Without putting so much thought on our itinerary, me and my sister had decided to visit the Old City first in our Shanghai weekender.
Heading out from the nearest metro stop, me and my sister took in the surroundings first before figuring out the right direction. For some reason, I expected for the old city setup to be “in-your-face” upon getting out. Instead, we were welcomed with a line of trees on one of the exits. I had assumed that this was the way to take, plus the fact that people were actually heading towards this direction.
Fifty meters or so, we finally arrived.
Well, almost. I didn’t realize that although the following buildings seemed Chinese enough (in terms of architecture), that not being “within” the city meant we still weren’t “in.”
We were actually “just around the area” and we had to find our way in first.
After seeking for directions and a few interactions via hand gestures, we were finally able to locate one of the entrances.
The Old City of Shanghai is actually within the ancient fortifications. It was built back in the day to protect the seat of the city. To date, most of it was rebuilt.
Within the walled city is a quintessential Chinese dimension: red lamps, reddish walls, Chinese architecture, Chinese calligraphy, a place of worship (Taoist Temple), a Chinese garden, and Chinese people. Leave the part where there were a lot of fast food chains–both local and western, and lots and lots of people: tourists from China and beyond.
The Old City gives you that authentic ancient Chinese Era feel to some extent. I’ve no comparison though, so maybe the idea that this place is ancient has given me that so-called vibe too.
Aside from the thousands of tourists, the Temple of the Town Gods (Taoist Temple) and the YuYuan Garden could also be found here, two important sites that are worth a visit. On our part, we decided to forgo the temple and instead, make our way to the YuYuan Garden.
I’ll try to make a separate post on YuYuan, or at least put up some photos of it for my peace of mind. 🙂
An Unfortunate Event in the Old City: Something I wish that got TOO old, it wouldn’t happen again.
Hmm… for some reason, I know that this post (above) isn’t really organic. It’s quite boring, isn’t it? Honestly, I felt like I have the “need” to put up something, hence this one. Anyway, since this is all about stories, I might as well share with you something that I’ve witnessed while looking for the perfect souvenir in one of the shops here.
Wherever I go, I always try my best to buy a souvenir worth keeping. Scanning the shops along, I found a lady selling hundreds of locket watches on a side street. A lot of people have been looking through, myself included. Given that I have OC tendencies, it really took me so much time to find myself (and my mom), the perfect ones. It was quite difficult to interact as well, given that I’ve been asking questions in English and the seller couldn’t understand a single word that I said!
Moments later, a young lady translated my inquiry and spoke in Chinese. Quite impressive, I thought. It seemed like a very nice gesture.
Buyers had come and go. Yet, there I was, still trying to figure out which is which. Unfortunately, as I searched along, this young lady placed a locket underneath the sleeve of her jacket. I was so stunned I didn’t know what to say or do. I had no words, even actions. I just watched it and pretended like nothing had happened. Worse was, she left and minutes later, had a friend come along with to do the same.
My goodness! I felt really bad and yet I didn’t do anything. I feared of embarrassing myself if it was a mistake on my part, and at the same time, I feared of causing a commotion and embarrassing the kids as well. But I knew it was wrong, and I feel worse for the seller.
I just wish that it didn’t happen, but it did. And I wish I did something, but I didn’t. I hope that the wrongdoing gets too old, too obsolete that it doesn’t happen anymore. By that, I mean, nobody does it anymore. But I know it still probably would. I just hope that if I witness something like that again, then I’d do the right thing.
It took me a while to move past it (probably a week or two). Then I eventually forgot. Now, here I am sharing it to you as I remember it like it was yesterday. Maybe next time, we’ll all get it right. 🙂