Monday, August 07, 2006

it is certainly about high time i updated this blog if not people will think i've abandoned it!

what can i say....quite a lot has happend in the time since the last post, notably, the winter holiday back in Singapore, my trip to Shanghai, etc....let's start with the Shanghai trip.. was awesome! even though it was only for 5 days, it was definitely much better than the other time when we went with a tour group. also, this trip certainly gave me an insight into the life of a diplomat, and a peek at some of the swanky places in shanghai that the rich and famous hang out. it is certainly a great disparity there, with the rich zipping around in their limos while the common folk slog away at their jobs.

while standing at the top of the jinmao tower and looking down at the pudong financial district, one cannot believe that just 15 years ago, this was just a piece of swampland, with a couple of villages here and there. 15 years later, pudong stands poised to become the new manhattan of the east, with skyscrapers dotting its landscape and new highrise apartments and offices reaching for the sky at alarming rates.

i had a really nice head and shoulder massage on the first day i got there. it was so soothing with nice much better than the dodgy and seedy one i had in bali where she kept promoting special services... lolz... that saturday evening of our arrival, uncle wing brought us to this nice italian restaurant tucked away in a quiet part of town. it was actually an old colonial building converted into a restaurant.

this austrian restaurant manager came up to our table and explained the use of his new wine glasses...glasses which have no stalk. on tipping them over, they automatically spring back up again just like one of those toys. the restaurant was filled mostly with expats, with the table behind blabbering away in polished french.

the yu yuan bazaar was also quite a memorable one, especially since elango and i gulped down 48 dragon paos over lunch and washed it all down with none other than qingtao beer! and it was all so cheap! the meal was only about S$6 per person! not surprising that the restaurant was packed on a sunday afternoon with families jamming their way in. china people are quite inhibited and wary of talking to strangers. even if it means waiting together at the same table for about 20 mins without saying a word. quite unlike in australia where people strike up conversations with you.

watching the world cup was really nice, especially when in the comfort of uncle wing's basement home theatre system room. my only gripe was that the commentary was in chinese..with all kinds of weired translations of italian, german and french names. also, the commentator was obviously not a former sportsmen...making all kinds of unprofessional and amateurish comments.

a visit to Zhou Zhuang water village was also part of the itinarary, with it being a UNESCO heritage site. its kind of like the china version of venice. but in my opinion, was quite a tourist trap. lunch was a rip off but the shrimps were really nice...freshly caught from the river. i need some of those here in melbourne.

that visit also paid unexpected dividends when i happend to meet this really nice china girl on my tour group. she was originally from suzhou but moved to gansu province. fresh out of high school. hoping to come to SMU to study. let's hope she does! we still keep in contact till today.

one of the highlights of the trip would definitely be dining at the whampoa club at 3 on the bund. each dish was so exquisitely prepared, with the chef coming out to tell you how to go about eating the different quaint items on the plate for the best effect. some pieces of food were placed there to help clear your palate so it was important that one followed the order, for example, eating in a clockwise fashion.

after dinner, elango and i checkd out hooters shanghai, the first hooters in shanghai. and being my usual cheeky self, couldn't help but chat up the rather cute looking waitress sauntering around the bar in her low cut top and hot orange shorts and sports shoes. she introduced herself as "you you"...of course a fictitious name but well chosen one.....suits her petite frame and cute appearence in my humble opinion. she is a university graduate in computer programming. kinda surprising don't u think? can't imagine her with geeky glasses staring at a computer screen hunched over a keyboard. it was great having her company with enjoying a pint of budweisser. this is the new china!

sweet memories from the last night in shanghai....!