(A recap of my China adventures from Saturday, August 26th…)
You can’t really spend a Saturday in China without trying some local dim sum, and the locally-famous Crystal Jade didn’t disappoint. We arrived without a reservation and were seated at a long table with other diners in the swanky eatery, which was done up even fancier than your typical Spring Rolls in Toronto.
The food was great, but what we’ll always remember is the creepy American guy sitting across from us with much younger (think high school) Japanese “friend”. After spending more time eyeing LinLyn than his own menu out he struck up a conversation, telling us that he was a professor and that he and female companion had flown in from Japan for a weekend vacation. Uh-huh…
Fortunately for us we were almost finished at that point, and after making our getaway we went for a stroll up the quaint laneways of Xintiandi proper, marvelling at the air conditioning units that were set up to cool people—outside!
A quick cab ride then brought us to the Temple of the City God and Yu Gardens. This is the number one destination for visitors to Shanghai and it showed; a Dairy Queen and Starbucks front and centre while the historical stuff was a bit harder to find amidst all the hawkers. We did eventually find an entrance to Yu Gardens, but it was as crowded as it was outside—maybe even more so, to which the video above will attest.
Yu Gardens couldn’t deliver the oasis we had hoped for, but the bar in The Grand Hyatt saved the day. Here, high above the Huangpu River LinLyn was able to score some olde tyme Coke bottles with Chinese writing on them (which she collects) and we met our new friend Duncan, staff manager for the hotel’s ten or so eat and/or drinkeries. He confirmed my suspicions that thinly-veiled sex tourism is still often the norm for pasty white middle-aged guys like myself—thereby explaining the creepy American and “friend” at dim sum and my run-in with a working girl the day before—and told us a little bit about his life as an ex-pat in Shanghai. With the hotel located on the top floors of the Jin Mao Tower, LinLyn and I can say now more than ever that we have friends in high places, hyuk.
With the dinner hour approaching we made our way back to our own modest digs and took a meandering route to Raffles City for dinner. On the way there I found some Docomodake keitai charms in an open-air market and over at Raffles we found an awesome curry house, much better than where we had eaten the night before.