Like I mentioned earlier, the weather in Shanghai was cold. THe funny thing is, I felt confident with a black knit long-sleeved turtleneck. Boy, was I wrong. This one I did not realise unti after lunch. Of course, lunch is after breakfast, so breakfast first.

Breakfast was of the famed Shanghainese delicacy xiao long pao, a dumpling with a good amount of broth inside, to be dipped in balsamic vinegar. My only gripe, why is there not enough soup in the dumpling??? Grr.

Beside this eatery is the famed Yuyuan Gardens, a traditional looking chinese villa that once housed the emperor and his many concubines. There is nothing more perverse than having a labyrinthine house with hidden passages and dark alleys, and your concubines scattered around for you to find. Other than admiring the wonderful architecture of the estate (and having wild concubine fantasies), I searched where TAR6 placed the clue for their Shanghai leg. And thus creating a theme for my subsequent trips - but more on that in another entry. I found it in the corner of the Gardens, and took a picture for posterity.

there was a clue here!

Right outside the Yuyuan Garden is a zigzag bridge over a lake - and right across, a Starbucks shop! Presumptuous rather than convenient, I am totally against having Starbucks in touristy spots that exude a certain ambience (similar to my discovery of a Starbucks branch right smack along the walls of Intramuros). Grr.

More walking for the day brought us to the French Concession famished and thirsty, thus ushering us to lunch. It was a Hunanese restaurant and their specialty was hotpot. Look at the photo below - this dish had chorizos, pork chunks and tripe. Yummy. What I did not notice was the sauce - which was made from, no not tomato sauce, but from crushed peppers. If that was not enough, there were four kinds of pepper in the dish, none of them being the sissy bell pepper variety. For the record, this is the spiciest dish I have ever tried, beating the Bangkok Tom Yang Goong, and the wasabi burger in the process.

man, that's hot!

Feeling the full wrath of Hunan, I flailed my arms at the waitress and shouted at her 'Coke', which I could barely mumble because at this point, my tongue and lips were absolutely numb. Even my water did not taste like water because I think I just killed half my taste buds with one bite. It was at this point that I realised that actions spea louder than words as the waitress brought me a moist towelette to help ease my extreme discomfort.

I was burping the spiciness until the evening at QiZhong. It was at that point the stadium crowd was informed the Rafael Nadal had withdrawn from the tournament due to a foot injury. Foot injury my foot! He can still walk. Grr. I hope the tennis gods bequeath him with the Wrath of Hunan as punishment.

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