Sunday, April 5, 2009

Back from a magical trip

We returned from our trip yesterday. We had such a fabulous time in Shanghai. It was a challenging trip in its own way. Foreigners are called 'aliens' there. Not being able to communicate fluently in Mandarin was not a handicap to us as we imagined. I felt a sense of accomplishment everytime we ventured out to a strange new place all by ourselves and not being able to speak the language made it even more fun and thrilling. Soaking in the atmosphere of the colorful chinese culture was truly enchanting . Being a vegetarian, it was challenging as usual to find meat free dishes, especially in a foreign land where you have no clue what is kind to your stomach and what is not but that did not stop us from being adventurous nevertheless. I loved exploring Shanghai and stumbling upon its various delicious street food. I immensely enjoyed letting the vendors know that I'm a vegetarian and yes I have to emphasise that I dont eat meat, otherwise they would just slide in a few pieces of seafood here and there. I had a ball everytime I said "wo chi su. bu you rou" literally translated to "I eat only vegetables. No meat". I got addicted to this deliciously sinful street food called jian bing big time. It is a little slice of heaven that consists of a very thin batter poured onto a hot round flat griddle (think crepes) and with added elements of egg, green onions, cilantro, some hot sauce and then all wrapped around some crispy fried dough. I got high everytime I ate it. Kinda experiencing cold turkey back home now.

Enough about food. I want to stop drooling. How were the people you may ask? Especially those of you who sensed a slight apprehensiveness in my last post? Well, they were...FANTASTIC. Differences in language, culture, skin colour, food were never an issue to us nor them. There is this one particular chap who has left an everlasting impeccable impression on us. He was one of the waiters we came across in this historical vegetarian restaurant. Why historical? Well, it is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in China. It was founded in 1875 by the Qing Dynasty Emperor Xuantong.

From the moment we stepped into the restaurant, I fell in love with his energy and exuberance. His smile and mannerisms were so endearing. Infact, he was so infectious that everytime he came to our table to chat with us or serve us, we would be burst out into laughters. Strangely enough, we even bumped into him once again while strolling through the night streets. Guess what we all did. Yes, we all burst out into laughters again....middle of the street. The Chinese would have thought we were nuts or something. Or maybe it was just us being high on jianbing. Seriously, its souls like him who make our trip simply enchanting and memorable.

All in all, we love Shanghai and whatever it had to offer us....not to mention the addictive mouth-watering jianbing and that infectious waiter :).

p.s: when we have a child, i think we would name him/her jianbing.


  1. So pleased you had a wonderful time, soon I am off to Spain to visit my son , also looking for somewhere new to live, have got the wanderlust in me.
    Lovely to have you back.


  2. WOW! Sounds like you had a quite memorable trip!! I think I need to let your adventurous side rub off on me. My family and I don't travel too much, in fact... I have never even been on a plane before in my life! Imagine that! You have inspired me to travel more, I think it's so important to experience different cultures! Thank you for sharing your trip with us! =)

  3. Welcome back! Great people, delicious food, an exotic culture. What more could you want!

  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I always love visiting foreign lands. I find the people are much different than I had conjured up in my mind, further validating the old adage of never judging a book by it's cover.

  5. Yvonne- Spain is exotic and beautiful. I love their paella :). I lived in New Zealand for 4 years so I could totally relate to your quest for living in a foreign land. Wish you an awesome time with your son :)

    Ruby- Thank you for the warm welcome back :). Hope you are doing great!

    Down- Amen. We should never judge a book by its cover. Thats one valuable lesson I always take home with me after every trip.

    Karla- Hey buddy :). Travel is my passion or shall I say obsession. I remember saving every penny I got in my high school days just so that I could make short trips.When I was 20, I backpacked to Mauritius and that was such a liberating experience.I get to learn so much not only about other cultures but also about myself when I travel.Lets say, I discover myself everytime I make a trip.I find it spiritual.As for you, I could see myself reading your travel blog one day :)

    Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. It sure feels good to be home :)


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