Shanghai, the "Hijack City" and our first Chinese
Trip Start Mar 11, 2012
24Trip End Apr 02, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
One thing we have learned along this trip is that the countries we visit don't exactly operate "above board". They actually play around with the immigration and docking times like this morning. The ship docking got pushed back an hour and the disembarkment was slow because everyone had to go through a radioactive measuring device (looking for explosive materials) as well as past the food sniffing dogs. As usual, I got picked to have my bag sniffed. Once cleared, we were off to our bus (called a jing-a-ling) for our tour. Our guide Jack asked we not say "Hi Jack". He was pretty funny. He promised he won't let us eat crazy stuff like the Cantonese who he says everything with 4 legs except the table.
There are 23 million people in Shanghai!!! There are skyscrapers for as far as they eye can see. This is the biggest city in China
First stop - The Bund. This is the British quarter of Shanghai from when Britain ruled the world. The street is breathtaking and actually looks like the heart of downtown London England. The Yangtze river runs alongside of this area. We got out here for only about 15min but what a site. It was so clean. After this, it was off to the Yu Gardens. This is in Old Shanghai. Where the bus stopped, we had to walk about 10 min to the entry. It stopped at a corner where there were couples doing ballroom dancing in the park. Then we walked past a bamboo forest. All the trees are reinforced because it is a young forest and they get monsoons. The area of Old Shanghai is very busy and you have to push your way through the people to get anywhere - very different from home. I won't go into detail about the foods you can get on stick. The garden is about 500 yrs old and is absolutely beautiful. It was built by some guy named pan who built it for his parents who died before they could see it. The gardens have ponds and rocks and trees meandering amongst pavilions. When we stopped to look at the Koi pond, Bonnie almost experienced the pond 1st hand. People push through so abruptly, she got shoved and knocked off balance. If it wasn't for her fearless son Cam jumping to her rescue and grabbing her, she'd be doing the dog paddle with the fish and turtles
After the gardens, we went to a tea ceremony. We were shown 4 different tea servings and tried the teas. They were very good. Of course, you then buy some tea and we were off to the next adventure. Walking back to the bus we went through an area in old Shanghai that had Starbucks, DQ, Pizza Hut and KFC. We moved onto the French quarter of the City. This area was rundown and taken over by the government back in 1999. They bought out the old apartments from the occupants, paying them 20% over market value, and totally renovated the area into the hottest spot for night-life in the city. The area is awesome. Fantastic restaurants, shops and walkthroughs to enjoy just about everything in entertainment you can think of from movies to art to music. It is hard to remember that this country is communist when you see this capitalist type of area.
By this time, it was mid-day and we headed out of Shanghai to a 500 yr old village known as the Oriental Venice. It's called something like Zhujaijing which means 500 yrs ago some guy named Zhu had his family there. I wish I could make this part of the blog a "scratch and sniff" interactive book, because I have never smelled smells that rancid in my life. In fact, I've smelled dead bodies that were more pleasant than this. It seems the Chinese have a lacking in the area of personal hygiene and overall cleanliness when you get into these little villages
On the way back to the ship, we stopped at silk market - actually specializing in silk. They make everything there - including the silk
During the drive back to the ship, and we are all again mesmerized by the shear vastness of the city and the skyscrapers. Our guide told us there are over 3000 skyscrapers with more than 20 floors in Shanghai and that 1 skyscraper is completed every week. The skyscrapers are built at a rate of 1 floor a week so they are able to build lots very quickly.
Once back on board, we needed a beer and a 2nd lunch as well as lively debrief on the days events to cover all the crazy things we all saw. I will admit, some of these sites will not make the blog! After our snack, it was time to clean up and get ready for dinner! What a day. The weather was perfect and the sites were sure something to remember.