May. 15th, 2012

sarahblack: (Birthday cake)
I'm back in Nanjing after spending a wonderful weekend in Shanghai with Halla.

The trip started quite excitingly! We were meant to catch a train that left at 14:45 or something like that, and in China that means that the train will either leave exactly at 14:45 or a few minutes before. Not exactly what a couple of Icelanders are used to. We ended up having to run across the train station to make our train. Just like in the movies!

The trip to Shanghai on the train was uneventful, unless you count my consumption of all the snacks in China as an 'event', and we mostly spent it talking and planning our stay in the city. (By the way, train stations in China are very interesting looking - they reminded me of space stations! Or possibly the inside of a whale's ribcage...)

Our first day in Shanghai - Saturday - was filled with fun activities! Halla took me to the Yuyuan garden, a beautiful maze of rocks, trees and flowers, and the Bund. The Bund is a fun place to walk! You can enjoy the Pudong skyline and also the beautiful old European style buildings that are all around. I took way too many pictures. It was awesome!

After doing a little shopping - no Icelander can resist H&M - and freshening up, we went to dinner at a little Italian café. I got a delicious cheese explosion/calzone and some crème brûlée. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the crème brûlée - it came in the cutest little heart shaped bowls, with a heart shaped drizzle of cocoa powder to the side.

To place the cherry on top of the sundae that was our day, we went to a bar called 'Cloud 9'. The bar is in one of the skyscrapers that I had been admiring as we walked along the Bund earlier that day. It is on the 87th floor! (To get up there you have to take three different elevators, and on the way down your ears pop!)

We sat at a table with a gorgeous view and enjoyed some very silly drinks. (I got some kind of specialty of the house - rum, more rum and chocolate something something.)

All in all, it was a nice way to spend the Saturday evening before my birthday.

The Sunday was nice too. We mainly looked at markets. We checked out the Tianzifang market, one of the tailor markets (you can get anything tailor made to your measurements!) and to a fake market. They were all very interesting. My favourite shop was in Tianzifang. It was a tiny little hole in the wall filled with music boxes! Gorgeous ones! No cameras were allowed, otherwise I would have loved to take some pictures.

It was super tempting to have the people at thee tailor market make me an entirely new wardrobe of Chanel and Dior knock-offs, and then pick up a set of fake Vuitton bags and shoes at the fake market, but somehow I resisted. Sigh.

On Sunday evening we visited the Bund again in order to see the skyscrapers all lit up. It was super cool, especially since it was a bit misty and the tallest towers disappeared into the smoke-like gloom. It made me think of Gotham city. I expected Batman drop down on our heads at any moment!

When it was after midnight, and the 14th of May had officially arrived, Halla surprised me with a little dessert! She even lit a little candle and stuck it on the treat! It was a really nice way to start my birthday. ♥

My birthday only got better once I woke up the following morning. I checked my email and saw a message from Thorri! He gave me some really excellent news. I'm not sure I should reveal all the details on here just yet, but I am so excited about this!

Halla and I had a safe journey back to Nanjing, although we ended up sharing a train compartment with way more Chinese people than should strictly have been in the compartment with us. It was interesting. Two of them were older and just slept for most of the way, but there were three? Four? Six? young guys who kept changing places with each other and and playing with a laptop one of them had brought along. I think they were watching a film about snipers? Maybe?

Anyway, Halla and I ended up taking it easy after we got to Nanjing. We had dinner at a place across from Halla's dorm and watched Jane Eyre. Today has been similarly easy going. I finished watching that Indian movie with Halla's class and right now I'm helping Halla do something mysterious to her hair. Wish us luck!


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Sarah Black

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