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    Shanghai Cuisine

    by machomikemd Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Favorite thing: as distinctive as the other 15 main cuisines of China. Shanghai Cuisine reflects the cooking styles of the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Jiangxi. Shanghai, the largest city in the People's Republic of China, incorporates the cooking styles of the surrounding provinces. Shanghai cuisine is characterized by a greater use of soy sauce, sugar, rice wine and rice vinegar than other regional cuisines like the Quick Stir Fry of the Cantonese Cuisine or the Spiciness of Beijing and Sichuan. Eastern China is home to “red-cooking,” where food is gently braised in a flavorful soy sauce-based liquid with sugar and spices such as five-spice powder (star anise) hence the prevalence of Stewed dishes here like my fave stewed pork innards. Even in stir-frying, a sauce is frequently added near the beginning of cooking, instead of at the end.

    Fondest memory: the shanghai spring rolls and the stewed pork innards and the sour red soup.

    soup with soybean stewed pork innards soup again fish spring rolls
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    The Renminbi (or Yuan)

    by machomikemd Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Favorite thing: the currency of the People's Republic of China. the latest series of Banknotes of the Renminbi are for ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥20, ¥50 and ¥100. The Latest series uses the portrait of Mao Zedong on all banknotes. the coins are 1 and 5 jiao and 1 yuan. Yuan in Chinese literally means a "round object" or "round coin". During the Qing Dynasty, the yuan was a round and silver coin. they are widely available and a caveat, you cannot take out more than 1,000 yuan outside china and the yuan is not an exhangeable foreign currency in countries outside China! the current exchange rate is $ 1 to 6.85 Yuan.

    The Renminbi back more renminbi
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    Shanghai Beers

    by machomikemd Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Favorite thing: the many kinds of beers in Shanghai. China has been brewing beer for the past 9,000 years but it was mostly rural stuff and not into the mass produced market but things changed in the 19th century when european powers entered china and established mini colonies and introduced european style beers. Among the beers is Tsingtao Beer, the most popular Beer in China plus a host of other brands such as China Blue Ribbon, Yanjing, Sie-Tang Lio and Zhujiang. A Typical 500 ml beer in china costs 10 RMB and a 355 ml aluminum can will cost 8 RMB in convenience stores while in retaurants and bars triple that price. Chinese beers often contain rice, sorghum and sometimes rye in addition to barley and Alcohol content varies from 3.5% to the strong variety of 7.5%.

    Fondest memory: Chinese oftedn drink beers during meals and are available everywhere! try one now!
    try the different kinds of chinese beer, their a ok!

    drink now tsingtao Beer another one more
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    Convenience Stores

    by machomikemd Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Favorite thing: a lot in shanghai to get cheap food and drinks and bottled water. Convenience Stores are numerous in the Shanghai area and are life savers since they are opend 24 hours. But off course the trade off is that prices or slightly more expensive here than supermarkets ok due to the higher operating costs. like what i've said in previous tips, a 500 ml bottle here costs 6 RMB, an Aluminum Can of Beer at 8 RMB and a pack of cigarettes at 15 RMB. most don't speak english so just get the items you want and pay at the cashier and remember ask for and pay 0.25 RMB extra for the plastic bag! they don't give free plastic bags in china so you must pay for each plastic bag!

    the convenience stores more
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    ATM's In Shanghai

    by machomikemd Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Favorite thing: a quick way to get cash with just a little surchage on using the international ATM. as all of you know, I always try to do ATM tips on every country that I visit and here in Shanghai is no different. Automated Teller Machines (ATM"s) are numerous in Shanghai but a caveat, not all machines accept international withdrawals so you better look at the sides or in the center of ATM's to see if it accepts International Withdrawals, see the pictures for the logos. ATM's of Beijing that accept international withdrawals usually on the Cirrus, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro Consortium at they are the largest ATM networks in the world. (Discover and Star consortium of the US are not accepted here). Transaction charge is 20 RMB flat per withdrawal regardless of amount so if you would withdraw, I suggest to withdraw large since the 20 RMB service charge is constant!

    cash anyone international consortium
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    Money Exchange Shops in Airport

    by machomikemd Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Favorite thing: like in downtown, they charge a 30 RMB commision per transaction so when going out of China, better to change your Renminbi at the Hotels than here at the airport. Changing Money in Shanghai is simple but a tip, changing foreign currency in hotels are better than changing in money shops in downtown why? exchange rate of $1 - 6.75 RMB in hotels but they charge NO commission fees! while in moneyshops in beijing area the exchange rate is $1 - 6.86 RMB (which is higher) but they charge a 30 RMB commision per TRANSACTION so it is better to change foreign currency in hotels since they have no commision charge!

    airport
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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Bottled Water in Shanghai

    by machomikemd Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Favorite thing: like in Beijing, they are numerous but hav different prices. Off course, when touring other countries, it is best to buy bottled water whether it is mineral water, purified water or spring water and in beijing it is no different eh. A Bottle of Mineral water here varies on where you buy it. if from convenience stores, it's about 5 RMB and on Restaurants about 8-10 RMB and on Restaurants and tourist sites, About 1 RMB at Supermarkets for a 500 cc bottle. (note the price disparities). 1 liter or above is about 2 RMB in Supermarkets, 10 RMB in Tourist Areas and 8 RMB in Convenience stores and 15 RMB in Bars and Restaurants. Softdrinks are cheaper!

