[If you didn’t realized, you can actually click on these colored words for pictures of the place or thing I mentioned.]
Supposed to blog yesterday but I was busy trying out the new webcam with in-built microphone and also transferring about 80 photographs into my new 16GB thumb-drive.
I woke up at 9plus in the morning. Wanted to wake up at 8plus but my lazy bones were quite strong. I realized since the holidays started, I am staying on the bed longer.
Taxi ride to nearest Subway station:
After a bath and breakfast, I went down my block to take a cab. I told the taxi driver to bring me to Dongchang Road stn (station) but he suggested bringing me to Lujiazui stn. He said it’s nearer to Zhongshan Park station where I intend to be my first stop of the day. I thought it will cost me a little more than the usual 12RMB (SGD2.40) flag-down rate, it actually cost the same. It is because Lujiazui stn is just one stop after Dongchang Road stn! Duh. However, it was a buzzing and crowded area at Lujiazui stn and it is the nearest Metro station to the Oriental Pearl Tower.
About subway stations:
From Lujiazui stn to Zhongshan park stn cost me 4RMB (SGD 80cents). There are reminders along the escalators of these Metro stations to remind commuters to stand on the right and allow the left side moving. In Singapore, we stand on the left right? (Gosh, I got confused now)
They also have reminders pasted near the corner seats to remind commuters to offer the seat to the needy.
I came to Shanghai at the right time because it is the Shanghai Expo period and the Chinese government had put in substantial effort to make sure tourists are well-treated here. I am not saying the locals will bully the tourists, I am saying this because in the usual habits or culture of the locals; there isn’t much gracious gestures. (My first visit to Shanghai was about 3 years ago)
I arrived at Lujiazui stn at 11.11am. Not very crowded but the local people were a little aggressive by not allowing the alighting passengers to get off first before crowding to get through the small train door. The train doors were operated manually by the driver. After the train stopped, the driver will get down from the driver’s cabin and pull a lever (I supposed), and the doors will all open at the same time.
First metro stop:
Zhongshan Park stn. I was immediately at Cloud Nine shopping mall. I realized there are about two KFC outlets in that mall. It’s unusual for Singapore. Oh well, our land is so scarce.
At Cloud Nine Shopping mall, I was trying to get to Cloud Nine Cinema at 9th floor and I didn’t realized I need to get there from the “back” of 8th floor. Sounds confusing though because when I read the English words on the directory, it just directed me to 9th floor. Ended up I was a floor still getting renovated. After reading the Chinese words carefully, I went to the 8th floor and found my way. Before I even see Cloud Nine Cinema, I decided to venture into the “2010 Branded Sale” for general merchandise. I heard from the vendors that it last for about a week.
I bumped into this vendor that sells some nice bags so I decided to take a look. As usual, they like to hold you into their conversation and try to talk you to buy something. I feel the lady’s service wasn’t very sincere and good. I thought Chinese culture emphasizes on respect and trust, etc. A highly moral culture. Oh well, the world is experiencing globalization and what the Word says, “In the last days, the hearts of men grow cold”
However, I met a really sincere and nice lady and she gave me a good feeling about her sincerity. I asked about certain stuff and decided to move on and I said politely ,”I will go take look at other stalls first, thank you.” Her reply was nice and polite. After walking around, I went back to the same lady and tried to buy a bag for cass. The first design wasn’t good as the bag’s strap was really thin and can easily snap off. The lady didn’t insist me on buying that one when I said it’s unsuitable. Then I picked a yellow bag which looks big and has a sturdy shoulder and hand strap. We discussed a little about the bag and she gave me some good views on the bag and I paid $99 for it. Overall, she’s the only vendor I feel she is sincere and she does not do force selling. I can tell, anyone can tell who is out to cheat you for their own profit and who are selling what the product is really worth.
