Shhh! Secret Life of a Princess

Random, provoking thoughts from a self-confessed princess :: with focus on motivational learnings from the media. I hope to inspire everyone to be the best they can be

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lost in Translation in Shanghai

Just like the movie "Lost in Translation", I wandered alone aimlessly along the streets of Shanghai called Huai Hai Road, one of the poshest streets of Shanhgai, the equivalent of the Champs-Elysees of Paris where brands like Gucci, Rolex, Cartier and CK line the beautifully lit street. They even have a H&M outlet here which does not even exist in Hong Kong or Singapore. I was suprised to see the evolution of Shanghai from a busy port to a metropolitan city that leeks of brands advertising on billboards, neon lights arching the streets and people garbed in the trendiest of clothes. I feel so underdressed among them even though I was supposed to be from a more developed city. Amongst the large number of passerbys that speak in perfect Mandarin or even the local Shanghai dialect, I was delighted to hear fluent, accented English when I entered the branded stores like Adidas and H&M. Signs of a new China. It was eminent that Westernization has taken over the country more than I expected with Haagen-Dazs, Starbucks and McDonalds visible almost 500m from one another.

As I walked past food shops, fragrant smells of pastry wafted into my nostrils tempting me to purchase at least one egg tart to savor. This is the land where Chinese pastry originate after all. Biting into the crispy flakes that surrounds the milkist egg I have ever tasted was one sumptious experience. I have never tasted any egg tart this good! There were a variety of food stalls from night dim sum to japanese food to buffett pizza and even Latin food.

From the posh, Champs-Elysees de Paris, Fifth Avenue in New York and Ginza of Tokyo like streets of HuaiHai Road, I ventured further into the famous shopping area called Nanjing Road beginning with a walk around the famous The Bund that overlooks the glorious lights of Pearl TV Tower and Shanghai Financial District. The lights on all the skyscrapers were fascinating and my eyes were wide open when I saw the biggest advertisements on the ships that go around the Huang Pu river with neon lights all around the ship making them such a wonderful sight. While walking along the extremely long tourist shopping road, I found a very Singaporean shopping centre right in the heart of the place called Raffles City built on a Capitaland building. It was gigantic with more tham 8 floors to boast.

Imagine my suprise when I saw the biggest Hershey's lighted signage in the world and I immediately walked towards the 'light' (pardon the pun). Inside I found the largest chocolate machine I have ever seen in my entire life. I felt like a kid given her treasure as I fully adore Hersheys due to its consistent quality of chocolates. There were mechandise like soft toys, t-shirts, mugs and not to be missed chocolate milk shake and ice-cream plus boards on the history of Hershey's across the 2 floors store. The best part is the ice-cream can be purchased to be brought into the iMax cinemas that is next to it. Yum Yum!

I walked past the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center (quite a nicely built structure ) to get the subway back to the hotel called Jin Jiang Towers, a very beautiful 5-star hotel with a revolving restaurant on the top floor. It was not hard taking the subway as the lines were labeled clearly and there are English names. The subway here is also a cheap form of transportation, beats rushing and pushing the local folks here to take taxi anytime.

I left Shanghai for Beijing with a sense of knowing how much Westernization has invaded the place and how much people here are consumed with brands and labels that they have lost their own tradition and culture. Beijing on the other hand is a different story, to be continued on my next blog.

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