Tummies full, we left the restaurant around 12:45 and the weather had become humid.
The shopping is pedestrian-friendly with an occasional trolley / mini tour bus. Prominent other than McDonalds and Haagen-Daaz, were expensive big label stores. I wondered how the young couples afforded their clutched brand-named shopping bags.
The English Group 8 turned down (yet another) museum tour which added more (boring) shopping time. This time Sue and I struck out together. Four hours to kill. My poor aching feet.
On a shabby side street a couple of blocks from Nanjing Road, I bought a bottle of Dynasty wine in a grocery / variety store ($10.00 CAD / $8.00 USD). Not one corkscrew was in stock. I borrowed from Sue as I had siphoned all the cash out of my wallet for the silk-filled comforter and pillow before lunch.
If we needed the Happy House, Jackie advised any large hotel would accommodate us. Our choice was the Sofitel Hotel where, upon entering, we found ourselves facing a security guard. Nervous, but avoiding eye-contact, these fine western ladies strutted in as if we belonged and ended up (confused) on the garage level. Ph-ew the gas fumes.
Sue spotted a glass elevator. A tall Caucasian man, briefcase clutched, got on behind us. He had come from Michigan on business eight years before and considered himself a local now, his return to the U.S. doubtful. He pointed us to the closes ladies’ washroom.
Shopping Nanjing Road (pictures galore)
Out on the street again, Sue spied a Haagen-Daaz restaurant. The timing couldn’t have been better for a good sit with ice-cream. We entered with Sue in the lead. A waitress stopped me at the door and said wrong way. The lineup at the opposite end of the restaurant was where we must enter. Oh? Back out to the sidewalk and the other door we trotted to join hordes of others. It didn’t take long, though, before we were seated.
We waited—and waited some more. Three young girls who’d arrived after us had already been given menus. We waited. With the earlier rush over, I chalked this up to bad service. We wondered about foreigner abuse, as well. A girl finally came bearing water glasses containing lemon wedges and menus. We didn’t touch the water.
At length, a waitress toddled over and took our order. One scoop of ice cream (chocolate with pralines) cost 33 Yuan each ($5.50 USD). We waited and waited for our order to arrive, but I didn’t mind. It was a relief to take a load off and sit.
Our bill took forever to come. I wondered why not go up to the cash with our dish to show what we’d ordered and pay. At home we’d have done this no problem, but Sue, usually brave about most things, wasn’t comfortable doing so. In the end, we did so anyway, but the cashier appeared frazzled. His rhythm had been broken and he made us wait. Again. I now owed Sue 83 Yuan, (not quite $14.00 US).
Two things I noticed while we window-shopped. Beggars were uncommon. We had been discouraged from interacting with them. I noticed only two: one a disfigured man shortly after the bus dropped us off; the second, a miserable old man who shook a rusty tin can in our faces wanting a donation while we sat in a park. He rattled the meagre contents however we ignored him. He scowled and moved on, but sneered over his shoulder. I hoped he hadn’t put a curse on us.
Next on November 14th, Shanghai, Day 11, Part 6 – Dinner and a Show
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