A day in Zhujiajiao

In early May, I took a trip to Zhujiajiao with visiting family members. It was a Fong (and Morkels) affair. We drove out to Zhujiajiao, a watertown about an hour outside of Shanghai to watch Tan Dun’s Water Heavens, a music-dance-show held in a renovated old house in the town that overlooks the monestary. To be honest, the show went a bit over my head, too alternative, too artistic.

Zhujiajiao (which to this day I have trouble pronouncing) is pretty if touristy. Apparently it’s not even THAT bad, which kinda scares me regarding the other more “famous” watertowns. But it was a good day out and by private car, not at all a hard trek out.

Anyone heading there should NOT go to the Illy Cafe. It sucked balls both service and coffee-wise.

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Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Peace Hotel

I know it’s a little silly, but I swear I fell a little in love when I walked down the hallways of the Fairmont Peace Hotel. It’s just so gosh darned pretty!  I am generally a sucker for old buildings, I love the history and the feel of them. And this one, built in 1929 by British businessman Victor Sassoon, is a key example. Even the spa, which is brand spanking new, has an old world feel. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so spa-deprived for awhile…whatever, I loved it.

20130321_131145 A rare empty hallway, quickly snapped.

I also really really enjoyed my Stress Relief Massage. I find that Chinese spa therapists tend to have really good hands…they know how to use pressure just right and where to press, hard. For this massage, I really wanted to focus on my upper back. For some reason, it’s been giving me a heck of a lot of problems lately (sigh. age. sad.) I wouldn’t say it was the most soothing of massages, and I barely slept during any of it (which is rare for me), but that’s because I was reveling in the feeling of knots coming apart all around my spine. The treatment used Aromatherapy Associates’ Muscle Gel which warms to the touch and further soothes muscles.

Willow Stream at Fairmont Peace_suiteBefore the massage I spent some time in the steam room for an upcoming article I’m doing. Usually steam/sauna isn’t my thing, but after doing all this reading and research I was beginning to understand how much it helps to detox and sweat out toxins etc. I had been falling sick before the treatment, so actually I found it really helped, especially the light scent of eucalyptus that was in the steam room. I’ve also got to say I am a big fan of the Willow Stream’s in-spa products, the bath gel smelled divine as did the moisturizer, all with a faint scent of Chinese herbs.

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I hope they let me come back and swim.

http://www.fairmont.com/peace-hotel-shanghai

Shanghai in pictures

I keep finding it hard to leave this city so much so that I’ve managed to extend it for another month…even though it means I’m going to spend a few weeks bouncing around. Before I get back to my smoggy, shovy, pushy, currently-adopted city, I’ll be heading to Bangkok for a hen’s night, Singapore for Chinese New Year and Koh Samui for a wedding. Not that I’m complaining.

I really like being in Shanghai, though the cold has definitely been a challenge. Fake Canadian that I am, I actually  freak out when I see the temperature go below 0. So far I am trying to keep my layering to about 2 to 3 layers, just in case it ever gets colder and I need to wear more. These are pics I’ve snapped on my little Samsung were mainly taken before it got too cold to work a touch screen without gloves (and that’s the only way to work one…need special gloves).

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Jing An temple is just memorable for me because for the first two months I lived practically next door. I finally took a peek inside on a free pray-day. It was a lot more chaotic than this picture suggests. People running around trying to burn joss sticks on open fire is a little scary.

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Made an important visit to People’s Square to find a husband. In the past parents used to congregate there and really share info about their kids to help them find a mate (much to their children’s embarrassment, according to my Chinese teacher. Nowadays, there are just as many matchmakers as parents, and probably even more tourists. If my crappy Mandarin is correct, I believe the sign above says something like “Mom! Here is where I’ll find my true love.”

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I like spending time in Tianzifang. An old Shikumen style sort-of tourist trap where there are lots of interesting stores. I’ve been about four times and still can’t find my way around. It’s like an ever-changing maze. But lately I’ve learned to just wander and somehow I end up where I need to be. Ridiculous I know.

2012-12-09 17.02.51Poor bunnies, saw them being sold while walking to The Bund.2012-12-14 17.13.39

A friend took me to this lovely furniture/cafe (popular in Shanghai) that my crappy photo does not do justice to. This is the address is anyone ever wants to pop in for a cuppa or a couch. The surrounding areas are also great for a walk. 145 Nanchang Lu, 南昌路145号

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Of course I can’t post about Shanghai without a requisite food picture. On Beijing Road behind the Portman Ritz-Carlton there’s a local dumpling restaurant that does these great steamed jiao zi. They were delicious, and gone in about 20 minutes which is what happens when you eat with your 21 year old male classmates.

I think there’s a real possibility that I could live here (if I don’t get run over by a cab, or a bicycle first). It’s still more affordable than HK though that’s probably changing soon. And somehow there doesn’t seem to be that many bankers here (which is a nice change). Beyond the pollution, the language (which I’m still struggling with) and the occasional food poisoning, I still think there’s a lot f possibility. It could be worth it, especially for views like the ones below.

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