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Notes From Almost 2 Months In Shanghai, Spring 2012

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I don't see this as a TR, my priority was to spend time with my 100 year-old mum and visit family, relatives, classmates and friends, minimum sightseeing. As major attractions and popular restaurants don't change, I have topped my 2007 Notes for your reference.

TRANSPORTATION -- The Metro has expanded to more than a dozen lines right before the 2010 World Expo, with english directions and low fares, very convenient. Line 2 goes between the airports PVG and SHA, several stops downtown, so do the airport buses. The Maglev from PVG doesn't end at downtown, you can transfer to LInes 2 and 7, or take a cab. All city buses now have HVAC, altho slower, nice to ride during non-rush hours.

The cabs are still inexpensive, most drivers are polite but no foreign language so have your destination written out in chinese. The lighter colored cabs, white, cream, silver, beige, gold, pale blue, light turquoise etc. have better reputation, red, dark red and other ones appear to be featured more in the local news for problems.

If time is limited or have mobility concerns, the Big Bus Tours can be considered. Hop-on, hop-off, 1 ticket 3 routes, and in 8 languages. www.bigbustours.com

FOOD -- Eating is the #1 national pastime almost to the point of obsession, especially the quest for freshness. Due to the increase in income of the locals, more outdoor and indoor "wet markets" have appeared in the neighborhoods. Locals shop daily for fresh produce and meat, live poultry, fish, shellfish, eels, etc. swimming in tubs of fresh water. I will list an easy place for you to visit under SIGHTS. More locals are enjoying restaurants so the popular ones are usually packed. Many travelers stay around the People's Square and some at the Yu Garden area, the restaurants I am listing are close by. For those staying in the old french concession, see my 2007 Notes. Ask your hotel to check if they are still in business as I haven't checked them all.

Note shanghai food is different from the mouth-numbing Hunan and Sichuan food, some find it bland, not for me. I grew up on it and don't care for spicy food from any country. I have listed different styles.

Sheng Da Cheng, 636 East Nanjing Road, 130 years old time-honored authentic shanghai food.

Old Shanghai Lane Cuisine, 300 East Nanjing Road, Floor 6, despite being in an office tower, delicious shanghai dishes and Bund view, had GTG with the Smith famly there.

Wang Bao He, 603 Fuzhou Road, specializes in shanghai freshwater food

Xiao Nan Guo, mouth-watering shanghai food. Check location with your hotel as I heard they are morphing into high-end with possible name change.

Lost Heaven at the Bund, 17 East Yanan Road, lovely Yunan small dishes in lovely southwest China minority decor, popular bar

Jia Jia Tang Bao -- see my topic written specially on this place.

South Memory, 299 Nanjing East Road, spicy Hunan food.

Old Bejing Duck Restaurant on the Bund, try the tender roast duck (different than cantonese ones) if you didn't have duck in Beijing.

Yunan Road Food Street, short walk from People's Square, amazing 3 blocks with dozens of restaurants, try the lamb hot pot there (even has Shanghai’s 1st western restaurant Deda that is over 100 years old and very good, I had the lamb chops).

South Beauty, 881 Yanan Middle Road, mouth-numbing Sichuan food in attractive old building.

LuBoLang, across from Yu Gardens, crowded place where Clinton ate, have lunch when you are gift shopping in the area.

Shanghai Old Resturant, 242 Fuyou Road (Old Street) a block from Yu Gardens, original shanghai food

Yangzhou Restaurant, 345 Middle Fujian Road, short walk from hotel, earthy local dishes, i.e. steamed fish, drunken chicken (immersed in wine).

Bi Feng Tang, 1333 Nanjing Road West, affordable place with wide variety of food including cantonese dim sum popular with locals.

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