Category Archives: Travel

The best Indian curry in Shanghai?

Last weekend we headed over to what is being hyped as the next cool area of Shanghai: Cool Docks. Located at the southern end of the bund at 479 Zhongshan Nan Road, near Fuxing Road, one could easily drive past and not really notice the new area – its right next to a whole heap of construction next to the Expo site.

While the area itself seems to be still under development it had a rather empty feel to it when we went late on Sunday afternoon. Hardly anybody was around, the restaurants had nobody in them, and none of the shops were anything to write home about. Maybe this is a night spot? I guess what really ticked me off was the fake graffiti wall with an Avril “Hey, hey, you, you I can be your girlfriend” Lavigne logo on it.(see picture below)

Anyway, given that we were hungry and it didn’t seem like much else was around so we stepped into the Indian restaurant, Kebabs on the Grille, which had a 140RMB buffet special. We didn’t go out searching for Indian, because we’ve been sorely disappointed by anything resembling butter chicken in Shanghai so far, but this was by far the best we’ve had in town.

While the place could do with a once over the food was great. They offer northern Indian fare with curries, salads, and desert all part of the buffet menu. It also included a glass of wine and bottomless drinks. The staff were super friendly and had a family-run restaurant feel to it, which is always a good sign.

During our stay I noticed a driver from Mealbay picked up a delivery so it seems like they offer home delivery through that service. I’m not sure if we’ll be trekking back to Cool Docks anytime soon – it kinda sucked – but if we get the taste for Indian again we’ll definitely be back.

What: Kebabs on the Grille
Where: The Cool Docks,
479 Zhongshan Nan Lu,
near Fuxing Dong Lu
中山南路479号,
近复兴东路
Phone: 6152 6567

Avril Lavigne graffiti logo at Cool Docks, Shanghai

Avril Lavigne graffiti logo at Cool Docks, Shanghai

I heart Shanghai taxi

Personally, I love the Shanghai taxi drivers – they almost always seem to know where to go even when a laowai like me is pronouncing the streets in the wrong tone. They even know where I’m meant to be going even when I say south instead of north. They are also pretty cheap by western standards – a trip from one end of downtown to the other on the Puxi side of town will put you back about US$3.

Oh yeah and they generally have little regard for seat belts, speed limits, pedestrians, and play whatever the fuck they want on the radio -it’s always fun stuff and never a dull moment.

Anywho, after football (soccer) on the weekend I got a driver who had his music blaring while racing through downtown and the outer suburbs, beeping away, and almost running into a few bikes and other drivers – all while it was raining outside. I don’t normally take videos with my camera but this time I thought it might have been my last Shanghai cab so I decided to capture the end moment. Apologies for the crappy quality.

Xi’an Shots: Horses for courses

Playing the tourists this week we headed to Xi’an to sneak a peak into China’s ye olde times. Ye olde Xi’an had – and impressive it was – but I’m a bit tired of the dynasty history right now. In the meantime, here’s a few horses that were going for more than 100,000rmb. The horses looked as shocked as we were:

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Shanghai Shots: Qibao Town

“I could eat the arse out of a low flying duck”, a visiting friend said before we jumped a 15 minute cab ride to Qibao Ancient Town in Shanghai’s Minhang District.

Neither of us knew we’d actually be squaring off more peculiar dishes than low flying duck arses for lunch.

This was actually back in January when I ran into an old friend at the airport who was doing a quick flyby trip through China. After seeing much of Shanghai’s main ‘Lonely Planet’ trail he wanted to get a more authentic feel of China outside the metropolis of Shanghai.

With only a few hours to spare I recommended the area of Qibao Ancient Town. Qibao was originally built in the Northern Song Dynasty between 960 and 1126 and grew over the years with the Qibao Temple at the centre of shaping the area. Recently, the temple has been reconstructed and contains ancient artifacts from its beginnings, including the original bronze bell with script from the era.

Along with the cultural significance is the popularity of the area’s rather unique snack streets. Local Shanghainese dishes are available along with exotic snacks such as toad, pig snout, baby birds on sticks, among others I couldn’t quite make out.

Sure, you can visit more authentic, less touristy water-type towns further away from Shanghai, but if you’re short on time Qibao Town will satisfy.

What: Qibao Ancient Town
In Chinese: 七宝古镇 Pinyin: Qībǎo gǔ zhèn
Where: Shanghai’s Minhang District. You can get there via Shanghai Metro Line 9 to Qibao station or it’s about a 40-50RMB taxi ride from downtown Shanghai.
How much: Free, snacks are relatively cheap. Haggle for cheesy touristy gifts.

