Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate, beer, massage? Shanghai can accomodate | Sept 13 2010

Last day in Shanghai, worked until 8pm to get things wrapped up before the return trip. Upon leaving the office, I noticed a bit of commotion in a small park next door. Went across the street to change and drop off my stuff. Popped back out to the park to see what the commotion was about. I don't know if this is a weekly organized event or a spontaneous flash mob, but there were about 20 couples waltzing in the park.


At this point, after 3 years of business trips to Shanghai, I have walked pretty much every street near the hotel and office. Having no dinnerer plans, I picked a street I hadn't explored in awhile and set off. To my delight, there is an amazing dark chocolate truffle store called Awfully Chocolate that's just steps from the hotel/office! They have a 3-piece minimum, which I was happy to accommodate!

For my last night in Shanghai, I wanted a nice relaxing evening, so I swung by the Paulaner brewpub in the French Concession. It's funny because, although I stop by a Paulaner brewpub maybe once a year, I always go out of my way to order something different from the menu, and every time the food arrives I'm dumbfounded when I realize I managed to pick the one thing I have picked every time before. Mediocre meatloaf and a half liter of dunkles bier with a side of deja vu all over again. Still, this accidental routine is a nice comforting way to end a whirlwind trip to Shanghai. And what can be more relaxing than capping it off with a late-night massage at the Oasis Club?


In the morning, I was running a little too late to comfortably take public transport to the airport, but I figured it was worth the risk. As a train and airplane enthusiast, what could possibly be more fun than to the magnetically levitate to the airport? Take #1 metro to People's Square. Transfer to #2 metro to Longyang Road. Transfer to Maglev to Pudong Airport. The train was quickly accelerating until it suddenly topped out at 301 km/h - it felt like the train could've gone faster, but was artificially constrained for safety reasons. Let’s crank it up, I wanna see how fast this baby can fly.

I had packed a little haphazardly and apparently three items in my carry-on should've been in my check-in: matches that have been in my bag for most of a decade, a nice lighter I bought at the knock-off market (it's completely empty and needs butane, how much harm can it do?), and my favorite screwdriver (am I gonna start dismantling the plane?). They assure me I will see my screwdriver again if I return in time. Parting is such sweet sorrow.


Due to an airplane equipment change (from 747-400 to 747), I discovered at check-in that my seat no longer exists. Luckily, there was one seat left, although it had no legroom, no window, no place to stow my carry-on, a fold-up tray table, and a magazine and headphone rack that was practically in my lap (my neighbors had to reach through me to get them). Not fun. But I still had one piece of Awfully Chocolate truffle to get me through the journey. My neighbor seemed to enjoy his ridiculously abundant (really) legroom as he stretched out and played Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies on his iPad the entire 10-hour flight. You couldn't pay me enough to waste an hour playing those games. But I'd entertain a serious offer :)


Sara said...

I have this really expensive tea that I could pay you to play those games :)

The other Olga said...

the plane looks like it has googly eyes :))