Our last "full" day in China (Shanghai)
Trip Start Jun 09, 2013
15Trip End Jun 24, 2013
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Being the techno "geek" I am though I was determined not to let this slight stomach upset stop me riding on the Maglev bullet train, the fastest in the world.
First on the agenda this morning was a trip to see a silk making demonstration but as I knew this was going to be much like some of the others I've mentioned throughout this blog I decided to let Loraine and the rest of the group have a look whilst I stayed on the bus.
The bad news was that on another hot, humid day the bus driver dropped off the group at the door of the silk factory on a main road then proceeded to pull around the corner onto a side street, turn off the engine and together with it the air conditioning, damm it was hot on that bus
Fortunately it was only about 30-40 minutes before the driver got a call from Eddie to say that the group had seen and heard enough and were ready to leave.
After another short stop at an art museum where I spent an hour in the air conditioned comfort of their coffee shop it was off to see "The Bund" by day.
The first thing you notice and perhaps it's not easy to spot from the couple of pics I've posted is the huge amount of smog hanging over the city. Having seen this it then struck me why more of the Shanghai population weren't wearing those anti-polution face masks?
We also spotted "The Charging Bull" which is a younger and stronger version of a similar one found in New York City's and was comissioned in order to symbolise the energy of Shanghai's economy. The Bund Bull's male genitalia is rumored to produce good luck when stroked and of course one of the members of our group (Les) just couldn't resist the temptation to test this theory :)
Then it was time for lunch which I wasn't partivcularly bothered about but I thought Eddie's choice of location was unusual to say the least...
Yep, believe it or not Shanghai has a Chinatown area full of, yes you've guessed it Chinese people, funny or waht :)
Lunch was again OK although by now I was feeling a little better and had a serious craving for either KFC or MacDonalds.
We were gonna have some free time in Chinatown a little later and experience the hustle and bustle of the Sunday "Yuan Market" but first was a little tour around the 600 year old Yu garden's which were not really my thing although in one of the more quiet sections Eddie showed me his nuts, no not that sort! I meant the two walnuts he had been constantly "juggling" around in his hands all day. It turns out these are to aid circulation and the ones he had worked out at about £30 each purely because they were shaped like a chickens heart. I've uploaded a photo so you be the judge of that.
Finally it was time for the highlight of the day as far as I was concerned which was a ride on the fastest train on the planet!
The Shanghai MagLev (Magnetic Levitation) is the world's fastest train in regular commercial
service and has a top speed of this train is 431 km/h
(268 mph) which I managed to get a picture of.
The line runs from Pudong central station to Pudong International Airport which is a distance of 30km (18.6 mi) and the journey takes 7 minutes and 20 seconds to complete most of which I have on video and will upload at a later date
After all the ancient wonders we had seen on our tour of China it was a great to see the latest modern technology the country has and get to travel in this "Buck Rogers" type transport, and the fact that I had to wait all day to get this opportunity didn't detract from my enjoyment :)
On the way back to the hotel we made a brief stop at the French Quarter where we experienced the first shower of our entire holiday.
The Chinese people as I've said all along in this blog never miss a trick and today was no exception. It had only been raining less than 15 minutes when a man appeared from nowhere
Back to the hotel then to prepare for our final group meal where we had a little surprise prepared for our national guide Eddie. We had arranged a small money collection and presented it to him together with a card signed by all of us. One of our group Stephen said a few words then another (Martin) led the singing with "He's a jolly good fellow"
We hadn't seen Eddie lost for words very often during our tour if at all, but this was one occasion where he really didn't know what to say.
As it was our last night as a group we decided to extend the evening after dinner with a trip to the local 7-11, to grab a few beers after which we preceded to occupy the hotel lobby. At one point we thought the hotel security might "spoil the party" but fortunately they didn't and we all enjoyed each others company together over a few drinks for one last time.
Homeward bound tomorrow :(