Not forgetting why am I at Zhongshan Park station- to search for Multimedia Life Square. After exiting Zhongshan Park Station(One of the exit, there are many exits/entrances for each metro station), I saw a Chinese wording similar to Multimedia Life Square. It just sounds similar though. For example, if you do not know English, you might be confused with Singapore’s Sim Lim Square and Sim Lim Tower. I knew it was an office building, but I just couldn’t believe my first instincts. I saw a lot of people at the lift lobby. I just followed the crowd and entered a lift without pressing any floor level. It took me all the way to level 20, I came out to take a little peek, realized it was all offices; and I tried to press lower floor levels but it wouldn’t respond. It was indeed an office building called Shanghai Multimedia Park. Haha.
Without a map, I just walked with my instincts. I finally found Multimedia Life Square. It was disappointing, quite small and it looked dull to me.
After Multimedia Life Square, I went back to Zhongshan Park station and traveled to Xujiahui station to visit Pacific Digital Plaza.
Pacific Departmental Store was also located at Xujiahui station. The metro subway is very extensive, it has many different entrances and exits covering different parts of the streets near its subway station.
The shopping area and buildings around Xujiahui station looks more modern than other areas. One of the shopping mall I spend some time looking around was Metro City. The first thing was to locate Watson’s and buy a bottle of hand-sanitizer. Bought one at 1SGD. I found a Breadtalk shop and I believe Breadtalk’s China branch is located at Metro City shopping mall. There was also Popular Bookmall (Not sure if it’s the Popular bookstore from Singapore). Inside Popular Bookmall, 90% of its books are in Chinese. As I expected, English books are much more expensive as I believe China place high taxes on imports. So don’t buy imports overseas, unless they originated from that country. I found BlueRay like Avatar for SGD48. If I am not wrong, Singapore sells BlueRay at 50plus? I wanted to buy Avatar but no more stock, obviously it was such a popular show. Btw, buying a DVD is cheaper than watching movies in Shanghai. I found a DVD package Transformer 1 and 2 for only SGD7. I was tempted to get it but didn’t get it. I doubled checked with the staff that it plays in original English audio but adjustable to Chinese audio. If I am not wrong, every English film has dual audio options. Chinese movies like the one I saw “Da Bing Xiao Jiang” also known as Little Big Soldier by Wang Li Hong and Jackie Chan; cost only SGD3 dollars! But I didn’t buy, it’s cheaper to “get” them elsewhere. (you know la)
Metro City has quite a nice looking Cinema. It is called Kodak Cinema World. The tickets are about 90 to 100rmb. About SGD18 to SGD20. After 9pm, half-price. I wonder why cinema tickets are so expensive, import taxes? Low demand? Chinese people prefers home theater system?
After exiting Metro City and walking by faith again(I really just blindly walk according to my instincts), I found Pacific Digital Plaza (PDP). It is actually just next to Metro City. I actually walked one big round just to get to Metro City and then to PDP. This is because I exited towards Pacific Departmental Store. Actually, across the road there is another exit towards to Metro City itself!
Back to PDP, the look and feel is exactly like Sim Lim Square. Although I believe there are vendors who smoke inside Sim Lim Square, it isn’t as bad as Pacific Digital Plaza. PDP is really a smoky area. I was again disappointed because it looked and felt so much like Sim Lim Square, I hated it. It is messy and I am tired of bargaining and walking here and there asking for prices. One of the reasons I dislike Sim Lim Square is also largely because of too many choices to compare with. I am currently reading BLINK by Malcolm Gladwell, I agree with the book that if consumers are faced with too many choices; they get frustrated and ended up making no choices at all.
After a short walk at PDP, I walked back to Xujiahui station. I wanted to buy a single-trip ticket to Dashijie station but didn’t have small change and I didn’t want to risk putting in a big note or exchanging a big 100 dollar RMB in public. So, I decided to have lunch at Metro City’s Yi(4) Cha(2) Yi(4) Zuo(4). Their website is @ http://www.chamate.cn
Every waiter will shout out loud welcoming passerby to come in. When there are patrons, they will always ask if they are smokers or non-smokers as they will be directed to different sitting areas. I ordered 3 dishes. One Supreme Beed slices with rice noodles, one BBQ Pork Egg Tart and a Lemon Green Tea with Cocounut Jelly.
