Visiting the Tailor and City God Temple

Street in front of City God Temple- Shanghai

Visiting the Tailor and City God Temple

This was my last morning of freedom to explore in Shanghai before work started in earnest. . We went to the tailor to have our custom coats made. It was so much fun and quite a unique adventure for me. I chose two different fabrics and two different styles.  One was a hound’s tooth that is knee length and the other is a short jacket style in cashmere. Both coats are silk lined. My colleague, Wentao, bought 4 coats in 3 different styles for herself and one for her sister with the same pattern. It was an experience in speed shopping. We tried on the sample coats, none of which fit me because they were all made for a small Chinese female frame. We picked the fabric, picked the style and got our measurements all in about an hour and a half.  The negotiations were the most interesting piece of this whole experience. I stood in awe watching three women negotiating with one tailor all in rapid fire Chinese. It went something like this; Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, walk away and come back and negotiate some more.  Both parties were claiming how they could not afford to make the transaction, “it was too expensive,” “I can’t feed my family,”   “we are buying 6 coats,” “I can’t pay my workers.” Back and forth, It went on for over 20 minutes or more.  I left this entire process to Wentao, as I was the rookie here.  The negotiation was sometimes in English and sometimes in Chinese. Someone usually translated the Chinese for me.  I watched in wide eyed amazement, I had never seen anything like this anywhere.  As an American I was used to paying the asking price without a lot of questions.  We finally agreed on the price and the delivery dates. My coats would be delivered in 3 days as I was going on to India after China. I was to go back and try my coats on and pay the balance after we returned from Chongching.  My colleague would bring them home in her spare suitcase.  She actually brought an empty suitcase every time she went to China, I saw the genius in here practice.  In total we were there only two hours and it was a good thing, because I could have spent a fortune in that building; it was filled with beautiful silks, gowns, suits, scarves and ties all in sumptuous fabrics.  


We had worked up quite and appetite and took time for lunch . This was quite a different eating experience and was Shanghainese cuisine.  The food was delicious and was beautifully displayed. I tried the lemon chicken, some local fish that was displayed as if it was dragon swimming in red sweet and sour like sauce.  It undulated with the head upward and the mouth open, it was hunched in the middle and the top was scored to create the illusion of the backbone of a dragon. The tail pointed upward as well and was fanned creating more visual impact. It was the centerpiece of the meal and I sat there thinking it was such a work of art I wondered how we could ever eat.  The waiter expertly fillet the fish without one misstep.  He brought a bucket to the table side and dropped all the bones in and left the perfectly carved fish swimming in sauce.   I asked what made the sauce so red; I should have known the answer was ketchup.  I also tried a new kind of pot sticker. It was similar to the shape we have at home but very different ingredients, it was delicious and not like anything I can really describe.   I saw hot and sour soup on the menu and wanted to try it in China. My colleague chastised me and said no this is American food.  I ordered anyway and she was right it was not as good as the local food, From then on I decided to try the local food instead of trying to things that were familiar. We had vegetables and a few other small side dishes I don’t remember. Even though everything was different than anything I knew intrinsically I enjoyed every bite I ate.


After lunch we went to the very small temple in the heart of the city.  The Chenghuang temple sits right in the middle of the shopping district with thousands of little shops and street vendors. The Temple is Taoist and is smaller in scale than the Buddhist temple in Hangzhou but it was quite magnificent. It has the typical Chinese architectural building style with turned up eves, and open fretwork and it was decorated for Chinese New Year. The Temple has great significance to the residents of the city and is especially crowded during festivals when people come to pray and burn incense.    It was not terribly crowded the day we visited and we stayed about an hour and paid homage to the God that protects the city. It was a lovely way to finish up touring before going back to work. 

The fun time was now over. We went immediately to the Shanghai offices toured the offices and had a brief meeting.  At that point we drove to the airport for a three hour plane ride to Chongqing. After arriving at our hotel we had late night tea and introductions with people that we would meet with the following day.

Wentao trying on sample coat in Shanghai
Shanghai City God

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Latest comments

09.05 | 12:43

Nina, so enjoyed your description/s of place and experience/s. It almost felt like I was right next to you throughout your journey! Thank you for sharing!

24.03 | 20:01

Great article, Nina. Now I wish I had gone there when I was in Bath. Hopefully, there will be another opportunity to go there someday....

18.03 | 18:48

I've been to Bath twice myself. And have gone to Sally Lunn's twice, too. Took my English cousins to Bath. It was their first time there and they loved it.

10.03 | 20:13

As a kid, I spent my summers in New York state. As an adult, I have had many recurring dreams about going there. I have gone back and the memories rekindle.

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