Celebrations in Shanghai

Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
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Trip End Nov 07, 2011


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Saturday, October 1, 2011

After spending a week in the Chinese countryside, we headed into Shanghai, possibly the most iconic city in China. We didn't realise when we had booked the train tickets that we had actually booked a bullet train into the city (Mike was so amazed he insisted on having a photo next to it). The train is a fantastic feat of engineering and the Chinese proudly display the train speed inside the carriages. We reached and average speed of about 190 mph.

We arrived at Shanghai HongQiao train station and tried to get Metroline 10 to our hostel. At the time we thought it was odd that the line was randomly closed, but what we didn't realise was that it had crashed a day earlier! Our emails are not working at the moment on the hostel computers (rubbish connection) so if you emailed us about it, sorry we didn't reply.

Our hostel is in a fantastic location, only a 10 minute walk from The Bund to the Huangpu River. We took a walk down to the river in the evening to see the Shanghai skyline. I must say that although it does have a couple of interesting buildings (the 'Oriental Pearl TV Tower' being the main highlight) it does not even compare to the magnificent skyline of Hong Kong.

We boarded a sightseeing bus the next day to see what Shanghai has to offer, this showed us some hidden sites which were interesting. There is a very long shopping street full of big department stores and other independent shops. This would be great if we were on holiday like a lot of Westerners are here it seems, but we are getting bored of seeing expensive shops on our budget! Having said that, we did manage to haggle down some sun-glasses for Rachel from 380 Yuan to 50 Yuan, almost a 90% discount!

We have also visited the China Pavilion of the Shanghai 2010 Expo, we didn't really know what an Expo was and have never visited one before. It turned out to be quite interesting, although the main expo finished last year the China exhibition is still available. It is very much like a modern museum.

Today is China's National Day, a big celebratory holiday in China, which will continue for the next week. Last night we decided to join the celebration by going to a fireworks display in Century Park. We arrived to find that buying tickets was very confusing as no one spoke English. So we ended up watching the display from the perimeter of the park with the half of China too tight to buy tickets! Although we couldn't hear the show (it was probably in Chinese anyway) the fireworks display was really good, it lasted for over an hour. It did become a bit of a firework overload by the end!

The next 7 days are going to be very busy whatever we do. Everyone has been telling us that train tickets are impossible to get so we are lucky that we have managed to book bus tickets to Xi''an for Tuesday. Although it is another 18 hour journey, at least we have beds this time!

We have been really looking forward to Shanghai, however it has disappointed us a little. The city is nice but we haven't found much to do, there seems to be a lack of tourist attractions and cheap activities for travellers. If you have money to blow there is a small area of expensive restaurants & bars, not suitable for our budget. At least our hostel has a rooftop bar which we are making good use of!
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Comments

Clive on

Am enjoying reading about your adventures in China. Seems all going to plan and you are seeing a whole variety of Chinese culture.

Keep up the postings.

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