The noodle soup is very spicy if you taste the soup. BBQ Pork Egg Tart is like any other Char Siew you taste in Singapore. Lemon green tea was really sour because it is lemon but I enjoyed the slurping of its jelly.
It cost me RMB77(SGD15.40). No GST, no service charge. wow. I think with GST and Service charge, it will be SGD18.10. Oh yes, their wet-tissue is free of charge too.
Ok wow, I have got small change to buy a single-trip ticket to Dashijie station. I have not bought any electronics that I set out to buy for the day yet. Shanghai Cybermart located near Dashijie station will be my last electronics plaza for the day.
Cybermart is located at Huai Hai Middle Road, in fact alot of shopping malls are near its metro stations. Well, it look brighter and less congested than Pacific Digital Plaza. However, the smoke level is as equally bad. Arrg. I was at 2nd level asking for 8GB and 16GB thumb-drives. First few shops I went to, SanDisk 8GB they offered 140RMB(SGD28). and 16GB-230RMB(SGD46) to 260RMB(SGD52). For PNY brand(I think not sold in Singapore?), 8GB-140RMB and 16GB-260RMB.
That’s expensive man. I was trying to bargain with the second shop, telling her the other shop offered me 140RMB while she offered me 160RMB. After hearing I did my research before, she offered me RMB110. Alright, I went on to do more research, asking for prices as I walked pass. Once I walked away, I know these sales people weren’t happy with me. But I don’t care.
I went up to the next level, walked one round and I randomly asked a shop and she quoted me 105RMB for 8GB. Immediately I was attracted to that shop and began asking for more. PNY 16GB they offered me 215RMB and then gave me at 210RMB(SGD42). I should have bargained to 200RMB! I also bought a Webcam with in-built microphone(SGD16) for my Dell desktop at home. Anyway, they were polite and I find their prices much more reasonable than other cheaters, oopz I mean vendors. All in all I spent 300RMB.
I decided to walk a little more and explore a little more at the area. I went into Shanghai Times Square which is next to Cybermart. It looked like Paragon but much bigger and has many more branded goods shops around. I believe it is one of the most expensive place to shop as they all sell imported goods. I went up to the Cinema level, and the Cinema operator is called Broadband International Cineplex. Movie prices are also around 90RMB-SGD18 to 100RMB-SGD20. Imagine a movie ticket costs 18 Sing dollars in Singapore!
After exiting from Times Square, I walked back to Dashijie station but before I enter the station; I ventured into this small park just next to the station and I walked myself to Shanghai Concert Hall (Former Nanking Theater) and took some photos of the building.
I knew I am in the middle of the peak hour in Shanghai and wanted to experience how it was like. It wasn’t that bad except a lot of people will be pushing to get up the escalator. There was this man with his arm against my back pushing me. Oh well, I wasn’t angry; I just thank God I was born a male. Why didn’t I say man? Because male is by birth, being a man is by choice.
I got a chance to look at the working class people and observed that their dressing sense is very much like ours in Singapore.
Before arriving at Dongchang Station from Dashijie station, I need to interchange metro subway line from People’s Square. I believe People’s Square is one of the busiest interchange station. Can be likened to Dhoby Ghaut station in Singapore BUT much bigger and more distance to cover. Also, no travellators.
Caught a cab near Dongchang station and once again, only cost 12RMB(Flag-down price). The driver look younger, car feels cleaner, air feels cooler. I also realized there is this ‘device’ at the dashboard next to the taxi-license is to signal to road-travelers whether the taxi is available for flagging down. From this picture, you will see that it is down, meaning the sign will read “EMPTY CAR”. Once there is a passenger, the driver will push the sign down. Took me 3 rides on a taxi to realize that. haha.
What a busy day huh. Long post.