Blaggers and Blowing

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
1
3
132
Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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Where I stayed
City Centre International Hostel
What I did
Skyscrapers, The Bund and The old town

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Saturday, August 6, 2011

As I write this on day 3, I can thankfully say things have got better since my last impression of Shanghai at the end of day two. (please read through to the end, as the first part is a little touristy)
We packed a lot into the day. Started with a metro over to the metropolis part of Shanghai (Pudong) with all the sky scrapers which kept me more than amused. The day, once again hot and humid made the going quite tough. We had to find our way back across from Pudong to the mainland where the majority of the city is based, and found a 'sightseeing bund tunnel' to be the best option as there appeared to be no bridges and the metro was already beginning to be over-used. Although overpriced, the sightseeing tunnel revealed itself to be one of the most pshychadelic journeys I have ever been on, and even though it was shortlived, I can't quite believe I went through it. The tunnel was really a small metro, going from one side of the river to the other, with spaced out music playing and a strobe lighting show with flappy handed blow up figures along the route. Now I think of it again, I don't think it really happened.
We walked the Bund, which is a very traditional area along the river in Shanghai, on our way to the old part of town (Yu Garden) which was filled with some very pleasant smells, and some very sickly 'made me want to wretch' ones - the garden was nice though.

And then the day got interesting. We walked the Nanjing road which is where all the lights are if you go after dark (which we havent done), and if you go during the day you get offered lots of cheap watches and handbags. Both of which we politefully refused.
A nice beer was had, on the corner of this road while the Chinese went nuts as some schoolboy sports team or another went past in a truly uninspiring bus to cheers of 'y'ahh ming' or something like that.
We were tired and thats my only excuse for what happened next. Very tired. We sat and were enjoying the Peoples garden, it was beautiful (and we were tired if I havent said already). Some lovely students came along and stopped next to us to try their english. They were suprisingly good, and we talked for a while, they asked us questions, we answered and then they started to walk off. But before they did they took a second step back, and they asked what plans we had for the rest of the day (it was 5pm). We didnt have any, and so they suggested it might be interesting going along to this famous tea festival which was quite local. No harm- seems like a good traditional thing to do. There seemed to be many festivals on at the time (it was valentines day also).
I agreed and we walked along like a jolly multi-cultural rabble to the 'festival'. We were led into the 'Champs Elysees' mall which was a flourescent horrendous shopping centre to a dodgy, but quite authentic looking tea shop. Straight into one of the rooms, we all sat down it was chatty and friendly....and then the menu came out. The tea lady being all scary and chinese talking quickly was being translated by our new friend in a confusing kind of way and then I looked at the prices and turned to kate and quietly whispered....'We're being ripped off'. 'Whats wrong?' came from one of our friends. "Oh nothing, nothing. But I think you misunderstand. We dont have this kind of money".. 5 quid for a cup of tea, when your expected to buy at least 3-6 cups (they are very small cups) plus a further room charge. I apologised, and we scuttled out very sharpish. The tea lady was none too impressed. They had lost their fish.
On arriving back at the hostel, clearly written behind the desk "Beware, young polite english speaking students inviting you to tea rooms or art galleries as they will make you pay far too much". It was a nice chat all the same, and it cost us nothing in the end.

Thats for learning. Don't trust anymore polite students. No matter where they are from.

Oh....and there was a typhoon in the evening. As you do.
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