A Tour to Shanghai
People say that we never forget our first Christmas! I think we have many first Christmases in life! The one when we were a baby and we can’t remember, the one we spent far away when we first moved from our parents home, the first as a married couple, then the one when your first child was born and so on, right? And my first Christmas in Dubai, was actually in Shanghai!
Shanghai was one of the top 10 cities Emirates loved to send me. I do not know why, but I don’t really know how many times I’ve been there during the three years! And to be honest, I do not remember if this 2008 Christmas trip was my first time there or if I had gone before! But what matters, is that this trip and the city itself, meant a lot to me!
It’s silly that thinking what to write – as I always start talking about how the flight went – I realize that all the stories I’ve told you here, the crew was always nice! I think this must be one of the best things of life. That we keep the good moments in our memory and in some way, we let the bad ones go! So you can imagine what I’m going to say already? That yes, the crew was nice! One of the boys I already knew from training and, for my happiness, there were two other Brazilian girls working with me!
I confess that having people of the same culture as mine, on a holiday that I simply love, was a relief! Of course we did not know what we would exactly do there, as China does not celebrate Christmas. But the hotel was so kind to plan a Christmas dinner to all the crew. And if I’m not wrong, we were not the only one that day.
We arrived on Christmas Eve and it was a wonderful evening, even with Santa stopping by and giving gifts out! And we followed to our after-party at the hotel’s business center as we could still get along together there! No one wanted to have dinner and go back to their room. So, we decided to continue the fun until we couldn’t take it anymore! We did not have our families that day, but we had each other. And, among strangers that we were, we became friends!
We still had a whole day to walk around and I went out with the Brazilian girls! I used to love going to the old city. There was always something to do there; as to see the traditional architecture, check the shops with many typical things (which I loved), besides having gardens, temples, etc.
That day, we decided to go to The City of God Temple which is one of the most important sites of the city and which has an old saying that: one who fails to reach the temple never reaches Shanghai! It was built to protect the people of the city and the gods are considered patron saints in Taoism.
We also went to visit the famous Yu Garden (or Yuyuan Garden) which it’s size is of 20 thousand square meters and has more than 400 years! It is a beautiful garden with halls, pavilions, ponds and rockeries. Upon entering, there is a large rockery called the Great Rockery, with a height of 14 meters and is the largest and oldest found in the southeast region of the Yangtze River (which is the largest river in China).
In the Old Street of Shanghai is where the typical stores are and you can find many sort of things. But they were not only the Made in China kind of stuff we are used to, they were handicrafts articles, porcelain, paintings and jewelry. It was their typical things and I loved it! I even had a collection of Chinese chopsticks, with each one having a different designs, but I gave many of them away as a gift after I returned to Brazil. We still have some stored with our thing in Brazil!
Shanghai has a special place in my heart.
Although, the flights were always with a bit of trouble, because of the language barrier as not everyone spoke English; because of their behavior, since most of them – not to say everyone – would take their shoes off, burp after the meals and do other such things too; I do not remember having a really bad flight during those years! Moreover, I wouldn’t always have a crew going out with me. But since I was used to the city, I would take a cab or use the hotel shuttle and go to the old city or wherever I wanted to go!
And when I was planning my wedding, I even tried to venture out where the people would shop for their weddings! There were several things I had seen in New York that I wanted to find them in China. After all, everything was made there, right? But the things for the Chinese weddings are totally different to what we’re used to. So, that’s when I discovered that any of the products that are produced and exported to the West, were sold there!
Furthermore, this crowed city, full of cars and culture has become one of my favorite’s in China!
Lili is half Peruvian, half Brazilian, a dreamer Pisces kind of girl, curious, life lover and travel addicted! She`s been to 53 countries, loves to explore different cultures and to travel to the most unusual destinations. Currently lives in Finland, is a monthly columnist for the website Brasileiras pelo Mundo (a Brazilian platform of expat women) and founder of Hey, I am Lili. She believes that the most important things in life are to laugh out loud, a good wine and people she loves always around anywhere in this world!