Today was not our easiest day on the trip. Things didn’t work out and things were hard today. But that happens, and there were still bright sides to the day.
Our plan was to catch a train to one of the nearby villages that had beautiful parks and a lake. In order to get to the train station we had to take several subway lines to get there. In Shanghai, it seems to change subway lines you have to go up out of the station, and walk across a street or several to get to the next subway line. We’ve never seen a subway system this spread apart. So it’s a lot of up and down walking.
We finally get to the train station and wait in line to buy tickets. Ty gets cut in front of several times, because he wouldn’t stand right on top of the person in front of him. It’s just the culture…
He finally gets to the ticket window and asks the employee if she speaks English. She says, Go to the next window, as clearly as Ty or I speak English! Whatever, so we go to the next window and wait in line again. When it’s finally our turn, we find out that you need passports in order to buy train tickets. WHAT!? It’s not like we’re trying to leave the country! This never occurred to us, and Ty hadn’t seen that written anywhere when he was researching train tickets. So we were pretty bummed. We have a flexible day tomorrow though, so we were try again then. (Spoiler alert: we don’t make it tomorrow either!)
We’re left scrambling for a new plan for the day. L has been asking for Chinese Pokémon cards since we arrived. It’s his new all consuming obsession. R wants to go back and get the ring she saw. So we decide to make today a shopping day. We go back to the subway stations and make our way over to the mall we remember. From there we walk to a Pokémon store that Ty researched earlier.
Guess what… it’s CLOSED! But this super nice lady at the store next door, calls them, and let’s us know they will be open at noon. Trying to stay flexible, we head back to the mall food court to get some tea and snacks. We play a few rounds of Sleeping Queens card game. (Totally fun!)
R, mom, and I then wander the mall looking for girl items for R. Nothing! It was all grown up, super fashion clothing. Of course…
We’ve killed enough time by this point, so we leave mom and R at the food court, while Ty, and I, walk with L back to the Pokémon store. Still closed!
This is the weirdest rats warren of a mall area. It’s full of nail salons, kiosks in the middle selling phone covers, and then we noticed several more gaming stores. So we start walking up and down the three levels of this mall. Trying to find a store that was open, and then one that has Pokémon cards. After about three stores, we finally find some cards!!! With some pointing and very little English we manage to get some cards in Chinese, which is what we wanted. Even though we can’t read them, L still knows the characters. We figure that’s a great way to remember the trip.
After we got L his Pokémon it was time to get R her ring. So we subway’d over to that underground mall. We had a interesting older gentleman circle around us in the subway, just staring at our children. Then he followed up through the underground mall. Not menacing in anyway, just way too close for my comfort. Perhaps we were some of the only Caucasian people he’s ever seen? I’m not sure but we sure were fascinating to him.
So we had R buy her ring, and then we made our way back on the subways to the hotel. We rested a bit, the kids enjoyed their new goodies, and some iPad time. Ty did some research and found a temple that was in the city, as well as a fun looking restaurant that had a pirate ship inside the kids could play on! We had a plan, layered up because it was cold, windy, and starting to rain, and back to the subways we went.
We took longer leaving the hotel then planned, and we got a bit turned around leaving the subway for the temple. We knew it closed at 5pm and we were pushing it. Well with our luck today, we got to the temple at 5pm on the dot. The security guard was not a forgiving sort at all. So I managed to take a few photos from just at the gate. It looked lovely, sure would have liked to see more.
At least we got to see these really neat steps… totally would have preferred the temple.
Back on the subway we go. Everyone is a bit exhausted, and cold. But we still have high hopes for this amazing restaurant Ty found for us.
We had to change stations, and there was lots of up and down stairs. Well sure enough, we finally get to the right station and L falls asleep.
So we started the debate, of heading back to the hotel for dinner there, or sucking it up, and trying to find this restaurant since we’re already here. We went for it, and started wandering the mall where it was located. Except, knowing how this day has been so far, you know there was no restaurant…
We’re not sure if by chance we were in the wrong mall, or if it had closed? Seemed like the review wasn’t that long ago. But we had about 4 or 5 separate mall employees try to help us, and no one had a clue.
So there we were with one passed out child, the rest of us were exhausted, and no great dinner plans. We went to the lower level, that we entered at, I spied a tiny noodle shop that happened to have four bar stools available, and said, let’s eat there! We looked at the menu, pointed to about four separate pictures, and hoped for the best.
Thankfully our luck finally improved, and for me it was one of the best meals we had on the entire trip!
I have to include this photo. It was from the elevator of this mall, when we were trying to find that restaurant. The warning labels in China just cracked us up!
With good food in our bellies, we trekked back to the subway, and our hotel. The kids were zonked out within about 5 minutes of getting into bed. Meanwhile, mom and I continued our nightly tradition of enjoying a glass of wine, and chatting, up in the executive lounge. The fact it was one floor above our room, and I could go in my hotel slippers made it a wonderful option at the end of the day.