The Slow boat to Shanghai

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
`K & Sarah's

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Who would have ever told me that I’d willingly spend three days and two nights on a boat and actually love the experience.  The sea gods were definitely with us on this trip. For starters no one came into our four person cabin so we had it all to ourselves, and most importantly we had calm flat seas throughout. 
P and I were looking forward to spending two days laying about doing not much at all. By this point we’d been on the road for over 3 months, travelled through seven countries, changed homes a zillion times and walked a pedometers’ lifetime. We were exhausted!
The first day went by as planned and we read, watched movies and sat outside enjoying the views. By the second day small groups had formed and of course we attracted the rowdiest of the lot. It began innocently enough when Paul went out to sketch and I stayed in the cabin enjoying a few rare minutes of solitude. Thirty minutes later Paul stumbled into the cabin, half drunkenly telling me I had to come up. He’d made friends with these Japanese lot and they were all getting drunk. Pah, solitude can wait! Off I went to be merry! 
Alcohol and sign language can cross any language barriers and we had a great time drinking and ‘chatting’ to our new friends. We were given this drink called ‘sochu’ which looks and tastes like white spirit and is just as potent. We were soon joined by an American guy and an English guy who’d actually lived in Japan so now we had a translator!
With this kind of merriment the days flew by and we were soon sailing into Shanghai port which is dotted with all kinds of impressive buildings. We were excited about our next leg of the journey and couldn’t wait to explore the city.
Luck was in, Paul had an old friend who’d moved to Shanghai a few months earlier. Her and her boyfriend invited us to stay and we were so looking forward to spending a few days in a real home. Sarah and K our lovely hosts couldn’t have made us any more welcome. They’re two amazing people and we had such a brilliant time together. Their flat was absolutely gorgeous and we had our own room and bathroom, pure luxury!!! It was great to be in the company of two Londoners.  
I have known Sarah since I moved to London 11 years ago but I really got to know her whilst we crashed at her place. All I can say is Sarah and K are two very cool and wonderful people and we can’t wait to hook up again! Get down south to the sun! 
In a way we were very lucky to be staying at Sarah & K’s place as by day 3 of our Shanghai experience I hurt my neck and was house bound for 3 days! It meant that we did not see as much of the city as we would have wanted to but I think our bodies were craving a rest. So rest we did. Sarah & K made us feel so welcome that it was like we were living in our own place. We would cook and watch films most of the day. Ahh it was great. Thank you guys! 
What we did see of the city, impressed us. You can see that Shanghai is the jewel in the crown of Chinese cities. The skyscrapers are very imaginative and they are everywhere! There is this elevated road that split’s the city and when you are in a taxi it feels like a city that you see in Science Fiction films. The area that faces all the skyscrapers is called The Bund and it is one of the oldest parts of Shanghai. A lot of the buildings there have a very European style as Shanghai had changed hands with various European nations over the years. It was quite strange to be in China and see these buildings that you are more used to seeing in The City of London or Paris. I must say though that because of the history of the place the Shanghainese were the most relaxed people of any city we went to in China. I suppose it helps that there are many other nationalities living there too. 
The other area we really liked was The French Concession. As it sounds, it is the area where the French lived. It has lovely tree lined avenues and great restaurants on every corner. The most authentic area we went to was The Old Town. We really loved it there. It was all hustle and bustle and jam packed with locals, tourists and hawkers. Now the hawkers will not leave you alone. They try to sell you everything from fake rolex’s to excursion tickets. Fair enough as they are only trying to make a living but when you have them constantly coming up to you it becomes slightly tedious. So I invented a game. A very childish game I must admit but a fun one. When ever a hawker came up to us I would pretend I was saying no in my language. Most of the time it was gibberish but then it went on to rude Maltese words because of Karen. It is amazing what fun it is! Ha ha. You should try it!
So that is it about Shanghai really. It was more of resting place for us which is ironic in the most busiest of Chinese cities.
Our next stops are Gulin and Yangshou the two areas that we have been dreaming of ever since we entered China.
Ta ta for now!
Karen & Paul xxx 
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