Shanghai was the port of entry into my first ever China experience. A cosmopolitan city, with high rises, designer stores, luxury hotels, charming cafes, and street side restaurants, Shanghai is growing to become a rival for Hong Kong. Shanghai is also where I battled my greatest jet leg after taking a 14½ hour flight from Toronto. To my defense, it wasn’t just all jetlag but also an accumulation of sleepless nights leading up to my flight, a hangover from birthday celebrations two days before, and a broken finger in a sling from a break just that week. But with only 2 days in Shanghai, I was determined to barrel through finding moments to sleep if for just 5 minutes on the metro and in cabs.
By June, the city is already hot with a heaviness of humidity so dense that even in the cooler 75F/24C temperatures, one would still find a layer of sweat on their bodies. The infamous haze of the city also hangs low leaving skyline photos appearing as if one went too crazy with the Instagram fade filter.
Despite the jetlag, the haze, and the humidity, Shanghai was exhilarating. We began our day in the French Concession, a neighborhood that is named from the period it was a foreign concession for the French up until 1943 when the Vichy government signed it over to the Japanese. The neighborhood is chic and filled with cafes, bars and restaurants that are housed in art deco buildings.