(This post has been sitting staged on my blog – too busy relaxing to push publish 😉 )
I admit, I was a bit worried if I would be able to manage getting around in Shanghai without my local “tour guides”. After all, my Chinese does not go beyond “Hello”. But Shanghai public transport is easy. Everything is also labeled in English, maps everywhere, and once you learn to move with the flow of people it is fairly stress free. Payment is done with a pre-loaded card – thus also no issue with getting tickets – easy!
And I chose the perfect day. Even the paper said so the next day:
My first stop was Yuan Garden. Once I fended of the scammers that acted like fellow tourists and tried to tell me the place was closed (my cousin had warned me of this …) … I made it through the shopping mall with to the entrance of the garden. Getting there early enough was good – it was quiet for most of the time I was there. I took A LOT of pictures, some of them below.
Most fascinating was the contrast between old and new. Beautiful old buildings and gardens and just above them, shiny new skyscrapers.
After the culture portion of the day, I went up on one of the skyscrapers to see the city from above: Oriental Perl Tower. An “interesting” piece of architecture with a lot of pink … Judging from the queueing facilities, it is a lot busier usually. For the few people in line I was clearly the main attraction. I was very politely asked to pose with them for pictures. Which I did.
Once up on the tower, I learned that I could not make myself stand on the glass floor at all. 250 something stories above ground – by survival instincts denied me this photo opp.
Time for some shopping: I went down the main shopping road: Nanjing. In one of the department stores, the sales assistants seemed to have to wear the latest sales items. Winter coats were on sale … I felt for them in the overheated building. And am wondering if they also have to present swimwear when it is on sale …
Also stopped in a multi level store for food – both local and international specialties. Dried crab snack for the road anyone?
There were a number of restaurants at the top floor and I went for some Indian curry. Felt like being back in East Germany, I have to admit, when in the totally empty restaurant I asked to sit by the window, but was simply told “No” and appointed a table by the entrance. Guess they wanted people to see they had customers … even though this one was not very happy now.
Next on my agenda was people square. Big, impressive buildings … and a Starbucks. They are literally at every corner in Shanghai. Along with KFC – I have never seen so many KFC outlets anywhere. I actually started to take pictures of them 😉
I admit I did take a break at Starbucks. Sometimes the known and used to is relaxing. Then I did the math … a medium Starbucks coffee costs as much as about 10 subway rides in Shanghai or one entry to the Yuan Garden or in fact one curry lunch. In summary. I should not have been sitting at Starbucks as People Square taking these notes …
The next day, the weather was not as nice … I took a walk in the area cold French Connection, with lots of old colonial villas and now a lot of design shops. Had lunch in the hip new part of town … I actually had pizza ;). Then headed north for a walk along the water and the Bund.
Behind the main Bund is the “Rockefeller Bund” – named for the Rockerfeller Foundation that is funding the remodelling,
When the rain set in, I had tea at the famous Peace hotel.
That evening we had my farewell dinner at a very hip restaurant – so hip, it did not allow pictures. Even though I would have loved one of the huge geisha paintings – geishas with Mickey Mouse ears!