As a re-creation born out of the sprawls of Shikumen housing, which is the architectural symbol of Shanghai in the 20th century, Shanghai Xintiandi, “The City’s Living-Room” is a place to unwind and relax after a long day. A window to the past and the future, to China and the world.Shanghai Xintiandi’s Shikumen attraction was created by converting residential blocks into a multifunctional dining, retail and entertainment center flowing with restaurants, boutiques, cafes and bars of an international standard. The Shikumen buildings within Shanghai Xintiandi retain the antique walls, tiles and exterior of the Shikumen housing of old Shanghai, while the internal spaces have been designed and decorated to suit the up tempo lifestyle of the 21st century urbanites, with infinite details that exude the casual elegance of modern city living. Shanghai Xintiandi is where “yesterday meets tomorrow in Shanghai today.” (xintiandi.com)
Anyway, yea.. so I spent an afternoon at Xintiandi and must say… I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!! From the stores, to the bars, cafes and the scenery, it was all just so beautiful.
The fact that I was taking a stroll by myself and had to ask people “Could you please take a picture of me?”- pics that ended up not appearing on the camera (old..?)- did not disturb me at all. As a matter of fact, I am quite taken to going to cafes on my own these days.. sitting down, drinking (at times weird-tasking) coffees, with an unnaturally herbal after-taste, trying out new pastries, and enjoying the fact that I get to see new and often very interesting places, simply because I have super-much time on my hands.
I definitely prefer this to going through malls and department stores, converting their prices into pounds, only to realize just how overpriced things here really are; or- of course- going to the market and getting stressed out haggling with stall owners:
A: “What? No way! 80 Rmb (~8pounds) is too much! Tai guile, tai guile! I’ll pay 10 (~1pound)”
B: “10? You want to kill me? I want to jump from bridge and die. No, no! Ok, make it 60. I know you have money.”
A: “No, I’m only paying 20, here take!”
B: “20? No, 20 is not good. Ok, make it 55. 55 is ok.”
A:”55? Are you joking? The other person was ready to sell it for 30.”
B: “No, no. Ok, ok, last price?”
A: “I already told you, 20. OK, ok, take 25.”
B: “No..” ..
At this point B is acting all upset and insulted; at which, naturally, you are meant to walk away. It’s a common tale.. 3seconds later- as she sees you approaching another stall and comes running after you..
B: “Ok, ok.. 25 take.. you are very hard. Ok, here.. take, 25!”
A: smiles, gives B the money, and walks off satisfied
B giggles in her head, thinking A is a fool for having paid that much 😉
This of course is highly amusing- if you do it once a week! Going through these steps on a daily basis can be pretty exhausting, *sighs*
Anyway, so yes.. I most certainly had a nice afternoon. The only thing I really did NOT find amusing, was the 14 pounds I paid for 6 pieces of Godiva! Whoever knows me, knows I could literally get involved in a (verbal) fight over this chocolate.. but 14 pounds for 6 pieces? That’s taking the **** to say the least.. *cry* Enjoy the pictures 😉