Monday, June 15, 2015

Lights at the Bund

For over a year, we've been trying to go to the Bund at night. I (Anna) had never seen it with all of the lights, and Ryan told me it was the one iconic site of Shanghai not to be missed. We meant to see it our first weeks in China while downtown, but between sickness and a baby exhausted from jet lag, we never wanted to be out that late. Then we tried to get a babysitter and stay downtown go for our anniversary, but never made it out due to a forgotten toddler night-time necessity. For weeks recently we planned each weekend to go and stay at a hotel downtown over the weekend to see it, but each week it was something else: sickness, other obligations, or our passports (which you need to stay at a hotel) being in processing to renew our work visa. 

We planned to have lunch with friends and see it finally, but then found out on Friday they couldn't have lunch the next day. I assumed we'd put it off again, but Ryan assumed we were still going. So, it made for a quick packing job, but when he asked when we were leaving Saturday morning, we still managed to get out the door before noon!

 It's been a while since we took a subway selfie, so time for another one! ;) Thankfully the metro wasn't too crowded, so we got seats together that allowed us to eat lunch on the way downtown. McDonald's wasn't our first choice, but it was in the station, quick, and easy to eat on the go. We've decided that feeding a toddler while traveling makes the commute so much easier and seem quicker!

The view from our hotel, located at the People's Square stop. So many buildings (of course)!

We'd done research online that morning to find a not-too-bad (for the heart of downtown) price, and called to make sure they had room and a baby bed, and just planned to get the room when we arrived. We should have gone ahead and booked it online. When we showed up at desk, it was twice the cost of the online price! But, we didn't know where else to go, we needed to get the room so Hadassah could take a nap, and it was our one time downtown, so we went with it.

It ended up being a two-room option that they had available, which makes for a more relaxing stay for everyone. I joked that God must have wanted us to have a relaxing time, since I always say it's too expensive to pay for two rooms, but this time we had no choice. So while Hadassah napped in one room, we got to enjoy time just the two of us. It was awesome and refreshing... we'd planned on family time, but got a date time out of the bargain!

 After her nap, we set off armed with essential supplies (note: sippy cup) to explore around our hotel.

Big, iconic buildings abounded. Hadassah wasn't up to smiling, though - she was overwhelmed by "lots - lots people!" everyone.

 Ryan had read online that there was a Cold Stone Creamery in a nearby mall. It took exploring all 7 floors, but we finally found it! And it was worth the search. :)

 Setting off to find a place to eat supper, this was one of Hadassah's favorite spots: a "tunnel" where she could walk without seeing too many people! ;)

 A downtown church building... makes you wonder the history behind it.

 We ended up going back to the mall we'd be in to eat at "Pho Asia" - a Thai and Vietnamese place. Bunny puppet kept Hadassah entertained as we waited for the food. Pineapple fried rice was a nice change, there were cold noodles with beef that were delicious, fried egg rolls, and a chicken stew that was somewhat of a strike-out for our tastes - but we've come to expect to order at least one dish that doesn't turn out as expected! ;)

 Being out with my love is such a treat. We're just more relaxed away from the chores of home, and enjoy exploring together.

 We made it to People's Square in perfect timing - just as dusk was beginning to fall.

 We took the long walk through it down to the Bund to get the full experience. There were so many lighted-up cool looking buildings. And of course, lots of people! Quite a few tried to get pictures of/with Hadassah, which was okay to a certain point. When one kept following her around as she tried to play on some steps, saying "look look" and causing her to eventually sit down and cry (as the lady continued to take pictures) we had enough of it... While we know she's a rare site, even in a touristy-area (as most people wouldn't go on a site-seeing trip with a youngster) there comes a point you just want to be a family and enjoy yourself, without your toddler being part of the show for others.

 Finding a "balancing beam" cheered Hadassah up again. She's always willing to walk if she has a ledge to walk on! Helped break up all the carrying we did that day... a stroller would have been an extra hassle in crowded, stair-prone places, and she wasn't about to walk much amid the crowds!

 The sky turned a beautiful blue - and Hadassah smiled and talked to the ducks on the building on the right :)

 We finally made it to the Bund!

 It was super crowded! It wasn't a special holiday or anything... just a normal weekend evening in the heart of Shanghai.

 THE building to see, and I now know why. It was beautiful.

We got someone to take our picture after waiting for at least 10 minutes to get right next to the water. Hadassah even hammed it up a little. :) It was already past her bedtime, but she was holding up incredibly well, all things considered!

 Lights on the water... Hadassah liked seeing the "BIG boats" as some came through all covered in lights.

 Then it was time to head back to the hotel, but not before capturing another building all lit up.

 And we had to kiss at the Bund, just because!

 We walked a lot more, and rode the subway one stop back to the hotel. Hadassah was getting more and more tired, but was at rest in Daddy's strong arms.

 We all slept really well in a such a comfortable hotel! Poor Ryan was dealing with stomach pain... Second time recently eating Asian food has given him really bad pain. At least he didn't throw up like he did last week, and this time it wasn't as painful and was gone by morning. Our theory is that it's the spice and citrus causing acid issues.

 The next morning Hadassah enjoyed exploring more of the hotel room and reading beloved books from home.

 Then we set off again: on the hunt for breakfast! Despite such an expensive rate, breakfast wasn't even included, and at $30/each for the hotel breakfast we set off for better options.

It was so easy to get to church that morning... Instead of 45 minutes in a taxi, it was just 4 subway stops away! We are always blessed by the worship and teaching. There are so many people coming now too, that the hotel meeting room is almost always full!

Hadassah was just a tad more squirmy, though, and we could tell the day before, with a shorter nap and later bed time with lots of stimulation had worn her out, so we headed home even before the after service member's meeting was done. Picked up food to eat in the taxi, and we all got long naps, which did a world of good. Then when I got up and checked texts, I realized some close-by friends had invited us to meet them at Papa John's for supper! So, we continued to fun, eat-out, no-dishes weekend just one more meal. :)

There were a few rides set up in the mall courtyard, which we'd seen the week previous. We planned to let Hadassah go on a ride like this at a small amusement park we saw downtown, but then backed out when we realized it was twice as expensive as the one more local. So when this one was still here, we couldn't resist giving her a little more fun. She loved watching the planes fly around as others rode it, but was absolutely thrilled to ride in it herself, pushing the buttons to make it go up and down and play noise, and waving to mommy with a huge grin each time it passed. :) A great way to end a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a fantastic weekend! The city at night is just spectacular - loved seeing those pictures! ~Jessi