Weekending in Asia

October 22, 2015
Yes, I'm 100% doing a weekend recap post four days after these events occurred. Part of it is because the internet is not reliable here, but I'm kind of on my own time anyway.

On the day I left for Shanghai, I decided to kill some time and browse my Facebook feed at the airport. I noticed that on Girl vs. Globe, Taylor had written about how she would be moving to Shanghai. I mentioned to her that I would be interested in meeting up, and Rachael also wanted to come. We planned it, and eventually the three of us ended up having brunch together at Egg. While I like the other teachers at my school, I have to say that it was very nice to get out of that "bubble" for a change. I think I need to try harder to have a sliver of a life outside of school. The food was good, we got to talk about blogging, chatted about the pros and cons of living in Shanghai, and we even made plans for our next meet up, which I am looking forward to very much!

Next, Rachael and I went over to the Fabric Market. I didn't bring a winter coat with me, and my Chinese co-teacher warned me that the weather in Shanghai changes suddenly and can turn cold in the span of a week. I thought that since we have now been paid that I would head over to get the coat made sooner rather than later. The Fabric Market is large building full of individual shops. The tailors there specialize in custom-made suits, cashmere coats, general winter coats, and dresses. Luckily, a teacher who had lived in Shanghai previously had some recommendations of good shops to go to. It can be a bit daunting not knowing where to go, as many tailors are vying for your business and are not shy about trying to get you to go into their shop. I searched some designs I liked ahead of time and saved the pictures to my phone. I added the shop owner on We Chat and then sent her the picture so that she could make it in the style I wanted. Next, I looked through swatches of fabric and decided on the color I liked. I wanted something in a deep purple, but they didn't have the exact color I was looking for, so I settled on a dark burgundy. After that, she measured me and I paid a deposit. I really hope that I like the overall look since I'll be wearing it all winter! At least it should fit me properly since she measured me. Rachael wanted to get a dress made, and we were told that a certain jersey shop was good. They had a lot of different patterns to choose from, so we both decided to get fitted for a dress. A girl that works at my school got over 50 dresses from them, so they have to be somewhat decent! We only paid about $32 U.S. for each dress, so the price is quite reasonable. It helped that we said we worked with the girl who got over 50 dresses because the price went down for us. If I'm happy with my stuff, I think I might need a shopping intervention. I can see myself dropping some major cash for clothes.

Outside the Fabric Market, some ladies were selling jewelry, and a bunch of statement necklaces caught my eye. Rachael and I both made purchases. I'm wearing it in the picture below--what do you think? After our shopping spree, we took a motorized tuk-tuk to the Shanghai International Beer Festival. I kind of had reverse culture shock due to the large number of ex-pats at the event. It was fun at first, but eventually I just got kind of bored after being there for more than three hours. My friend Scott and I contemplated going out afterwards, but we knew we had a busy day full of sightseeing ahead of us the following day, so we decided against it.

On Sunday, we got up early and went to The Propaganda Museum. I'm not big on museums, but I highly recommend spending about an hour at this one! It was only 20 RMB to get in, and this museum has original propaganda posters from when Mao was in office. The posters depicted many significant historical events. Many of the posters were destroyed when Mao died, so this museum is a good showcase of what was preserved. Even if you're not that into history, the posters are pieces of art in themselves. There is also a small section that has a collection of "Shanghai Lady" posters from the 1920's.

Scott and I decided to walk around the French Concession and stop at The Avocado Lady, a shop that has some harder to find items that expats go crazy for. Rachael introduced me to Strictly Cookies which are sold there, and they are some of the best cookies I have ever tasted!! Then since Scott and I were starving, we walked into this cafe. We noticed that there seemed to be a ton of kids everywhere we turned. We looked at the menu, and we realized that the restaurant was FOR families and kids and that we were the only two kid-free people there. We felt weird, so we ran away and ate at a nearby cafe and then went to Tian Zi Fang in The French Concession. As always, it was a wonderful time! We passed by a toilet restaurant...The seats are all made out of Western style toilets, which is funny because sometimes Western toilets (aka toilets that aren't squatters) are hard to come by in China. Other cool stops included a popsicle stand, a place where you can get personalized paper cut outs of yourself framed, drinks for sale in blood bags and baby bottles, and streets decorated with hanging parasols.

We ended our weekend with a meal at a local Chinese restaurant near where we live. Our go-to meal is broccoli covered in this amazing garlic sauce, spicy tofu with rice, and sweet and sour pork.

What are your plans for the upcoming weekend?

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