Sky walking over Shanghai

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Jun 19, 2013

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Friday, January 25, 2013


Mega mall after mega mall after mega mall. Shanghai is basically one big mega mall. As we walked down East Nanjing road to the Bund (the main pedestrian areas) we were amazed at how these shops could compete, and then we remembered how many people live here - 19 million. Even with all these people it never felt too busy like other parts of China. Shanghai seems to have been so well planned so visiting the sites was easy and hassle free thanks to the metro system, wide streets and English signs! The views from the bund of Shanghai's famous skyline were, of course, amazing and even better at night time when all the skyscrapers are lit up and tourists boats are sailing by with their ships also lit like beacons. Walking along the pedestrian street at night we watched groups of locals practice there tai-chi and aerobics before heading into one of the malls for our dinner. The food court was crazy with so many people hustling for a seat to grab a bite to eat. After loading up our food card we ordered our meals and joined the fun. For breakfast we found a nice bakery nearby to relax in and treat ourselves. Our hostel was great because of its location, right by peoples square at the top of East Nanjing road and by the main metro station. The building itself was cool as it squeezed in amongst small houses with the huge skyscrapers as a backdrop. 

World Finance Center.
With the highest observation deck in the world complete with a sky walk we knew this would be our first stop in Shanghai. Thankfully it was sunny on our first day so we headed straight there by metro. We paid 15 each (our daily budget has long gone since arriving in China) and took a ear-popping lift ride to the 100th floor, it was quite a surreal feeling. We got a panoramic view of the residential area east of Shanghai and  on the other side the famous Bund and the Oriental Pearl Tower. Like most big cities the visibility wasnt great due to the pollution smog and we didn't get many desent pictures but it was still a highlight for us.

French Concession.
About 15 minutes away by the metro the French concession is an area of small picturesque shops and restaurants with narrow streets which feels like it doesn't belong in Shanghai. The problem is small narrow streets don't work for Chinas population. We just got carried around the lanes with the current of people occasionally managing to make it into a shop only to find the ridiculous prices they were charging. This is very much a tourist shopping area and they know it. It was still a really nice place to spend a few hours wandering though and it's good to have some more choice than just huge malls.

It took us about 40 minutes on the metro to get to this small 'traditional' area, which turned out to be about 4 streets and felt like it had been built yesterday. The buildings were built in a traditional style but it was no where near as nice as the French concession. We had a boat ride on the river than runs through Qibao which lasted about 20 mins although it did only cost 1. The only decent thing here was the food stall street. Again narrow streets and China don't mix and how people managed to stop still to order there food we don't know. There were lots of interesting foods to checkout and the one we noticed first (due to the most disgusting smell) was stinky tofu. Smells foul but seems very popular with the locals. On our way back we saw a couple of shocking scenes, firstly a man with 2 monkeys tied up performing a 'show' where he basically scared them into catching balls and pinching his hat. Secondly a very distressed man begging/praying with what looked like a dead woman lying next to him with a blanket over her. Pretty much everyone walked on by so were not exactly sure what was going on.

Shanghai Museum
If there is any tourist attraction worth visiting it seems to have a very high admission cost so when our hostel said a highlight close by was the Free Shanghai Museum we were unsure what to expect. We joined a very long queue and had to go through many security checks just incase we were carrying weapons of mass destruction, even Mark had to prove his water was genuine by drinking it. After this epic ordeal we were very surprised to see huge exhibits containing bronze, paintings, ceramics, pottery, calligraphy, coins and jade. We enjoyed taking photographs of the bronze statues and huge ceramic pots but the Chinese paintings for us looked like they had be create by a drunk Stevie Wonder.


Only spending 3 days here!!!! 
Shanghai seems to be a city which we could easily live in. Not as exciting or unique as HCMC but very livable.
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