When I woke up (12-28-2011), I was a little tense because I still had packing to do as I had not finished the night before. It took me a bit of time, but I managed getting everything I needed into their respective bags. We got my stuff together and went down to the car, dropped of Hanshin at work, and said goodbye. He had to come quickly back out to get the parking pass from the car, as he would be taking his car that he’d parked at work the day we went to the temple.
With Shuyan’s encouragement, I slept a bit during the drive. I woke up when we were in Shanghai, and then the difficulty became finding parking! Sheesh, if you think parking in New York is bad…. We parked in a business center with several parking attendants before hailing a taxi to the restaurant. En route, the taxi driver asked where we’d parked, and once he found out he urged us to go back as they charge 20Y+ an hour! We walked quickly back to the area and got out as quickly as possibly, only having to pay 15Y. We drove to the restaurant, finding a lucky parking spot right in front of the restaurant, and ate lunch. Everything was good except for the fish, which was the worst fish I’d had in China (the area was not particularly well known for seafood, so we should have known better). Still, the rest of the lunch was delicious 🙂
After the restaurant, we drove the 45 min+ to the university and checked into the hotel on campus. It was a really ‘cozy’ hotel, really small and old fashioned, but at least they had a modern toilet. We took only my carry on and laptop upstairs and left my suitcase in the car as there was no real need to bring it in. We walked almost all the way to the bus stop before Shuyan panicked about whether or not she’d locked the car door, so we walked back, double checked, and moved her laptop and wedding ring into the hotel. We walked again to the bus stop and took the bus to ‘downtown’ Shanghai. It was gorgeous; the different areas looked like different parts of the world. I could see it looked most like NYC, but parts also looked like Atlanta and England. The British area was built by colonials for business and such, as a way to avoid actually living in China. There was even a semi replica of Big Ben. Imperialists!
After seeing one side of the river, we took the ferry and crossed to the other side to look at the lights on the first side. As dusk settled, we could see all of the building lights go on and it looked amazing. We walked around, giggling and being silly, laughing hysterically when we found a Hooters right next to a huge mall. There were at least 7 floors and there were lots of restaurants inside. We went back outside as we were not yet hungry and did some more walking before finally returning to the mall for dinner at a fancy restaurant. We had to wait a bit for a table, and while waiting I saw a woman wearing a Malaysian/Indonesian hijab style that I didn’t really like, but was the first hijabi I’d seen since coming to China. Since arriving in Shanghai, I saw tons of foreigners but still got stared at by nearly everyone. I felt bad during this dinner because I asked my server for a little salt, and the chef instead wanted to remake the entire meal! I hope I didn’t get anyone in trouble, yikes!
After dinner, we went out and walked some more, stopping so I could pray, before taking the bus back to the university area and walking back to the hotel. We got ready for bed and slept early. We’d planned to visit a temple, but we’ll go tomorrow before heading to the airport. Shanghai is wonderful, but I’m already missing Huzhou.