Have I told you yet that I was completely head over heels about Shanghai? And I have more stories to share about the world's largest city, and tonight, I want to start with where I spent most of my RMB, Tianzifang.
Tianzifang Shanghai China
It was my first afternoon in Shanghai. After we dropped our friend at the train station, my Shanghainese friend Yin said, “I will bring you to my favorite place in the city, Tianzifang". I was curious. Seven years of befriending her, I never heard of this favorite place of hers before.
We took the subway and got down at... umm somewhere? It was a hectic period, and the subway had all the rainbow color marks, but this time I didn't need to concentrate. I was with a local, born and bred.
We walked up and were greeted by a small crowded lane. I still didn’t know what was so special about a narrow lane. That narrow lane, with a couple of stores, turned out to be the entrance to a maze of stores, restaurants, arts, even a bubble tea stall, all combined in one place.
That moment Tianzifang became a favorite of mine too.
I couldn’t stop squealing with delight over the small stores that were selling cute stuff. I kept asking my friend what was this and what was that. I told her I want that and this and more of that.
Tianzifang had so much cuteness combined!
And I had a minor shopping spree. I shopped for myself and for everyone to whom I could think of giving something. I made excuses to shop: baby shower, long lost friend's birthday gift, considering daily meditation. I bought postcards, friendship bracelets, and tea. I almost bought an iPhone cover that wouldn’t fit my phone; I couldn’t resist getting it because it was so cute. My friend had to step in and stop me.
She sensed that it was time to rescue my RMB. It was still my first day, and I had nine more days to live with my foreign currency. She suggested we go to a coffee shop. I was torn. I couldn't believe this place also had a coffee shop! And yes, I wanted very much to try it, but, on the other hand, leaving all that cute stuff?? I finally followed her after I made her agree to let me shop later.
Kommune at Tianzifang Shanghai China
We walked into smaller lanes, and ta-da there were a few coffee shops, actually. We entered Kommune.
You guys, where I came from Communism was not necessarily celebrated (choosing my words carefully here), but the place was a gem! I felt a little politically incorrect. Yet at the same time, sipping coffee from a communist-themed coffee shop in the city that claimed to be the birthplace of communism felt like the coolest thing to do.
Tianzifang was a feast for the soul, though not so much for the wallet
I went there again before I flew back home, this time by myself. I took my own sweet time going in and out of the stores and spending way too much RMB again before going back to dine spicy Chinese food. It has been one glorious day!
Next time I come to Shanghai (oh, there will definitely be a next time!) I am heading straight to Tianzifang from the airport with a short stopover at my friend's to drag her along as I need her to put a stop to it when the geographical-shopaholic in me goes overboard.
When you are in Shanghai, make sure to visit Tianzifang to shop, have coffee, hang out with friends and try the awesome street food sold there, will you? In my opinion, it's one of the best way to get yourself some hipster culture experience in China.