Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Shanghai Day 2 - Tai Chi, breakfast dumplings and tiny urinals

My first day back at work today meeting our Chinese colleagues, but before that I decided to go for a wander in the morning sunshine.

Tomorrow Square building
Amazing the number of people doing Tai Chi in square - was really impressed by the mass participation-side of it all.  Was even more surprised when I went round the corner and found that early morning exercise also included group aerobics and ballroom dancing!

The god awful pollution
I took a stroll to the People's Square and had a nose around.  Got a lovely shot of the Tomorrow Square building, but even at 7am the pollution was incredible.  It was even worse by the time we made our way home in the evening.

In the People's Square there are quite few sculptures - one of Mao (I presume) and a huge bronze sculpture  of the 'Good Eighth Company on Nanjing Road'  The army is depicted doing all the good things that communist armies do - help tend the fields, build roads, repair shoes, help old men and women with babies cross the road and also carry lots of guns.  The description beside the sculpture also describes their 'perservering resistance and defiance of the corrosive influence of corrupt and decadent ideas'.  The sculpture is mighty impressive nonetheless.
The 'Good Eighth Company on Nanjing Road'
After wandering back to the Hotel I decide a bit of breakfast was in order.  When in China, never choose to eat Alpen - it really does taste like dust.  Fortunately, I was in a corrupt and decadent American hotel, so it also offered waffles, french toast, crunchy bacon and maple syrup, so I was quite happy!  Having not eaten for 16 hours, I thought it was only right to have a third course as well, so tried some dumplings.  The seafood dumpling was a bit mleh, the fried dumpling so-so, but the big pork dumpling was lovely - I may have to try them again (after I make my way through the breakfast sushi, croissants, donuts and full english also on offer).

At lunchtime we were taken out by our Chinese hosts to a restaurant where we were treated to some proper Chinese cuisine.  None of your english MSG, prawn cracker, egg fried rice nonsense here though - lots of soups, lots of chilli and not a noodle or rice grain in site.  I tried not to make a fool of myself by using chopsticks, but they took pity on me after I dropped hoy sin pork all down my shirt and a knife and fork turned up.  Spot the tourist...(at least I tried!!).

Most important discovery of the day however, is that I am unable to use urinals in China.  Even the highest appliance seems to be designed for my someone of my four-year-old's height and the potential for splashback is to severe for even me to attempt!

On that bombshell, I am off to bed, more later when I do some more exploring...

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