China 2014 Day 5: Cherry Blossoms, French Concession, Party!
As is seeming to be the trend, we got up early again today! But not quite as crazy early (no 4:30am this time), so we're starting to adjust to the time difference. We hit the pool/spa again, had some ginger tea, had a muffin, swam, did the steam room again... all so epic. We also crushed a good amount of the glorious (2nd!) fruit plate we scored in the room.
|Mmm... fruit bowl|
|Main room at the hotel|
|Cabinet for coffee and tea|
|Gas Masks in the room for extreme pollution -- thankfully we didn't need to use them!|
Gucun Park is pretty much entirely "off the reservation" as it were, none of the major maps (even Lonely Planet) seem to have this section on it, so it will presumably be a VERY local experience. Let's just do it! We were already more than comfortable with the idea of taking the Metro everywhere so we asked the concierge to write "Can I please buy a 3 day metropass" in Mandarin so we could hand that to the agent at the Metro station. That worked like a charm, and was only 45Y, about $8!! What a steal! And so off we went. I called it "Goo-Koon Park", but the real pronunciation is of course absolutely nothing at all close to how I said it... more like "Yu-Chi-Oon" I think.
We got up there no probs in about 45 min and got off the subway to start the day off right with some tasty street food. We got a Banana Pancake from this place that was doing green onion ones... weren't sure what we were gonna get but sounded good to us. It was great.
|Banana street pancake for breakfast|
|In Gucun Park for the Cherry Blossom Festival!|
|Tourists wearing Cherry Blossom hats :)|
|Not sure what they are getting at here, am *I* the bicycle?|
|Walking in the gardens|
|Wistfilly planning our afternoon|
|Hilarious ring sculpture|
We got off the Metro at Dapuqiou, the old French Concession area. First, some tasty snacks in the mall surrounding the subway station... we got a "Matcha Ring" donut as well as a Strawberry Filled one, plus some Hi-Chews and cool Passionfruit mints at a 7-11. There were some cool alleyways here and some touristy food places, "Come in, please! Don't worry, we have Pizza, French Fry!" -- obviously they don't know what kind of travelers we are :) I liked the alleyway vibe and there were some nice and fun craft stores to check out here. The shops were nice and there didn't seem to be any major crazy pressure from the shopkeepers here... I was expecting a crazy market vibe, but it was quite chill and a nice stroll.
|Crazy donuts at the mall|
|Frank, this one's for you|
|Wandering the alleyways in the French Concession|
|Ok, not really a guard cat... he's just super sweet|
|Homes above the shops in the French Concession|
|Cool sculpture as we get closer to Xintiandi|
|Fancier apartments here|
|Nice one of Springs with "Rockmellon" juice... nothing exotic, just Cantelope. But still super good|
|Our non-Chinese food of the afternoon|
|Our Chinese food of the afternoon :)|
|And... McDonald's has Mochi McFlurries.|
After a good nap, we started to prep for the opening night reception! We got some fancy clothes on and headed up to the roof of the Fairmont Peace Hotel... WHOA!!!!!!!!!!! There was a REALLY incredible view of The Bund at night and I just *loved* the lit-up buildings and bright nightlife view. It was SO cool. It was also a really clear night... about as clear as you might ever expect to see Shanghai, and so that was really amazing. We had some tasty cocktails up there as well as some light hors d'oeuvres. We chatted and met lots of cool, interesting, talented peeps.
|Opening Night Reception|
|On the rooftop of the Peace Hotel!|
|Amazing view of the city|
The food and other demonstrations were amazing, too. We had lamb, a duck roll, Shanghai noodles, broccoli, steak roast, dumplings... awesome. Also chatted with a lot of Michal's colleagues as we ate. There was a welcoming from the President of Fairmont as well as VPs, followed by a super epic Kung Fu show and drums. Sweet.
|Posing with some super serious dudes|
|Sugar-"Year of the Horse"|
We got back up to the room after an awesome dinner and there was a gift waiting for us!!! This trip is crazy awesome, I can't believe how much cool stuff there is going on already and also how amazingly epic they are treating us. It is so special to be here. Springs got an amazing silk scarf which rocked, and I got WICKED silk slippers. They are soooo epic and I love them. What an awesome day!!
And... after another action-packed day... Sleep!