We have a beautiful apartment in Shanghai. It is spacious, the A/C works amazingly and we hear that there are heated floors. Since it hasn’t dropped below 80 degrees we haven’t tested those out just yet. The only drawback to a large apartment is that it comes with a lot of blank white walls. The few pieces of art work we brought with don’t even come close to filling up the space. We have been keeping our eyes open for art work, but haven’t had much luck so far. So when our friend told us about this place called Painter’s Street, we jumped at the opportunity to go.
It was pretty impressive. A long alley with lots of little shops selling their paintings. Many were painting right there as well. The prices are reasonable and you can even get any picture copied into a painting. We wandered around for a while until we saw this:
One of a few actual pictures on Painter’s Street that we were both immediately drawn to it. We liked the fact that it showed both the Pudong skyline and the Bund. We love the juxtaposition of the old and new with the flowing river in between. What is amazing is that the picture was taken in 2008 and already the skyline looks so different. After some negotiating we walked out with our first piece of artwork.
And this is where the adventure begins…
At just over 6 feet long we decided the easiest way to get it home was via the metro. As we left the shop with our piece of art it had started to drizzle. It wasn’t too bad and the picture was covered in bubble wrap so we figured we would head straight to the metro – a ten minute walk away.
You guessed it. The rain started coming down hard. So here we are, or rather here is B, trying to carry this long picture without getting too soaked. It wasn’t a good start to our trip home. But, somehow we managed to make it onto the metro without any water getting inside the bubble wrap.
We don’t live directly off of a metro station, so once we got out of the metro we had to hail a cab. There are two types of cabs in Shanghai – sedans and larger vans. We hailed a sedan and tried to get the picture into the car. The driver really tried to help by moving the seat – but it was a no go. We thanked him for his time and moved on. Our next option – hailing a van. The first two didn’t stop for us, so B took a step back with the painting and I got the third van to stop. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy when he saw B bring the painting over. After some tries we realized that it wasn’t going to fit in the van either and the driver was happy to leave us standing on the curb. The only option left… try the bus.
The good news is that we’ve been here long enough now that we knew exactly how to get home. The bad news – the buses have no English – not even pinyin (chinese characters written out in English letters). Without understanding Mandarin it is almost impossible to figure out the bus systems. Our decision – get on a bus going in the right direction and hope it doesn’t turn. We jumped on the next one and of course two streets later it took a left turn. We hoped that it was heading towards a major road and we knew the direction to get home from there. Even better, a lovely Chinese woman saw our foreign faces and our looks of confusion and offered to help us with almost perfect English. She told us where to transfer buses and even the number of the bus to get on. We thought we were all set!
But the journey wasn’t over. We transferred buses and continued to go in the right direction. And then we made a left. Our way home – was straight and then right. The bus than turned onto another street we recognized and took a sigh of relief. We figured the next stop would be ours – one block away from our apartment. But no, it seems like we were on an express bus as we found ourselves quickly driving by what we assumed would be our stop. When the bus finally stopped we were a good 15 minute walk away from our apartment. Not the worst thing, but not the best when you are carrying a huge piece of art work.
But it ends well. 15 minutes later we were home enjoying our picture, feeling proud at having managed to somewhat navigate the Shanghai bus systems. Our mini adventure over for the day.