Fish Head Curry, Pigs Feet Curry, Sheep Stomach Lining curry, steamed Perch with Pigs brain. It's probably the first time I've struggled with what to order on a menu. Anyway, I eventually ordered some langestines and R ordered some Dim Sum, and both were actually very nice, although they wouldn't serve us any rice, not quite sure why as the explanation was lost in translation; we reckoned either the rice had nuts in or they had run out of rice...