    water more bottled water
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    Money Exchange Shops in Shanghai

    by machomikemd Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Favorite thing: remember that there are 30 RMB commision charge when changing money in these shops. Changing Money in Shanghai is simple but a tip, changing foreign currency in hotels are better than changing in money shops in downtown why? exchange rate of $1 - 6.75 RMB in hotels but they charge NO commission fees! while in moneyshops in beijing area the exchange rate is $1 - 6.86 RMB (which is higher) but they charge a 30 RMB commision per TRANSACTION so it is better to change foreign currency in hotels since they have no commision charge!

    also good to exchange in Money exchange shops in various factories that you visit after tours, they may be tourist traps but you can exchange foreign currence to RMB there WITHOUT Commision charges! so when in a factory (whether jade or silk or ceramic or whatever) change your money into RMB and have no commision charge!

    Fondest memory: Besides US Dollar, they also accept euros, japanese yen, thai baht, HK dollar, Macau pataca, Philippine Peso, Singapore Dollar, Malaysian Ringgit and Others!

    a money exchange shop
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    Visiting Shanghai when Typhoon Morakat was near

    by Spookysg Written Aug 10, 2009

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    Favorite thing: Things have changed in Shanghai, they are preparing for their World Expo next year.
    Alot of promo, education of people's behaviour and enviromental too.
    Shopping mall is every where and things are not cheap
    alot of construction, renovation and new building coming up.

    Things to watch out on...

    When you can.. try to take the subway. Is easier, clean enough, and safe enough.
    compare to taking the local cab, is more exciting with the way the driver drives.
    I have 2 closed call when i was on my way to airport.. Once a truck and another time a car.
    so if you have a weak heart.. try to skip the cab if you can

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    Obtaining a Chinese visa in the UK

    by SWFC_Fan Written Jun 16, 2008

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    Favorite thing: The main reason that I didn’t visit China sooner than I did was the fact that I needed to obtain a visa to go there – and I needed to obtain it before I travelled. Paying for a visa was never an issue, but the hassle of having to send off my passport (or travel to London or Manchester) in order to get the visa always put me off. If I could have simply obtained a visa at the airport upon arrival in China, that would have been great.

    However, in May 2008 I finally decided that I was going to visit Shanghai and I would undertake the necessary steps to apply for my visa. I knew that this would involve filling in forms, having passport photos taken and ultimately sending off my passport and an envelope full of paperwork to a company that I hoped was reputable, and which would return my passport (with visa attached) in one piece and within a reasonable time frame.

    I Googled “Chinese visas” and did a bit of reading around on the Internet. After reading a variety of reviews and visiting a host of visa service websites, I decided to place my trust in a company called Chinese Visa Direct.

    I read the step-by-step instructions on their website, printed off the necessary application forms and a checklist of what I needed to send. I booked my flights, arranged my accommodation and made the dreaded visit to a local passport photo booth. I had everything that I needed to submit my application form.

    Filling in the form was simple. It required the usual information: full name, gender, date of birth, nationality, passport details (number, place of issue, date of issue/expiry…), occupation, reason for visiting China, length of stay in China and address(es) during my visit to China.

    There were a few questions regarding any previous failed attempts to obtain a Chinese visa, any previous deportations or criminal records and any known illnesses that I suffer from. I could happily tick the “no” boxes in that section.

    The next section required me to enter details of my employer (name, address, contact number…), my home address and contact details and the address and phone number of the hotel that I had booked in China.

    With the application form successfully completed, I next turned my attention to the Chinese Visa Direct Order Form and Checklist. This required me to fill in my name, address and contact details, my nationality and my passport number. I then had to select which type of visa I required.

    There are a host of different visas available, including single/double entry tourist visas, single/double entry business visas and multi-entry business visas lasting for 6 months, 1 year or 2 years. I selected the single entry tourist visa, and opted for the “normal service”, which I had read in reviews would see my passport back with me in about a week. I could have paid extra for “express service” or “same day service”, but I wasn’t in too much of a rush.

    For information purposes: a single entry tourist visa with normal service cost me £50. The price would have increased to £75 for express service and £90 for same day service. Double entry tourist visas cost £65/£90/£105 respectively. The single and double entry business visas cost exactly the same as the tourist visas, while the multi-entry business visas are generally £100+.

    I paid Chinese Visa Direct online via a “Google checkout” link on their website and printed off my receipt.

    I was now ready to tick off my checklist and enclose the necessary documents in a big envelope:

    Passport enclosed? Check!
    Passport photo enclosed? Check!
    A copy of my hotel booking enclosed? Check!
    A copy of my flight tickets booking enclosed? Check!
    Completed application forms enclosed? Check!
    Payment (or proof of online payment) enclosed? Check!

    The following morning, a Tuesday, I sent the package off special delivery to:

    Chinese Visa Direct,
    PO Box 5051
    London W1A 8UZ

    …and crossed my fingers that it would all go smoothly!

