Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shanghai Girls Week-end!

The week-end before last my friends Sadie and Asma headed to Shanghai for a girls only shopping week-end. I have long awaited the day when I would be totally comfortable to leave Jonny with the kids, but it does help to have a fabulous ayi to help too!

We left on Friday morning after I dropped miss Gemma off at school. She didn't seem to be upset at all, but man did I cry like a baby when I left the house.

We arrived in Shanghai and checked into our hotel. We were all starving and looking forward to the shopping we were planning to do right when we arrived. We headed to the The Portman for lunch at Element Fresh and to do a little grocery shopping at the Western grocery store located in the hotel. I found some great things like organic peanut butter, organic brown basmati and jasmine rice, and organic oatmeal. I so miss the wonderful selection of organic foods back home!!! What a treat it was to find these things!!! I think my best purchase was a small bottle of Clorox 2 that cost me almost $10 US. I swear by Clorox 2! I takes stains perfectly out of colors and I have always used this as a stain remover. If you have never used this stuff, you should!


Here is Sadie and I relaxing for a cuppa at Starbucks! They are everywhere in Shanghai!!!

After lunch we decided to hit a yarn store, which we were really looking forward to visiting. Unfortunately it was a big disappointment. The prices were ridiculous and their was not a great selection of imported yarns like they advertise. The did however have a great stock of Addi needles for a very reasonable price. If you are a knitter you know how great these needles are, but I actually controlled myself and didn't buy a thing. After knitting we hit Zara, a Spanish clothing store that I like to frequent when I go back to Northern Ireland with Jonny. They have trendy styles at excellent prices. I was so excited when we walked into to the store. They had such a wide selection of clothing in every color you could imagine and the prices were cheap, cheap, cheap!!! It was so nice to be in China and actually find clothes in my size. I have never thought I was a really big person, I usually wear a size 6 US, but the women here are so narrow I have never been able to get pants, skirts over my hips. I guess I will have to make quarterly trips to Shanghai....


Here is Sadie with her knitting needles purchases! She is in knitting heaven!!!


After taking our goodies back to the hotel we headed to dinner at Simply Thai. Here we are at dinner. We had a great dinner and ended up going back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep for our early start the next day.

We all woke up really early, probably thanks to me. I woke up earlier than I normally, but we had shopping to do and I guess my body wanted to get an early start. We headed to breakfast and then to the Xiang Yang Market. Xiang Yang is the very famous, gigantic knock-off market that is soon to be closing in July. We walked in a did a little browsing before we decided to split up. We were just getting ready to separate when I looked in front of me and saw a friend of mine from Chandler, Arizona! I couldn't believe, my friend Amy Kirley from my MOMS Club was just arriving at Xiang Yang for a day of shopping. The Kirley Family moved to the Philippines shortly after we moved to China as our husbands both work at the same company. I knew they were going to be in China for a vacation sometime soon, but I wasn't sure when. It truly is a small world. We exchanged numbers and planned to meet for dinner before they left for Beijing and we headed back to the Du.


Here is a picture of me with Amy, James, Maria and Catalina (on James' back).

After the market we headed to Dragonfly for a little pampering. If you are ever in Shanghai you must visit this place. It is such a lovely experience for very little money. I had a 1 hour top to toe massage where two people massage you at the same time, one at your head and shoulders and one at your feet. The next hour I had the Chinese massage which was an all over body massage. What a little slice of heaven!

We did more shopping the rest of the day mostly at IKEA. We decided to go out to dinner in a trendy little area called Xin Tian Di. We ended up eating at a Turkish restaurant which had the most amazing food! I highly recommend Iskendar kebob if you have never had it! It was so good, I had it at least 3 times of the course of the week-end. After dinner we hit the Simply Thai for Mangos and sticky rice and drinks.


Here is our Asma with her mocktail! What can we say we tried to corrupt her, but she was a good girl!

Sunday it was more shopping at the same places we had already hit the last too days. We just couldn't help ourselves. In the evening we met the Kirley's for dinner at the Shanghainese restaurant 1221.


Me, Amy, and Catalina.

After dinner Asma, Sadie and I decided to go out for a few drinks at one of the local Irish pubs (yes, they are everywhere!). Asma kept getting calls from her driver in Chengdu asking when her husband, Mazhar would be back from his trip to Malaysia. Asma was worried so she left Sadie and I to fend for ourselves, which we did quite well. When we returned to the hotel and Asma was very upset. Mazhar had not called her to tell her where he was, but she emailed him and found out that he missed his flight from Malaysia and wasn't coming in until the next day. She was super angry and asked him "What kind of normal person misses their flight?".

You are probably wondering why I told you the above story, right? Monday morning we leisurely got ourselves ready for our flight in the early afternoon. We grabbed a cab and headed to the airport. About 15 minutes into our cab ride I asked everyone what time our flight was and Sadie looked at her ticket and said 1:10 pm. I looked at my watch and it was 12:15 pm with about 40 minutes to get to the airport. I couldn't believe that not one of us bothered to look at the tickets. Sure enough we missed our flight and had to stay an extra day. It wasn't horrible, but I was really looking forward to seeing Jonny and the kids. We did a little more shopping and eating and made sure we were up and on time for our flight the next day.

That night when Mazhar called Asma to find out where she was she had to tell him she was still in Shanghai. We all burst out laughing when she told him this because "What kind of normal person misses a flight!" We think it was her karma that made us miss that flight, but we sure did have a good laugh about it!

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