Being a tourist in your “hometown”

April 2, 2010

I wrote earlier in the week about how nice it is to have guests. I want to expand on a key part of it. You get to play tourist in your new hometown. Anyone who has lived in a tourist destination knows that the last thing you want to do on weekends is hang out in tourist zones. However, when you have guests in town, this is the time to let down those defenses and enjoy the city you live in with a newcomer’s eyes. From a tourist perspective, we did several things this week that I have wanted to do since we arrived. I am once again amazed by our new city and very happy that we are able to live here for an extended period.

First, we went to the top of the World Financial Center. This building is currently the 3rd tallest building in the world, and the tallest in China. I say “currently” because they are building an even taller tower next door to it. I gained a different perspective on how vast and dense this city is. From 100 stories up you can see how rapidly the city is changing – new tunnels, new bridges, new buildings. The city is changing to handle phenomenal growth, but also in preparation for World Expo 2010 which starts in a few weeks. You gain a different perspective when you visit these architectural attractions.

Next, we took a traditional Shanghai cuisine cooking class. I learned a lot, but we also had a good time. Hopefully I will be able to remember some of what we learned since the most interesting takeaways were not on the printed recipes! Our chef/teacher then took us to a local tea shop, due to the outgoing nature of my guest who has a way of instantly befriending people. I hadn’t visited a traditional tea shop yet. It is an experience that should not be missed. Varieties of tea are quite complex, the flavors are affected by growing location, climate and time of harvest. We tried the first harvest of green tea for this year – it was completely different from what I have been drinking from tea bags or even the loose tea I buy in the supermarket. The owner even recommended a traditional tea for my chronic sore throat! We will see how it works.

Finally, we rounded out the week by visiting the flagship Barbie Shanghai store. It is a spot that I have wanted to visit since we arrived, especially since friends from college designed the space. It was a fun experience and a wonderfully unique retail space. My 7-year-old daughter announced that she wanted to hold her birthday party there! On the flip side, it may not have been the best destination for our 10-year-old son.

I look forward to our next visitors – I can’t wait to be a tourist in my own city once again!



One Response to “Being a tourist in your “hometown””

  1. bowlzworth said

    You are so right! That is one wonderful part of hosting. it can be strenuous but it can also help you appreciate what you already have!

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