During my first few days in Shanghai, I was lucky enough to be treated to several dinners and sightseeing trips. Everyone who knows me will know that my favourite food is pizza, and without even choosing, my first restaurant visit in China was a pizza restaurant called Acote Pizza in the French Concession. Earlier that day, we visited a brand new dance studio being built on Zhenning Road, and the results are amazing. I also discovered my new favourite thing ever: a Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino. I know that I will miss these so much when I go back to the UK as they are only available in Asia, and I have had one almost everyday. Starbucks is huge in this city.
The following day, I spent some time with some amazing ballet students who, in term time, attend ballet schools in England. This was a privilege and they were so easy to teach!
Thursday 25th August was my first real sightseeing day. As it was so hot – at least 38 degrees – we went for a swim in Mandarine City. We expected it to be cool and refreshing, but the sun was actually so hot that it felt like being in a warm bath! This only cost 100 RMB for a full day, which is around £10 and totally worth it as it feels like a holiday resort in somewhere like Spain or Greece. It had Centerparcs-style surroundings and swim-up poolside bar. Again, anyone who knows me will know this is my kind of place.
In the evening after the swim, we went to the famous East Nanjing Road, which felt like Oxford Circus in London x Times Square in NY x 1,00000. There are so many bright lights everywhere you look and literally every Western shop you could ask for, mixed in with traditional-looking Chinese buildings and dumpling stands. It was incredibly hot and busy, and as I’m blonde and in a group of Western people, several strangers approached throughout the evening asking for photos with me. Being blonde in China seems to be a bit of a strange experience, but you do get used to being stared at each day on your commute!
‘E Nanjing Rd’ is the same metro station stop for the even more famous: The Bund. This is one of the most surreal and amazing sights I have ever seen in my life. It honestly feels like you are on another planet.
Later in the week, I was taken for a foot massage. I’ve never had a foot massage before so I wondered whether or not I would like it, especially when we turned up to the very plain, slightly cramped shop near Longxi Rd station, filled with sofas and buckets of water. For 60 RMB (around £6) I got almost an hour of the most painful (painful in a good way – dancers will understand this) and luxurious massages from a small Chinese woman. I’ve never found anyone who’s been able to click my back properly before, it was amazing!
On Sunday 28th August, I went to Shanghai Culture Square to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. I have seen this show before in England, but I feel that Matthew Bourne’s shows are new and fresh every time you see them. The venue was so beautiful inside and out, and judging by the applause from the audience at the end of the night, it seems the New Adventures Company are really well-received here in China. A great end to my first exciting and jam-packed week in Shanghai!