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Stop Motion Animation: Shanghai at Night

The unusually clear weather last night saw me grabbing my tripod and camera, lugging it on my “lady bike”, and peddling down to the Bund for a few rare shots of a clear Shanghai skyline .

As usual, the Bund was full of tourists to gasp at the city lights – and hawkers of varying degrees of dodgyness. After a few long exposure shots (which turned out really well – will post later) I decided to try my hand at stop motion animation.

This is my first attempt at this type of photography, and as you can see, its a little rough around the edges. Once I get a better handle on how this works I’ll look to post more.

Oh yes, and while I was playing the snappy tourist someone decided to break the two locks on my el cheapo ladybike and take it for a spin.

Goodbye lady bike, didn’t we have some times?

The Lupu Bridge Climb

Unlike Australia, it seems the Easter bunny isn’t a big deal in Shanghai. No giant bunny delivering chocolate to kids in the night to remind them of… eggs, wildlife, new life, Jebus. Yes, Jesus. And something he did a long time ago.

Anyway, on Easter Sunday we decided to climb Lupu bridge, the world’s longest arch bridge located on the south side of Shanghai. The west tower on the Puxi side is open for visitors at a cost of 68RMB each and offers a great panoramic view of the city. In particular, its a great vantage point to view the construction of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

The pictures below probably don’t do the view much justice because it was a bit of a hazy day. The view from the top of Lupu bridge shows just how big the city is. ‘Big’ probably wasn’t even an adjective I was using while at the peak – most of mine started with F’s.

The climb wasn’t as spectacular as the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb – mostly because the immediate view at the moment is of the World Expo construction, but, its a lot less hassle than Sydney’s climb. There’s no need for orientation, special suits, safety harnesses and all that – Australians are such wusses sometimes. At the Lupu Bridge, you just pay your money at the gate and head up to the top at your own leisure.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a few hours on a lazy Sunday.

What: Lupu Bridge, world’s longest arch bridge.
Where: Head to Luban Lu and Zhongshan Nan Lu and you can’t miss it
How Much: 68RMB
In Chinese: 卢浦大桥 – Lúpǔ Dàqiáo

Photos: Hong Kong Graffiti

One thing you don’t see much of in Shanghai is hip-hop inspired street graffiti. As a massive urban centre, it’s quite an unusual scene compared to other big cities. That’s not to say there isn’t graffiti – I’ve seen slogans in Chinese characters and paintings on public walls but it seems to have a different motivation and influence than in western cities. Maybe someone who is more educated on such matters than me has an explanation or commentary, however.

That said, China has a history of expressing themselves through graffiti – Mao Zedong apparently holds the record for the longest piece of graffiti which contained 4000 characters to criticise Chinese society before the communist revolution.

These pictures below were taken on a recent trip to Hong Kong where it’s not unusual to see welcome and unwelcome street art and scribbles influenced from hip-hop culture.

Japan’s snow monkeys

As the lack of updating shows I’ve been in search of snow in Japan – and happy to say found vast quantities of it to ski. As with most holidays I’m now back doing some work and playing catchup so for the time being I’ll leave you in the hands of the entertaining snow monkeys we visited in Jigokudani (Hell Valley) just outside Nagano.

More travel posts from Japan to follow.

Snow Monkeys

The Shanghai Circus

With some friends visiting from overseas lately we decided to check out the carnival scene in town and visit the Shanghai Circus. I believe there are a few different circus acts and can’t compare the carnies we saw to other establishments featuring small-handed, cabbage-smelling, triangle-fingered folk around town.

What I can say is that the Shanghai Circus at Circus World was pretty cool. The production included some amazing acts (I won’t spoil it) with a fantastic light and video show. It’s well choreographed and the music is produced live as well – live vocals, bass, drums, and more. If you don’t have to pick your jaw off the ground before walking out then you’re hard to please.

With some more friends expected to visit this year I’m adding this to the Shanghai leg of the tour. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take photos of the performance so here is a glimpse of what to expect.

Shanghai Circus

Shanghai Circus

What: Shanghai Circus
Where: Shanghai Circus World, Gong He Xin Road. It’s got it’s own stop on Metro Line 1. Walk out from the Metro and you can’t miss it.
When: Every Night at 7.30
How Much:Tickets vary between 80-580RMB. We had the 180RMB tickets and were more than happy. The arena isn’t that big to really warrant paying more.