Before arriving in Korea, my travel mates and I had a 15-hour layover in Shanghai, China due to flying with China Eastern instead of Korean Air. Originally, we thought it would be a terrible experience trying to get comfortable in the airport for that long. (Then again, we couldn’t complain at the almost $500 savings this travel option provided us.)
Instead of staying at the hotel, we decided to investigate just how much staying at a hotel near the airport would cost. After talking with many representatives, and a bit of bargaining, we were able to secure one room with three beds for about $30 each. They provided us with the transportation to and from the airport. We were simply thrilled by the fact that we would have a bed to sleep on and a shower to use at our disposal. Little did we know the adventures that would come of it!
After getting settled into our hotel, well motel, room, we decided to do a bit of exploring. The hotel was located in a good area of Shanghai where we could easily walk to a number of restaurants and shopping areas. Our first stop took us to a convenience store right outside the hotel.
It was here that we discovered a 600mL bottle of beer could be purchased at the equivalent of about 80 cents… Amazing! My friend decided to stock up on some beer. The store owner was a very kind man. I personally do not smoke, but he openly offered cigarettes to my traveling buddies and told us to have a seat outside to start drinking the beer. Who I am assuming is his wife, worked the small restaurant right next door to the store. She immediately began offering us food while bringing us cups to drink the TsingTao beer.
Gaining more courage, we finished our bottles of beer and left to do more exploring. We walked out and to the right of our hotel for about 5 minutes until arriving at a street hosting many restaurants, street food venders and people.
Although I am Chinese American, sadly I do not speak the language… Oh the woes of being second generation. Anyways, it was quite an experience to walk down the street on the receiving end of awkward stares since I was accompanied by a white man and a black girl. Makes sense that it’s not a common sight to see in this part of Shanghai. We all had a good laugh though.
It’s obvious from the photo above what happened next… All that beer wasn’t enough to satisfy our stomachs, so we decided to take a chance and try the street food. I must say, it was amazing and quite cheap! My favorite was the spicy beef on a stick. The flavors were so explosive and it was spicy, yet it did not lose the taste of the meat. I wonder how many I ate that night…. :)
Once it became two (or was it three…) in the morning, we decided to call it a night. Keep in mind, we had to catch the bus at six a.m. to make our final flight to Korea. The 15-hour layover in Shanghai that I had been dreading, especially after the 14-hour flight, ended up becoming an amazing experience.
I guess you just never know…