Yesterday was the day when we stepped alone in to the city of Shanghai, with some trepidation, as we were unsure whether we would be able to communicate with locals, and without the help of our guide, Shaun.
After a hearty breakfast at the 18th floor restaurant of our hotel, which had an excellent panoramic view of the Bund area, we headed to the East Beijing Road Subway station to head to Baoshan District, on the outskirts of the city where an Ikea store was located, as per their corporate website, to check out the latest in homestyling. Armed with a map of Shanghai's subway system and Google Maps app on our phone, we were confident we would make it.
At East Beijing Road we bought an RMB 18, 24-hour subway pass and took a train to Baoshan. We reached Baoshan in about 30 minutes. And then we headed to where Google Maps told us the store was. Unlike the previous few days, it unusually warm and sweaty. And we were excited to reach the huge plot, where the store was supposed to be.
O God! Instead of crazed shoppers, there were only rugged construction workers to be seen. Yes, it was indeed the Ikea store, resplendent in the blue and yellow colours! But where the hell were the shoppers and where the hell was the entrance to the store. Was the store under renovation?
With all those thoughts in our mind, we ,made it to a security cabin. We tried to communicate with the guard, but language was the biggest barrier. Understanding our predicament, the kind soul led us to the site office of Ikea, where a lady who knew English helped us out. She told us that this store would open only on August 15, 2013.
This is China! The website did not say that the store wasn't open. I can't imagine this happening in India, despite all our flaws as a culture and a country.
But we had to visit the closest Ikea around. The lady guided us to the another Ikea store at Xuihui, close to Hongqiao. We thanked her and set out for Xuihui, which was at the end of the city, a 40-minute train ride.
After reaching Xuihui, we asked a middle-aged man where Ikea was. He smilingly gesticulated "Aaaaa Eeekeya! There, there!", he pointed!
It was nearly 12 noon when we reached there. We spent nearly 2-3 hours checking out furnishings and hoping Ikea comes to India and Mumbai fast. Then we headed to the Ikea cafe and had salmon steak and meatballs with dragon fruit juice and tea. The food was awesomely yummy and delicious.
Then we took a cab to head to our hotel - afterall, it was time to pack and head back home.
After completing our packing, thanks to Neeti's legendary packing skills, we set out to Xintiandi, for our last night in China. We took the subway to Xintiandi, making full use of our RMB 18 subway pass.
A tea house in Xintiandi
Something for the next trip!
Missed having the hotpot on this trip!
As lively as ever! Did not expect Xintiandi to be so lively on a Monday evening!
After checking out the restaurants in Xintiandi, and finding them far too expensive, thanks to the depreciated Rupee, we settled for good ol' Starbucks!
Starbucks' green tea, red bean frappucino, which we had in Beijing...
But here we settled for a sandwich and tea...
On our way back to the subway station, a mall was being decked up for kids' event the next day!