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Day 2 Shanghai

May 30, 2011
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May 28, 2011

Second day in Shanghai

Slow start but out by afternoon. Rode the subway up to Jiangwan Tiyuchang [Jiangwan Stadium] that looks like some fortress with a yellow stone front and big bronze pots on the turrets. Our destination restaurant was closed (for good). Turned back for Shanghai First Food Mall, walking past scaffolded noisy buildings going up and bikes and scooters lining thick the sidewalk. Stood in line (worth it) for xiaoyangshenqian, watching the cooks huddled at their table slapping meat into dough and whipping trays in and out of iron cookers. Ate six each. To eat: make a small bite on the soft topside of the dough, suck out the meat juices in the soup, then eat the meat and fried bottom. At another shop we ate tangbao, bloated crab soup pastries sagging on golden stands. Walked the alley between malls and saw lines and lines for every restaurant, even Pizza Hut. Ate almond matcha ice cream at DQ (how’s it better than in America?) and took the subway south to Hailun Road. Walked past dozens of tiny shops selling clothes, making curtains, fixing bikes. Passed a pigeon coop bulging precariously off the top of an old building, and single-story brick apartments foregrounding high rises flapping clothes off every balcony.

Arrived at “1933 Shanghai,” formerly biggest abattoir in Asia, now open-air museum full of tacky shops and restaurants. Climbed narrow stairs, crisscrossed high-walled bridges “to control the flow of animals,” and took the sloped “cattle road” up and up. Took photos of people taking photos, couples lounging, tourists climbing to the top. Chefs wheeled carts in and out of restaurants. Scanned tile roofs from the top, and alleys where women washed dishes under crumbly rooftops hanging street washers blue and neon uniforms. Tile and brick speckled with trees and playgrounds are ringed by dizzying complexes (how many people live here?). On the way out a group of women dance aerobic dances in the street.

Subwayed down and down to Xintiandi, where foreigners clogged the tree-lined streets under stone and brick facades of old Shanghai. Fancy bars (one full of colored glass) serve fancy meals, and people people everywhere. Ate Sichaun food on the fourth floor of a mall at Xinxianghui: guilinggao [sweet jellies], coconut ximi, seasonal greens sauteed in garlic, eggs and tofu, vegetable and tofu soup, and catfish in hot pepper sauce. Sat next to a fish tank full of orange fish, and black ones that sucked the glass. Took the subway home and made it back before midnight.

K

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