On any given day in Shanghai it’s not unusual to see and hear people originating from all corners of the globe. With such a mash-up of different cultures, languages, races, and influence I’ve been curious to know what the ideals of beauty are here. I mean, other than ginger folks who quite obviously sit at the epitome of cross-cultural envy.
Do Chinese women want to look more western? Do western women want to look more like Chinese women? And what about the guys? We know both local and foreign men spend too much time on their hair but what sort of physical enhancements do they seek? And is it really true that in these economic times cosmetic surgery is being used to land jobs?
Well to help answer those questions and more I asked Shanghai East Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic’s Director of Clinical Liaison, Dr Sheena Burnell, an Australian trained Doctor and ex-pat in Shanghai. As a professional with experience in both Australia and China Dr Burnell brings an insightful look into the world of cross-cultural beauty, cosmetic surgery in Shanghai, and the people who seek cosmetic enhancements. Continue reading →
“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.
On the weekend we headed over to Moganshan Lu, an art district of Shanghai with some fantastic galleries. I’ll blog more about those later but here is a quick slideshow of the cool graffiti to be found in the area.
Xintiandi (新天地 – New Heaven and Earth) is a rather cosmopolitan area of Shanghai with restored shikumen (“stone gate”) houses which facade some of the town’s most upper crust cafe’s, restaurants, bars, and shops.
It’s a cool place to hang out, especially in summer with the various outdoor eating and drinking options. While the area has been restored beautifully, its a celebration of the architecture of yesteryear mixed with Starbucks. That’s not to say its not worth visiting. However, if you are after old houses that people still live in, then you may want to look elsewhere around town.
If you live in Shanghai, no doubt you already know all of this. If you’re looking to visit Shanghai, whack Xintiandi on the itinerary for your trip.
What: Xintiandi (Chinese: 新天地; pinyin: xīn tiān dì) Where: Taicang Lu, Xintiandi is a good place to start. From Shanghai Metro Line 1 get off at South Huangpi Road station and walk south on South Huangpi Road or Madang Road. How Much: Nothing to walk around, bring your wallet to at and drink, or visit the First Conference of the Communist Party of China.
Last week @pat1982 and myself went scouting for places to take night shots of Shanghai. In our first expedition we took the following long exposure photos of the various elevated highways.
With a parching thirst consuming our vitals we headed around the corner to Xintiandi to seek out a good German beer and take a few night shots – more of those photos to follow. For now, here’s the scaled down Web version of some of the shots:
The very first Whiskey Live worldwide tour whistled through town on the weekend. Set up at the Russian-inspired Shanghai Exhibition Center, kilted Scots and bourbon barons were dispatched from their home countries to ‘educate’ the Chinese market on various whiskeys available.
Of course, just a sniff of an alcohol-related event in town also attracted the thirsty foreigner lushes. Being a couple of binge drinkers ourselves we were curious on how a bottle of Pipers 5L of scotch with ginger ale compared to the all allusive top shelf stuff.
The answer? Just because you’re drinking the good stuff, doesn’t make the end result any more classy.
What we did learn though:
Johnny Walker is the ‘Fosters’ of whiskey. Nobody in Scotland actually drinks it, like nobody in Australia actually drinks Fosters beer.
Whiskey can be smoky, sweet, sour, and tangy. The more one drinks the more adjectives the whiskey acquires.
Shanghai-folk already seem well versed on good scotch and what to do with it.
Dewar is a very happy host. Johnny Walker is an absolute snob.
Sean Connery and Andy Garcia are both hall of fame whiskey drinkers.
After being here almost a year we’ve been going through the process of evaluating our living arrangements. With the current economic climate (ugh, yeah I just wrote that) rental prices have dropped quite a bit. Luckily our landlord agreed and we’re staying put for a bit less cash.
Anywho, as a backup we looked around at some apartments and almost forgot what a ‘fun’ exercise the whole process is. And when I say fun, I mean tedious. If it helps any Shanghai newbies or people looking to move here are some simple tips:
The 13th annual Shanghai Auto Show has hit town this week. Even by China standards this event is simply huge – which is no surprise – every south-facing western car company wants a piece of the local market.
I’ve written about the show elsewhere but as a person who watches people, I did find the type of scenes below quite funny to watch:
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.
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
On the weekend more than 50 skateboarders pulled up a few boxes and rails and were showing their street skating skills just outside the Shanghai Science and Technology Park metro station. I’m not sure whether this is a regular event or a one-off but I pulled up a seat and took a few snaps.
With no seemingly suitable surf beaches or ski-able mountains the skateboarding and bmx scene looks fairly competitive in Shanghai. The city is well catered for skateboarders with dedicated parks around town. After 11pm around it city it’s not uncommon to see BMX riders converge and show their stuff – when the traffic is much less hectic.
Spitting: It’s bad manners, spreads disease, and illegal in public. Unfortunately, the habit is still rampant in Shanghai with spitting on the streets, public transport, and even on restaurant floors. That’s not to say authorities haven’t tried to curb the problem – take this ad from the 1950s for example: