Golden week or 国庆节 is the only major holiday we get during the program at Fudan. It’s also called national day because it celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic (October 1st). While that may be the premise, it’s mostly a travel opportunity for the Chinese, although I did observe a lot of national pride in the form of the ubiquitous national flags around the city. This year it intersected with the Mid-Autumn moon festival. I basically ate moon cakes every day during Golden Week. My favorite was the white bean and egg yolk moon cake. I think these past two weeks have been pretty hectic in the program with our quarterly tests and the added pressure of trying to plan a last minute trip within China before ticket prices skyrocket.
For Golden Week my friends and I decided to stay in Shanghai mainly for two reasons: one, it was a lot of stress/money to figure out in such a short amount of time. And two, I personally have been wanting to check a few things off my ever-growing “Shanghai Bucket list”. Even though I have been living in Shanghai for the past few months, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore because of classes, homework, and daily Chinese quizzes, so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to do some of them.
1933 is huge solid concrete former slaughterhouse with incredible architecture. I’ve read that the building was originally intended to be a slaughter house but never fulfilled its original purpose. It now serves as a commercial center for creativity and design with a few offices, cafes, and design stores. The main draw of the building is definitely the beautiful architecture. Each floor is built around a central glass covered atrium and is connected to an outer ring by many interlocking ramps, bridges, and staircases. The building is basically an M.C. Escher drawing come to life with concrete bridges and beams coming out at every angle. Even though the building has lost some of its charm from all of the shops, most of the building remains vacant and untouched. As an amateur photographer, I really enjoyed taking pictures of the unique architecture. There were so many staircases and ramps in all sizes, making it seem somewhat like an adult playground. 1933 is definitely one of the (slightly) less touristy things to visit in Shanghai, especially for architecture junkies like me.
South Bund Fabric Market
This is a popular fabric market that sells fabric at very low prices. More important than the fabric are the clothes that they can make with them. They have everything from cotton, to silk, to wool and cashmere. I had a full suit made (including the vest) for 750 RMB. Definitely not the cheapest in the market but the fabric was higher quality wool-cashmere and I had a friend who had been to the same shop before. I also had two tailored dress shirts made for 100 RMB each. All of them fit perfectly and are a very good deal if you look at prices in the U.S. For the suit I had to go back twice because the pants they made were very small and tight. If you get a suit made there, definitely ask for it a little bigger. Another cool thing about this market is that you can take things from your wardrobe and have them copied exactly (with different fabric, of course). I haven’t done it yet myself but I plan to get an old pair of jeans and a few dress shirts from home remade. It took about an hour from Tonghe Village so going back took a good amount of time from my break, but it was well worth it. If you would like to go it’s a 5 minute walk from the Nanpu Bridge station.
The rest of my break was spent eating and relaxing in Shanghai. It’s the end of October now and it’s finally starting to get cold. Shanghai definitely skipped the fall season. In a matter of two weeks the weather went right from 80-90 degree sunny weather to 60 degrees and raining. I think I’ll definitely be needing the warm clothes I bought at the fabric market.