I was informed at the last minute, of course, about a five day vacation which resulted from the school's sports week. I made a quick decision to go to Shanghai and check off two of Lonely Planet's top 30 things in China. The Bund and the French Concession.
So, after class on Tuesday, I went down to the train station with my expired passport and hoped to get a ticket. My passport was still in Beijing, on its way to me, hopefully to arrive in the evening. I surprisingly got a ticket for 10 p.m. and went back home where my passport was just arriving. How lucky! I went straight back to the train station and slept all the way to Shanghai.
As soon as I woke up, a woman selling noodles was walking by. How lucky again!
I was not looking forward to tromping all the way to my hostel when I arrived at rush hour. They had already tricked me into booking with them by listing a really cheap price, however, the fine print stated that I could only have that price on my birthday. Since it was not my birthday, I called booking.com's customer service and they changed my reservation to a more regular price of 55 yuan, which is fine, but I don't like being tricked. Just goes to show, if it's too good to be true, it probably is!
Here's the email I sent to Booking.com to which they responded with a very feeble apology and did not remove the hostel from their website.
First off I booked this hostel's very cheap "birthday rate" not knowing what it was. When I read the fine print I realized I could only get the discount if it was my birthday. Since it was not my birthday, I realized I needed to change the booking. It was non-refundable, so I talked to "Mehdi" at the "Genius" customer service number. He changed my booking to a single bed in a dormitory and changed the price to 55 CNY per night and I was happy with that. I had read the reviews and clarified with him that this was indeed a bed and NOT a sofa bed. Which I would not accept. He assured me it was not a sofa bed and then told me to call back if there's a problem.
When I got there, of course, they told me I had to sleep on the sofa bed at this rate. I refused and asked to borrow the phone so I could call booking.com again. I was on hold for a very long time and the receptionist became angry and demanded his phone back. My phone didn't have much money on it, so I needed to use the hostel's phone to resolve this issue. Twice I refused to give him the phone and twice he violently pulled and grabbed at my arm to try and rip the phone back from me. He screamed that it was his phone.
At this point I needed to find another hotel but my iPod's battery was about to die. I plugged it in and then used their wifi. This man began to push and hit me out of the way and then ripped my plug out of the socket. It was at this point that I started screaming and hitting back. I needed to use the wifi to find a new place.
He took my bag which I had left on the floor and threw it out into the hallway. Then he shoved me into the door, which I resisted and shoved back. Eventually he shoved me out into the hallway and turned off the wifi so that I was completely screwed out of even finding a new hostel.
I reported everything to the police. They told me this hostel is illegal and I hope they will press charges.
Here's the sofa bed that I refused to sleep on
Luckily, I had the address of the new place the woman at booking.com told me about. Thank God they were there. I put my stuff down and went to the police station.
It took them forever to take my statement, but at that point I didn't care anymore, I just wanted this guy to get fired or for the police to shut them down.
When I finally got back to the new hostel, I decided it was time for a trip to the Bund to have a fancy dinner. I needed to revive the day. Hakkasan was a highly rated place right on the river and they had a simple tasting menu which was awesome, because I wasn't in the mood to think anymore at that point.
So I took a well deserved shower, got dressed up and went down there. I was seated at a small window table facing the river.
Here's my review of the restaurant;
I had a terrible day so I went to hakkasan to try and revive my evening. It helped a bit for sure, but there were some elements of disappointment. I was seated at a nice window table beside an obnoxious family who gave their toddler a spoon to play drums with. I politely asked them to stop their son, but they didn't. I requested to move to another table, which caused me to lose my place at the window. It would've been nicer if staff had respectfully asked the parents to control their child. But fine. Chinese saving face yadda yadda.
(I forgot to ask his name) A kind manager reseated me and I told him about my day. He made me a complimentary mojito for my troubles and that was very appreciated. I didn't think the food was that amazing, maybe I ordered the wrong thing. I had the duck salad and cod from the tasting menu. I didn't realize the cod was all the way from Alaska, I mentioned that I regretted ordering it to the manager because id rather have local food, but he didn't offer to change the order. Fine I guess, again. It was good, but I've had better in Macau of course. The lemon pot for dessert was a lot better than expected i really enjoyed all the different tastes in the pot, sweet sour crunchy chewy, perfect.
I want to give it 4.5 stars but I can't so I'm giving this only 4 stars because of the women's uniform. I thought the dresses the more "attractive" women had to wear were sexist. I noticed only the more "Chinese" looking women wore them. The darker skinned, shorter women dressed all in black t shirts and pants as the men did. And they were given less "glamorous" jobs. Please correct me if my assumption on this is wrong, but from my perspective it looked really bad.
After dinner, I walked around for a couple hours then came back to the hostel exhausted and ready to do it all again the next day.