Chocolate Cookies in a Chinese Hotel Room

Somewhere on the streets of Shanghai 11 years ago

My first visit to Asia a decade ago was what some might call a bit unusual. But among the people I knew back then, it was quite normal.

I decided to fly to Shanghai, China for the weekend, alone, with nothing but hand luggage and stand-by tickets, armed with a stack of business cards featuring shopping addresses in Chinese to show taxi drivers, hoping to overcome language barriers that way. I stayed in a modest hotel in what I remember was a kind of back alley somewhere. The hotel was recommended to me by a colleague.

Due to the time zones, I was awake uncharacteristically early in the morning, took a cold shower because I couldn’t figure out how to get hot water and looked through the window of my room. I had a street view and I saw a man doing what looked like a form of tai chi on the roof of the low building opposite me. It must have been 4 or 5 am and the sun was rising. I snacked on some Oreo cookies and drank a can of Coke.

I came home with a brand new suitcase filled with random things I purchased, like half a dozen pashmina scarves (who needs so many?!). Nowadays I don’t do much shopping abroad, and if I do, it’s for necessities, clothes and practical things, not souvenirs. I guess I fulfilled all my future souvenir shopping needs on that first trip to Asia!

I did bring home this cute little box with a compass inside. I know it’s just a plastic tourist trinket, but I do like the look of it. The compass has always been broken, though. I keep it tucked away in my closet.


After this trip, I did another weekend trip to China; this time to Beijing with a colleague. This was 11 years ago and the memories have mostly faded away to make room for more recent travels.

– This post was inspired by the brand new Travel Trinkets and Memories challenge set up by nihongojapango’s Leanne

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11 responses to “Chocolate Cookies in a Chinese Hotel Room

  1. Thank you so much for participating! Some of my best trinkets are just the little El Cheapo touristy ones ot small finds in local flea markets. Really enjoyed your post! Arigatou gozaimasu!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy to participate! I thought it was a great idea for a travel-related challenge 🙂 And true, sometimes money doesn’t matter and the happiest trinkets and memories are the ones that cost the least!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting trip you had. I’ve often wondered about language barriers, particularly in Asian countries, but it seems you have a trick or two up your sleeve. I like the design of the compass box, too – pity the compass never worked. Lots of nice memories for you from all your trips, as well as a few lessons learned about compulsive souvenir buying. (I’ve had a few of those lessons myself.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Travel Trinkets and Memories Challenge #2 – Vivid and Handmade | NihongoJapango·

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