It’s been two days since I landed in China, and the jet lag effect has been fairly mild so far. The rains finally let up enough for us to venture outdoors, so my uncle took me for a cultural tour around Shanghai. First stop was Puxi ( 浦西 pǔ xī ), a subprovince of Shanghai from which you can see a juxtaposition of the historical West and the contemporary East.
Second stop was Tianzifang ( 田子坊 tián zǐ fǎng ), an artist alley in Shanghai, near the Puxi side of Shanghai. I say “artists’ alley”, but Tianzifang is more of a labyrinth.
It’s an excellent place not to have any sense of direction, and I spent a good couple of hours happily lost midst the shops. Tianzifang is like a condensed version of Xintiandi. It’s an excellent place to view Chinese handicrafts, to buy gifts and curios, to sample popular Chinese tapas, or to enjoy tea from one of the rooftop teahouses.
The entrance to Tianzifang is surrounded by more classical commodities – qipaos and silk paintings and china vases. As you meander through the lazy sprawl of shops and homes, the environment becomes gradually more westernized. Finally, you pop out from the alleys into a plaza, where there is, of course, a Starbucks.
Some of the boutiques have been around since the early 1900s, so it’s exciting to see a lot of the same clothing and cosmetic brands used during the Qing Dynasty. I came home with a bright pink blush from Xiefuchun.
The case is so pretty, made of blue china, but the blush itself is nice too. It’s a delicate bright pink and lays on sheer. There’s also a blossom fragrance, pleasant but faint.