Shanghai- a great city

Trip Start May 05, 2010
Trip End May 27, 2010

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Thursday, May 20, 2010

 We arrived safely from Yanching and settled into the Holiday Inn Vista, our final stop on this holiday. It is nice to think we don't have to pack our bag now for 6 nights! The hotel is well situated with a local store right at the entrance and places to walk in all directions. We were so shattered that we were in bed by 8.30 and grateful for a good night's sleep.

Today we have a full day city tour and joined a group of 4 other Aussies who have been travelling together. Our first stop was the Old Town area, a very popular tourist destination. We wandered around the streets of the Yu Bazaar with our guide, Jo, trying to ignore the touters of copy Rolex watches, Gucci bags etc. We saw the old Huxingting Teahouse built in 1784 and walked across the nine cornered zigzag bridge ( protection against evil spirits, who can't turn corners) before entering the Yu Gardens. These gardens are extensive and were created by one man over a 28 year period. The walls divide the garden into six scenic areas which make the garden appear much larger than it is. It is a very peaceful interlude set apart from the bustling streets and includes one of the largest Ming rockeries, historic relics in various sections and dragons sitting on top of many of the walls.

We then travelled to East Shanghai and crossed the Huangpu River to the Pudong or Special Economic Zone. Our lunch venue was right on the river near the TV tower which used to be the tallest building in Shanghai. Following an enjoyable lunch where we tasted deep fried lotus root we headed to the Jin Mao Tower and the observation deck on the 88th floor. It was a pity there was so much cloud as the views would be magnificent on a clear day. The observation area on the 88th floor is situated above a hotel and altogether an impressive building.

Next we headed to the Bund area which is on the other side of the river. Here there are many European style buildings fom the 1920's when Shanghai became a Treaty port and international trade began in earnest. On the river bank is a new promenade and as the sun came out we enjoyed a stroll along the river. Here we were regularly approached by locals wanting us to pose with them for photographs – another experience with the papparazzi! We then headed to the Shanghai Handicraft Centre where we given a talk about jade and saw some wonderful exhibition pieces. We ended in the inevitable shopping area where we browsed for a while and had great difficulty shaking off a salesman but eventually he took the hint and left us to browse!

We then took the bus back to the hotel and had a short break before meeting Jo again and being taken to a restaurant centre for dinner. We were taken to a Thai restaurant but no Thai food in fact the meal was disappointing although Ken did well with a crumbed chicken dish. We asked Jo about Shanghai style food and she said there is no definitive cuisine. As Shanghai is a multicultural city and Chinese come there from many parts there is more a fusion of flavours and dishes. Aftrer dinner we headed to Nanjing Rd, the main shopping area and went to the Shaanxi Theatre to see an Acrobatic Show. We had great seats up in the balcony and watched a show of strength and agility- an enjoyable end to the day.

Today we decided to do our own thing in Shanghai and started with a taxi ride down to the Bund area. The weather is glorious today and it is nice to just walk along side the river. The view is much clearer and makes the photos much nicer. Next we went down into the tourist tunnel and travelled under the river to the other bank by a mono rail like car. The tunnel sides were covered with psychedelic lights- certainly a different perspective. The other side is the business area of Shanghai called Pudong and is much quieter with fewer tourists. Crossing back via the tunnel again we tried to get tickets for a river cruise but they had sold out for today so it is something we will leave for another time.

We wandered through the streets watching life go on in Shanghai and found the sewing area where Sheila spent a pleasant time looking in all the shops at buttons, ribbons, embellishments etc. We have a picture of Shanghai full of leafy streets and spring flowers planted everywhere, as well as washing hanging from windows; bicycles, electric scooters, carts pulled by bicycles all vying for space on the roads. After wandering for a couple of hours we decided to go back for a rest as we were going to a show this evening.

Brenda and Kevin, our new NZ friends had arrived in Shanghai so we met for dinner and caught up on what they had done for the past few days as they are flying out in the morning. We then caught a taxi to the Shanghai Circus to see a modern take on the acrobat show. We had front row seats and the show was truly spectacular- amazing tricks with great music. We will certainly leave Shanghai with some wonderful memories.

Writing the blog has ensured we have our memories of a wonderful trip. Thank you for taking the time to read it and travel along with us.
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