Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, October 2, 2005

Today we planned to explore a few streets on the west side of the city, specifically the French Concession. Dave's brother had recommended that we visit Maoming Lu so we got the train there. What a disappointment.

It was supposed to be a great street with bars and shops but all of them seemed to be closed and didn't look particularly appealing anyway. It was also raining to add insult to injury so we walked quickly in the direction of Xintiandi, a relatively new area in Shanghai.

A couple of friends, Tim and Sarah, had left us a message in the guestbook at a place called the Open House so naturally we headed to find it. The Open House was pretty interesting and gave a good insight into what the Shinkumen houses must have been like to live in. It also had a lot of information on how Xintiandi had been transformed over the last couple of year. It used to be a crumbling section of 1930's houses but instead of knocking them down they strengthened them, at great expense using original materials where available. It is now a modern shopping precinct and works very well. Anyways after looking around the building there was no guestbook so the treasure hunt ended there.

Thinking what else we could do we saw there was a museum pretty close so decided it was worth a while. We got there just a hour before closing so had to quickly race around to see all the exhibits. The Louis XIV exhibit was pretty interesting but all the captions on the wall were in French and Chinese. My Chinese is non-existant and my French equally as bad but I was able to get the gist of what it was all about. The other exhibits were all about Chinese history and not really that interesting.

I was starting to feel pretty bad so we went back to the hostel before going in search of the nearby Internet cafe. Eventually found it but it proved to be the most frustrating hour of my life. Experiencing the great firewall of China for the first time and getting incredibly pissed off that pretty much all the English sites were blocked in China. Thankfully my travel diary worked but that was little consolation when I wanted to check the BBC website to see whats been going on in the world. Still felt bad so went back to the hostel for an early night.
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