    The next morning (Wednesday), I received a friendly email to confirm that all my documents had arrived safely, had been checked and had been taken to the Chinese Embassy for the visa to be processed. I was informed that CVD expected to have my passport and visa back with them by the following Monday and would send it back to me immediately by recorded delivery.

    Sure enough, the following Monday I received another friendly email to confirm that my passport (and shiny new visa!) were on their way back to me and true to their word, they were back in my possession on the Tuesday morning.

    Everything had gone smoothly and efficiently. I sent an email to CVD to thank them for their excellent service and to promise that I would recommend their services to others. So, if you’re in the UK and you need a visa for China, be sure to get in touch with Chinese Visa Direct – their service is first class. They also arrange visas for Mongolia and Vietnam.

    Chinese Visa Direct: the hassle-free way of obtaining your Chinese visa!

    Chinese visa in my passport

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    WALKING A LONG THE BUND

    by ancient_traveler Written Apr 5, 2008

    Favorite thing: Walking along the Bund, is a really beautiful and special place which is worth visiting.

    Fondest memory: The most famous and attractive sight which is at the west side of the Bund are the various buildings of different architectural styles. The Bund was the centre of Shanghai's politics, economy and culture hundreds of years ago, consulates of most countries and many banks, businesses and newspaper offices were settled there, and that's why we have these art-like buildings.

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    88th FLOOR OBSERVATORY, JIN MAO TOWER

    by ancient_traveler Written Apr 5, 2008

    Favorite thing: 88 Century Boulevard
    Pudong, Shanghai 200121
    Tel:(86-21)50475101

    Fondest memory: Jin Mao Tower is the tallest building in China and the third tallest one in the world. The observation deck is on the 88thfloor of Jin Mao Tower, is also the biggest from the height of it, you are also to view the Huangpu River entering the sea and all the scenery of Shanghai. Look down inside the observation deck, a great picture of the highest deluxe five-star hotel of the Grand Hotel, is exhibited in front.

    Oriental Pearl TV Tower from Jin Mao Tower Huang Pu River Shanghai City
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    Public toilets

    by abautz Updated Feb 18, 2008

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    Favorite thing: If you are in need of a toilet, they are relatively easy to find: At cross-ways they have green signs which will give you directions to the nearest public toilets! You'll never know what you'll meet. We once found it to be inside a hospital, where we had to search for a while.

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  • Shanghai - A must!

    by mistynyc Updated Mar 21, 2007

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    Favorite thing: I have recently visited Shanghai and had the most amazing time. Not only is Shanghai a exciting and fun place to visit but there is so much to do. I used a company called Luxury Concierge China (who are based in Shanghai) and they made my trip one to remember. The organized everything for us and we saw a side to Shanghai that makes me want to go back as soon as I can. We ate amazing food at the Whampoa Club, had drinks at Glamour Bar, had a fantastic shopping itinerary planned for us with a guide, had our fortuned told by a local Taoist priest, tickets to the Literacy Festival, a tour of the Bund with a american tour guide that spoke shanghainese!, a bike trip around the french concession, our names put on the door at all the best clubs in town and so much more....China can be somewhat difficult to navigate, what with the language barrier and the overwhelming selection of somewhat cheesey shops/restaurants, but we had 5 days of perfect holidaying and i highly recommend people heading off to explore Shanghai before it looses it charm. I also recommend that travelers wanting a true Shanghai experience, use a local operator...it really does make all the difference.

    Fondest memory: The food, the shopping....

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    Walking and Seeing

    by HooptheWorld Written Feb 27, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Just walking around Shanghai is full of wonders, large and small, human and man-made: yes, there are some things all tourists are told to see but I found that just taking-in one section of Shanghai at a time was the best, and most deeply rewarding. Wandering around the French Concession I discovered fascinating streets with alleys and doors worth painting; I met people working in stores and found a fabulous bookstore that I would not have found if I were intent upon an itinerary...and, after a few days I felt like I really was in Shanghai...and I felt that sense of truly sensing what it must be like to live and toil in Shanghai. I also found-out that I could simply walk down Shanxi and get to Nanjing Lu without a taxi!! And, in so doing, found stores I would not have otherwise. Plus , hanging-out in the cafe a bit at World Books I found-out there is a flea market there starting in March. So, taking it slow and easy yields a thousand joys. The must-see Tourist sites like the Bund or People's Park paled in comparison to ambling along and observing freshly and without any filter. Also, this allowed me to stumble upon a small group of men playing traditional instruments in a very small meeting place...magic happens without plans!! Plus, not allowing myself to feel rushed yielded meetings with people that gave heart to the city...and, a city is, afterall, the people.

    Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Shanghai is the amazing warmth in the eyes of the people I met, and the sweetness of their smiles. So many examples, but here is one: on a chilly, rainy night we were lost and could not find our restaurant...I showed a woman with her daughter the address in Chinese and she walked us four blocks in the rain to the restaurant...though we could only communicate with our eyes, it was one of the best communications! Such heart and sweetness are common.

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