>This post is going to be a recap (I wanted to say “quick” recap, but lord knows I like to get wordy) of my first week in China. I have lots of pictures to share, stories to tell, and even some food to drool, I mean write, about. If you just come here for the recipes feel free to skip this post and come back early next week (I won’t judge!) when I will be sharing the most amazing Frozen Raspberry Mousse Pie, you won’t want to miss that! If you’re interested in the food that I eat here in China and what all I am experiencing then read on! And be forewarned that there are a million pictures and I don’t shut up for a long time!
I left San Diego at 1:20 on Saturday afternoon, I arrived in Shanghai at 8:02 Sunday evening. Losing an entire day was kind of weird. But I have to say that arriving at night was good for me. I kept myself busy on the plane by reading Water for Elephants (totally worth the hype, read it, awesome book), watching 2 movies, and just generally staring into to space. I slept for maybe 45 minutes of the entire 13.5 hour flight. By the time I arrived in Shanghai I was exhausted and ready to sleep. I think that worked out well for my jet lag because I went to sleep around 11 pm and the next day I already felt right on track.
Monday, Jesse had to go right back to work. I woke up with him and fiddled around the room for awhile. Then I went to breakfast. The hotel has a very large buffet breakfast. Not Old Country Buffet style, though. There are Chefs right behind each station keeping the food fresh and new items coming. Because this is a business hotel and there are lots of Americans there is a large selection of American food. I liked pretty much everything except the bacon. It was very “jerky” like and felt leathery. The rest of the day I spent my time going from the room, to the Admiral Lounge (for Priority Rewards platinum members, Jesse’s platinum because he’s basically spent half of the last year here and they all know him by name), down to lobby, walking around the hotel and then back to the room. I wasn’t quite ready to venture out to far on my own.
Jesse worked until around 5:45 and then we went to dinner with 2 girls he works with that are native Chinese. Dinner was a pretty cool experience. (Most) Restaurants in China serve food family style. They bring out big plates of food and everyone eats right out of the same dish. It’s honestly perfect for a visitor because you get to sample lots of food without worrying about ordering a dish you don’t like and being stuck with it. I tried everything, and I liked it all! I wrote more about the food we ate at the dinner in my previous post.
The rest of the week was pretty much the same for me. Keeping myself occupied during the day and going out to dinner with Jesse at night.
Tuesday I ventured out. I walked some trails in the park that is right next to the hotel and then sat on the lake boardwalk for a while. For dinner we had what Jesse called “Hot Pot”, kind of like fondue. That was probably my least favorite of the whole week, but Jesse loves it. I don’t think it was the Chinese part that I didn’t like, I’m just not a huge fan of main course fondue in general. When I go to the Melting Pot I go for the cheese, chocolate, and good company, not the main course. (Excuse the bad cell phone pics)
Wednesday it drizzled all day so I spent most of my time in the hotel. I also checked out the fitness center. Lots of good equipment! Jesse was in the mood for more familiar fare so for dinner we went to a Spanish Tapas restaurant. I have to say, it was fun to see the Chinese take on Spanish Tapas. It was all quite good. I can’t pinpoint the exact flavor, but I could detect a Chinese flare in the Shrimp and Beef. Once again, I loved the vegetables. Asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, onions. Yum.
The next night, Thursday, we decided to explore the world again and we went to a Japanese restaurant here at the hotel called Bros Wasabi. Hold on to your seats, I ate Sashimi Salmon, and I didn’t gag, and I liked it! 2 years ago if you would have told me that I would be eating raw salmon with Jesse I would have laughed at you.
Yesterday we had an issue with our room, there was a leak in the bathroom ceiling a few days before I arrived and where it leaked was starting to smell. I spent the day re-packing to move rooms and going back and forth with different staff members over our room options. We landed in a suite (lucky for us Jesse’s company has a deal worked out so it doesn’t actually cost more than the room we were already in). Wowza! Talk about an upgrade. 2 levels. 2 bathrooms. 2 closets. Balcony. Amazing!
Last night we went out with the girls again. This time we went to a Schezwan restaurant. Lots of really good food! Shrimp, super spicy chicken, green beans, BBQ pork, and tofu and crab. After dinner we took a walk around. Guanqian Street is a very popular, very busy, place. There were lots and lots of people and lots and lots of stores. And, oddly enough, lots and lots of signs for KFC. Apparently Colonel Sanders is pretty popular in China, well at least among teenagers, Mandy tells me.
So that brings me up to today. For breakfast today instead of going to the restaurant downstairs I ate upstairs in the Lounge. It was a nice relaxed environment, so I think I may have breakfast there more often!
Other random thoughts on China:
* Every day I see at least 4 brides having their picture taken by the lake. I thought it was strange that people were getting married before 10 am during the week, but I have learned that these are just photos that they have taken, and they are probably not actually getting married that day. The wedding may take place days or weeks before or after the photo op.
* Super friendly people. I’m telling you, everyone should live in a Chinese hotel for at least a week. I don’t think any employee here has ever had a bad day (Obviously an exaggeration, I’m sure they have but you would never know it). When people stand up to say hello/goodbye to you, you start to feel pretty special. Not to mention “bu yong xie,” which means no need to thank, which they say often. I still say thank you, xie xie, all the time. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of the staffs kindness here in the hotel. And really even the people outside of the hotel.
* It is freaking humid here. Sticky hot mess. Yep that’s me. I must have gotten really used to San Diego weather because the humidity is killing me! And the clouds. It’s very overcast/cloudy. Twice there has been sun but only for a short while mid morning.
* Never in my life have I wished I knew another language more. I want so badly to be able to communicate with everyone. Almost everyone tries their best to speak English to me, but some are very limited (which isn’t surprising, second languages are tough to learn) and I wish I could just step up and use their language. Plus how cool would it be to speak Mandarin (Chinese)?!
Phew, did you make it through that? (I should really give you some sort of prize if you read all of that!) Well, that was my first week. Overwhelming, fun, exciting, humbling. All wrapped up into one amazing week. Since I have officially declared this a Food Blog, I will mostly put up some of the yummy food pictures, but their are lots more pictures where these came from. You can see other pictures of the hotel and surrounding areas here.