Monday, October 18, 2010

Friday through Monday, Shanghai China

It's been a while since I've blogged about our trip, so I'll sum it up in one post for four days. Friday we slept in and then went to the expo at night. It was a lot busier than we expected and we couldn't see the pavilions we were looking forward to because of the 3 hour lines. We ended up seeing the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion which did not have the robot restaurant as they posted on the website, it was pretty lame and just talked about butterflies and dreams.

Saturday, we went shopping and then to our new favorite vegan restaurant Vegetarian Lifestyle/Ju Ju Be! It was gourmet vegan food Chinese style and it was so good that we wanted to bring the chef home with us. I will post a review after this. Next, we went to a party at The Apartment which is a club in Shanghai. It was majorly crowded and the whole place was a giant smoke ball and there were way too many obnoxious foreigners there. We did meet some interesting friends of Ali's though. They were mostly all different foreigner travelers who lived and worked in Shanghai now. They all have a different story of how they arrived in China and why they stayed. I would definitely not be able to stay here longer than the two weeks, but they were chasing careers, a different life or girlfriends to come here and decided to make it long term.

We celebrated Lucas' birthday with our 10 vegan cakes from New Age Veggie. They were pretty amazing and a big hit at the party. People we didn't even know were grabbing spoons and jumping in on the black forest cake or chocolate mousse. We left there around 12 and got to bed for another day at the expo..

Sunday I cooked vegan stir fry for a bbq at Ali and Lucas' friend Deter. We had tons of food that was not Chinese but had lots of veggies. We had hummus and bread, fruit, Chinese coke and beer and coffee. We headed next door to Deter's house for a relaxing sit in the backyard and then headed to the expo.

This day, we saw the Broad pavilion which is the most sustainable building in the world. It was built in one day and is extremely efficient. The building had a room with the cleanest air in the world, but of course no one was allowed in because we all would ruin that title. We looked at simple devices that created a better household including triple paned glass, air purifiers, and styrofoam insulation.

Monday, we got to the train station to buy our tickets and after a confusing time finding the ticket machine, everything was sold out. Lucas went looking for other options like China Easter Air, but only scalpers were offering train tickets and harassing us for most likely fake tickets. We went to the ticket counter for a billion people in line and finally got to the window to find that the self-ticketing was wrong and they had a train the next night - but they didn't take credit card as the information center advised earlier. We immediately jumped out of line to get some cash before the train ticket was gone again! We ran around the city trying to find the Plus symbol for our card. After many attempts and running into crazy traffic we found a bank and got back to the front and finally retrieved our night train pass (about $26 each for a hard chair). The only bad thing is it will be 13 hours on a hard seat, with smoking rural people that smell a little funky.

We headed off to the expo for a couple hours, and since this was Lucas' birthday we got to see some more green buildings and the pavilion of future. After some amazing animated videos of future life living in space or under water with awesome electronic dance music and ideologies, we headed to Ju Ju Be again for a birthday dinner. We met up with Ali, Kelly and Pierre for a huge dinner of fake crab cakes, spare ribs, eggplant stacks, cucumber tuna appetizers and more. We ended the night with an expensive bottle of Champagne and three Frenchies in one restaurant together.

Now, it is Tuesday, our official last day and we will see the Yu Gardens, the Bund and finish the expo. See you in Beijing!