Off to Shanghai!

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Where I stayed
Shanghai Celadon Theme Hotel
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
South Bund Soft Spinning Silk Market

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Note: Our trip to Shanghai and Nanjing was great and as such we have alot of Blogging to do. We will split the trip into a series of 5-6 entries depending on how much we end up typing so that you can read it at your leisure.

As we had mentioned in the last post this past week we have been on a brief summer vacation to Shanghai and Nanjing. It was a great trip and we have SO many photos to upload.

When we were packing on Monday night – because of course we left it to the last minute – we were quite a bit worried about how we would make it to the airport in the morning. Our tickets were for a flight out at 9am but we had been told to check in 2hours before hand and that to get to the airport would take us a good 30-40min taxi ride. All of this was of course assuming that we could in fact get a taxi because there were also reports of a MASSIVE storm due to hit Tianjin on Tuesday morning – see our previous post about the perils of hailing a cab in Tianjin when it's raining! So after a rather terrible night’s sleep we were up at 6am on Tuesday morning ready to do battle if we had to, to get ourselves out to the airport. As it turned out there had been no rain and even at 6.15am it took us all of 5min to hail a cab – thank god it didn’t rain!

So we got to the airport a solid 2.5hours early and managed to find all the places to go. At 9.30 we were finally off the ground and on our way.

It was cool flying down the country and being daylight we could see all the fields and rivers/canals that span the country side. Approaching Shanghai was amazing! There were just fields and fields of high rise apartment blocks as far as the eye can see! There is no other word to describe the city than MASSIVE!

We managed to navigate our way through the airport and subway to our hotel and were pleasantly surprised. As we had never stayed in a Chinese hotel before we didn’t know what to expect. The four nights cost us less than $160NZD so we pretty happy with what we got.  The room was very small, but had everything that we needed.  The people on reception all spoke some English which was great, and apart from the banging on the roof that woke us early each morning (we have no idea what it could have been!), we were pleased with our "cheap and cheerful" find.   The location of the hotel was ideal.  It was about a 200m walk from a metro station which we used to go everywhere.  The hotel was also very much embedded in a central area for the local community.  Right next door was a market street which sold all sorts of fresh food- check out the pics, there are more details with them- some things were rather “interesting”.  

We spent our first afternoon in Shanghai at the South Bund fabric market.  This place was amazing!  Hundreds of shops all selling silk or fabrics to tailor-make clothes for cheap prices.  Most places offered to make men’s suits, and we spent a good part of the afternoon looking at fabrics and seeing what type of prices we could bargain for a full suit.  For a good quality suit it worked out to be about $130 NZD.  Pretty good prices really! The shop people were mostly very nice, and dropped their prices before bargaining when they realised we spoke some Chinese- the lessons are paying off! After this was the cat and mouse game of negotiating a price.  Evan loved this part, and I think that if we were to get a suit, it would have been at a very good price.  Deciding against the suit, Evan had a look at some silk ties while I looked at scarfs.  The lady in the shop was asking for 120 kuai for two ties.  Evan negotiated a bit more with her but then decided he didn’t want them, especially for the price that she was offering.  Saying “bu yao” [boo yaow] (don’t want) and walking out of the shop did not deter this lady- she yelled lower and lower prices at us as we walked away, before asking how much Evan wanted to pay.  He said the 30 kuai thinking that she would never accept it and thus leave us alone, however she did.   The difference between their opening price and what you can get it for are astounding.  Evan kind of had to buy the ties. 

After the fabric markets we thought we would go and see the river and find a place for dinner.  We walked for ever until we found a nice little bar area called the “cool docks”.   Unfortunately this was quite a distance from the nearest metro station so we had a bit of a walk back, through a poorer part of town.  It was eye opening to see how some people live, especially when contrasted to the rich sky-scraper apartments that were just around the corner.  Once home we turned on our TV (a luxury since we don’t use one in Tianjin) to watch the Olympics and relax for the evening.
What a great first day!
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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