Saturday, August 13, 2011

[JINGAN] People’s Park/People's Square

Immigration was a breeze, just a stamp and I was off the hook. The Customs official, however, asked for my passport. The first thing he saw was the Japanese visa. He asked what I did in Japan. I haven't been there yet but I said "Tourist" anyway. The next thing he noticed was the Taiwan immigration stamp. He asked again. I answered the same thing. He asked for my backpack to be scanned along with my laptop. I complied. Do I look like a drug courier to you? He said I had books in there. I showed him the three Chinese grammar books I brought along with me on the trip. Done. I ate at Burger King.

Wikitravel warns that there are taxi drivers who will tell you that there are no more buses. This is true. Of course they approached me. Two of them. Ako na ang forever mukhang tatanga tanga. They are good actors and they play "sympathetic" and "concerned" quite well. I said no. The initial CNY 250 dropped to CNY 200 until he ended up shouting "Meter! Meter!" as I continued to ignore his existence. Meter your face. Tapos pagsakay ko aabutan mo na naman ako ng laminated card na hundred hundred ang nakalagay. ULOL. I boarded the midnight bus and showed the driver the destination which was sent to me in Chinese Characters via email by the representative of the guest house that I reserved. 22 renminbi. 20, actually. The woman taking the fares had no change. I arrived after an hour, and slept.

I started my Beijing trip the next day after lunch and decided to do Jing’an District first where the People’s Park is. Actually, the districts of Shanghai are kind of hard to figure out, so since I spent the day sightseeing around this big area, I just grouped them all together in one blog post. If there are tourist attractions here that should be in another district, I apologize. Please don’t shoot me. Back on topic, how to go to People’s Park? Metro. I think it has two stations in two different lines. Popular place, not really that hard to find.

After eating Fried Rice with Vitelli something (I forgot the exact term), I realized I should have just stuck with “Fried Rice Bacon”. Anyway what’s done is done, I headed to People’s Square after. People’s Square and People’s Park, I always mistake one for the other. For the sake of this blog entry, I will talk about the one immediately at the Metro exit, which I think is the park. One museum that has a big tower that looks European is on one corner of the street and really visible from the park. Another museum, that of the contemporary arts, is within the limits of the park itself. It was housing an exhibit about Pixar when I visited.

The entrance fee was quite pricy at CNY 100 but that’s okay for a Pixar fan! What I enjoyed the most was that attraction where figurines portraying different actions in sequence are placed next to each other forming a circle. The board then spins fast and strobe lights are put in motion. Voila! Instant cartoons! They said that this was a common form of entertainment even before film was invented. Another must see is the special “movie” on the third floor where they play some scenes from your favorite Pixar movies from the animator’s point of view, meaning they are unfinished and raw, but still kicked ass with the added effects. Aside from that, you really get a lot of info on how the animation industry works. I really loved that exhibit!

Next stop was People’s Square, one side of which faces Renmin Road which is lined with popular infrastructure like the government building, the theater, and the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum. The Old City section of Huangpu district is just across the street south of Nanjing Pedestrian Shopping Road. What you see there are mostly old buildings that are fancy to look at. I skipped those. The Shanghai Museum is inside People’s Square. I just forgot if it is the Shanghai Museum of Art or something else. They have quite a handful of museums in there! I wanted to rest at the square but it suddenly rained. The weather would never ever be my friend in this lifetime. It always ruins my itinerary!

Nanjing Pedestrian Road was the last stop for the day. It is the most popular among the long stretches of road that serve as shopping districts in Shanghai. You find a lot of shops and malls in that area. I was looking for the Foreign Languages Bookstore but I never found it. What I found instead were the Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore and a second hand bookstore with a good collection in different languages. And so I still shopped. Damn that. Bookstores also ruin my itinerary but I don’t hate them. That Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore might just replace KL’s Kinokuniya in my Best Bookstores List. They have novels in French and German and books from one of Shanghai’s leading foreign languages university. They also have a very large collection of Learn Chinese books. Regardless if your mother tongue is Spanish or Czech, they have a book for learning Mandarin to offer you.

Fuxing Road seems to be Shanghai’s answer to Insadong in terms of shops catering to culture and the arts. And of course, books! Lots of them! I then ate at Forever Young. Fried Rice, of course! Fried Rice is love! I went back to Rock & Wood after that and had another sleepless night in Shanghai. I skipped the Jade Buddha Temple and Jing’an Temple, by the way. I think they both fall under this district.

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