China and Cambodia: Part 1

Hello Readers! It has been a few weeks since I’ve last written. I have just returned from most wondrous adventures in China and Cambodia that I will relate to you in the upcoming weeks! We spent a week in Shanghai and six days in Cambodia.

Our trip began in Shanghai where I had family. We flew Eastern China Airlines, which actually was pretty good. I always appreciate it when airlines have personal TVs with lots of movie options. Our fifteen hour flight, however, got a little tricky. There were storms in Shanghai so we couldn’t land at the airport. Then we were going to land at a different airport in Shanghai but the storms were impacting flights there too. So we ended up in Nanjing, about 45 minutes away. However, we learned that Nanjing didn’t have customs so they couldn’t process us. Fortunately, the storm ended in an hour and we eventually landed in Shanghai.

We got into our hotel around midnight. Before we went to sleep, we decided to walk a little bit outside and checked out the 24 hour Family Mart next door. It was great. We picked up a bunch of tasty looking things and ate them in the room. I got these marshmallow things that I had hoped had red bean paste inside of them. Instead it was chocolate. It was pretty good. I also had this bun that had phyllo dough and cream (like Twinkie cream) inside of it. It was a pretty awesome way to say hello to Shanghai.

The following morning, we took a stroll around our hotel. It was on a side street that had recently touched up cobblestones and statues of famous Shanghai citizens. There were little shops and a church claiming to be the only church in a Chinese style in the city. We had coffee and tea at the Koala Garden House, which was pretty good. There were lots of little hole in the wall places all around the hotel that made me super happy. So much street food!

Our first stop of the day was the Jade Buddha. I had been there previously in 2014 but it’s a classic place. It’s a wonderful place. There are beautiful statues in various temples all over the complex. I loved all the flags in the temples. Some statues seemed relatively old while others looked very recent. The Jade Buddha itself is housed in the second floor of one of the buildings in a serene room with an elaborate ceiling of about 500+ Buddhas. The complex seems bigger this time since there were additional rooms behind it including a dining hall.

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Flags and pagodas

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Statues at one pagoda

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Newer statue in another pagoda

After our wanderings through the Jade Buddha, we had some lunch at a random place nearby. The king of all the meals was a bean curd and bean dish that was out of this world.

Our next stop was M50, a former factory area turned into art gallery complex. There had to be at least 50 galleries that had set up shop. It’s like a contemporary art museum. So many different styles to see. Our favorite was island6 that had a lot of light and sculpture installations. One piece had three guys sleeping in chairs at a conference table and a phone number. Naturally, I called the number, causing the painting to start ringing. The three men wake up and start picking up their phones. Sadly, the recorded person on the line spoke in Chinese so I have no idea what was being said. Another painting showed a ship and if you triggered the sensor, you’d see and hear explosions. There was a stuffed parrot that would yell insults at you and a box of Chinese take out that said really naughty things. The gallery was lots of fun.

As we left M50, we found a series of walls covered in graffiti that made me very happy. I love how art spaces seem to go hand in hand with street art. The same is true in Paris too. There were even artists out adding to the wall! We found a coffee shop where we had some tea and cake. It was a perfect place to relax after our wanderings. There was a mural of Lhasa and another map of China…and a series of license plates from the US. A neat little space.

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Street art near M50

Our next stop was Tianzifang in the French Concession. It’s like a warren of little shops, some touristy but many are boutiques. It was fun wandering around. I had a soup dumpling that I drank with a straw and then ate the dumpling with my hands. So much fun! Dinner was at an Indian restaurant with juice drinks. It was a good way to handle our first day in Shanghai.
That’s all for now!

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