Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Where I stayed
City Centre International Hostel

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Friday, August 5, 2011

Arrived in Shanghai after what seemed like an eternity of action films on the small screen. Kate in comparison must have worked her way through the catalogue of cartoons that BA could offer. At the airport, we stepped off into a beautifully air conditioned (or so it seemed at first) airport. Then we had the choice - were we chinese nationals or 'Foreigners'. Seemed a litte harsh. I wanted an aisle for English! Anyways, though the quick immigration and onto Shanghai. As we walked betwen the terminal and the metro though, it started to get warm, and I mean warm. I was swealtering. Even though we walked slow, the heat tended to create more stress as sweat became the norm. We managed to work out the metro system quickly and ignored the 'maglev' as the metro was so much cheaper (2 pound for both of us for a 30 mile trip). It was air-conditioned - thank god. The metro was pleasant enough but we nearly ended up going back to the airport as the train pulled into some kind of interchange and most people (except the 'foreigners') ran onto the other platform. When we realised why, we quickly followed suit. The next train was a more amusing affair with an older chinese gentlemen introducing himself and his audiobook (which sounded like Jane Austen or something similar) and explaining how this was how he was learning 'american'. I briefly explained that he was listening to english, and he seemed happy enough (I could tell this, as he kept telling us that us understanding him 'made him happy'.)
A little confusion when we turned left instead of right at the metro station on exit led us onto the death interchange, which Kate mastered quickly. Essentially, wait for the sign to go green, then walk across as fast as possible, head down (as if you look up you will quickly notice, that most of the motor vehicles still seem to be moving). Beeping of horns quickly ensues, but you get to where you want. At this point I did notice a motorcyclist with two propane bottles between his legs which seemed odd considering the number of motor accidents which must occur, but who am I to judge.
A little hot and bothered, I notice we have taken a wrong turn.

We turn back and looked at our poor instructions, but managed to work out by the powers of deduction (dear watson) that we should have gone right at the metro. This led us quickly to another death intersection which was crossed quickly.

First impressions of the hostel from the outside 'oh, dear god- what have we done to deserve this?!, We are dripping with sweat and just want somewhere nice to sleep to recover' My fears were allayed when a dwarf doorman let us in and we gratefully were led inside. Everybody helpful, checked in within minutes - we threw our stuff down in the soon to be air-conditioned room and grabbed a few hours sleep.

I got up and had a quick wander finding a nice little bar downstairs and a little restaurant with some helpful young bar staff. We didnt want to entirely waste the first day though, so we went for a short walk along Wuning Road in the locality over a bridge where we along the way found a KFC, a McDonalds and a Carrefour. What a surprise. The big problem however, which may seem obvious - is that everything is in chinese. Even McDonalds - the shame.

Carrefour was easy to navigate, and we found how the hostel is probably making some of its money, buying coke for 20p and selling it for 60p (6Yen), but I'll let them have that as the beer was only 80p for a large bottle in their bar. We bought some snacks and some 'non-hazardous' apples (this was their name) and then headed out being looked at by no fewer than everybody.

It got dark quick, we walked back along the road (no problems with hawkers or anything, all very friendly) and got into the hotel to have some dinner ( it was a burger and chips, but it was still day 1) and then watched a version of hangover 2 with some terrible english subtitles which kept referring to 'Stu' as 'Sidu'.

Off to bed..and a good first day in China.
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Rich T on

Why Martin, does your blog consist of mainly food and drink related stories? Oh yes I remember now. You a a mobile refuse disposal unit!!!! Glad to hear the 1st stage of the journey went well and I hope you enjoy China and all the fantastic local cuisine on offer (McDonalds, KFC and burger and chips!) Brits abroad!

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