Shanghai bound we boarded the train and third class this time. 6 beds in the space of what we previously had, with walls dividing. The beers began flowing and the difficult questions were presented to our tour guide, one child policy etc. He has promised to answer them at a different time but is uncomfortable sometimes, maybe rightly so…? When Chinese liquor was brought out the cabins got a little more lively!
We arrived in Shanghai at 10am. Hot hot hot! The skyline has transformed slightly!
Puma took us on and orientation walk first to the peoples square and peoples park. This houses the Shanghai museum and is the centre of the city.
We then took a walk down China's main shopping street, Nanjing road. Street performers, looky looky men and little trains racing up and down make this an adventure.
We also walked to the bund. After I asked if we could go inside this attraction, puma explained that the bund was the river bank which holds a lot of the old financial sector. On the old side of the river is the financial buildings from up until 1990, then new shanghai is across the river, mass corporations competing for the highest, flashiest buildings. This has the tallest tower in Asia, second tallest building in the world. My favourite is the 'bottle opener.'
In the evening we set out for a river cruise. The skyline transformed at night, each building flashing and twinkling. It costs 2,000,000 yuan per night to light the skyline!
The cruise lasted an hour and was great for a panorama of the city. After we walked down the main shopping street again. It lives on at night with street vendors and music and still 21 degrees!
Hot day in shanghai, we set off for Yu Yuan markets. Here you could haggle for anything and have great fun doing so! It also holds a quaint tea house where Queen Elizabeth dined, and the best dumplings apparently- the only place I have seen he Chinese queue so they must be good!
We went into the Yu Yuan gardens, a maze of summer houses, lakes and beautiful gardens. In the water was huge fish and tortoises swimming about!
Vasilicki and I went to the Shanghai museum in the afternoon, enjoying/getting lost in the peoples park on the way. The exhibitions included Chinese tribal dress, Tibetan masks, coins from the silk route and a photo gallery of the changes in china over the last 100 years.
In the evening ricky and I went to a restaurant. We were the entertainment for the waitresses! We had three around us while we ordered. We seemed to pick the Chinese version of vindaloo and they stood around the corner all peering at us and laughing. There was a mirrored wall so we could see them, they even brought a child to stare at us. Richard from our tour made us all laugh talking about chopsticks. He asked, One stupid person thought eating with sticks was a good idea, but how did it catch on and remain when something more practical came along! You don’t see other people driving a car and think that is a good idea and keep going around on a horse! He keeps us entertained, it’s like being on idiot abroad!
I didn’t mention on my last blog about the toilets in china. It is a squat hole in the floor. Chinese people find it comfortable to squat, you see it all the time in the street. Any sit down toilets in china outside of the hotel are pretty grim so they probably think it is gross that we sit down on them. The driving here is crazy, although we are pretty used to it by now. They drive with their horn and there doesn’t seem to be any rules.
The group went for a night out to a club called Richy. During pre drinks we were laughing at the language barrier. The Norwegians were trying to say third and were saying turd which had us giggling. It was a very funny night and resulted in lots of laughs the morning after.
Shanghai is a modern city, quite different to Beijing and it is developing quickly. I miss the charm of the hutongs, but I think Ricky prefers shanghai’s western comforts. We are excited for more of china!
Next stop Xi’an!