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BBQ, Trains and Ikea: Shanghai has little something for everyone


During our first day in Shanghai, we squeezed in some fun amidst two appointments. For lunch, we went to a restaurant Hubs wanted to try: Bubba’s BBQ.

What can I say? My man loves a grill.

While we were waiting on our food, Schäfer discovered the arcade. The waitress pressed a button underneath and Schäfer played and played for free.

Hubs devoured the beef brisket, Texas coleslaw, jalapeno cornbread with beans and rice.

Schäfer and I had the pulled pork sandwich with Texas coleslaw.

See that face? Pure delight.

That afternoon, we headed off to the Train Museum. The museum is made to look like Shanghai’s main railroad station 100 years ago. The outside is set up like a depot and there are two authentic trains and one coach on the tracks.

Weighing more than 100 tons, the giant KD7-641 type steam locomotive was manufactured in the 1940’s in the USA and donated to China by the United Nations as part of relief efforts in 1947.

The green carriage behind the locomotive was made in the 1930s for senior officials. Its luxurious and elegant interior has been refurbished and is a highlight of the museum.

Schäfer could hardly contain himself. He so desperately wanted to get into the conductor’s cabin, but it was blocked off.

The third one on display is a SN-26 type steam locomotive specially-made for running on narrow gauge railroads. Measuring less than half the width of ordinary ones, the mini-locomotive retired in the 1990s after around 60 years of service in the mountainous areas of Yunnan Province.

The guard at the gate said that we couldn’t tour the inside of the museum because they were closing, but after seeing how much fun Schäfer was having, he offered a quick peruse of the museum for free. (The museum closes at 4:30pm. We arrived at 4pm, but they would not sell us tickets.)

The museum is only one floor but contains lots of relics from pre-1949 rail travel. It was really well done. We weren’t allowed to take photos and the guard asked us to look quickly. If we ever have a chance, we will come back.

By that time, dinner was approaching so we went to Ikea for supper because it was near our hotel and because it’s Ikea.

Meatballs with lingonberry sauce? Yes, please.

Schäfer loved this shark. It was super soft and I can totally see him wrestling around on the floor with it, but then we thought about carrying a toddler and a shark back to Yichang. We passed… on the shark.

During supper, Schäfer was getting restless, so we thought: Hey! Let’s go check him into the play area! He loves to play with other kids. We went down to the fabulous Ikea play area and made sure that Schäfer was tall enough. When we went to check him in, the attendant asked us how old he was. We said two and she said the play area was only for four to seven-year-olds.

So not only does our child have to be four to seven-years-old, but they also have to be between this height. Given the fact that Schäfer is already two and clearly passes the line, I’d say there will probably be one magical week in Schäfer’s life when he is short enough and old enough to play in the big play area.

Dear Ikea Think Tank :
You Swedes have figured a lot of good things out, but these play area rules – with their height discrimination – are ridiculous.
Let’s agree on, “You need to be four to seven-years-old to play in the play area.”
You people are Nordic. Your children are tall too!
Holiday hugs!
– a faithful customer

Until then, I guess we’ll keep playing with the display toys:

2007-09-03@16-16-23 2009-11-18@18-32-21
09.03.07                                          11.18.09

The moose shaped pasta redeemed the play area fiasco only slightly.

2 comments to BBQ, Trains and Ikea: Shanghai has little something for everyone

  • Brigitte

    We ran into the same problem at the play area at IKEA in GZ. Seriously, what is up with the height/age rules? I’m guessing they really don’t want many kids playing there. Good thing there are other fun things to pass the time IKEA. Looks like you had some adventures getting to Shanghai. That fast train looks amazing! Sending hugs.

  • Nichole

    I wonder if that's an IKEA rule, or a China rule?

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