Date: Wednesday July 22, 2009
Travel: Taxi; Plane: Beijing to Shanghai Hongqiao; Subway
Lodging: Shanghai Hidden Garden Youth Hostel
After staring at the mosquito splats in the dorm in Beijing and the enormous bump on my forehead, I decided that I probably should not rough it any further, and just take the flight to Shanghai and not a sleeper train. I would be alone for a few days and there is no need to get myself sick or something. The only problem with this is that the flight would get me in sometime mid morning, which would be past the time of the solar eclipse of 2009, in which Shanghai would experience totality.
The other odd thing about leaving that morning is that some Government workers came by the dorm looking for me, so that I could have my medical check up. I didn't think that it really mattered what address I put in my immigration card, but apparently they were even able to read my hand writing. I wonder if my name will be on a black list now since I was absent in Beijing. Facebook was blocked, skype would not work for some reason, and now they were tracking me down. Now I feel more blessed with where I do live, near the border of Mexico.
As the the plane landed in Shanghai, while we were still on the runway, people in the seats behind starting walking towards the front. The flight attendants were in a craze to get the folks to sit back down. As the plane stopped, people started rushing and shoving their way to the front. My goodness.....I just couldn't understand it, and felt like there was no sort of order or class here. 1 would think that there is some sort of airline etiquette or something, but that just doesn't exist here.
I reached my hostel which did not have the best curb appeal, but with only a slight difference in cost, it was so much better than my dorm room in Beijing. It was clean and was quite modern. I called up a fellow coworker of mine, Deeporn, who was temporarily working in China the past 2 years with her husband. She gave me some suggestions on places to visit, as well as an invitation that evening.
At noon, I headed out to Yu Yuan bazaar and garden. I suppose it was a nicer traditional view of Shanghai. I noticed there was a long line for some food, and I just stood in it assuming it had to be for something good. It was the well known Xiao Long Bao (or as I like to think of it as Shaolin Bao). It was juicy, but I thought the meat could have been spiced up a bit.
As I made my way around the city and into People's Square, you can't help but notice how modern Shanghai is becoming with couple of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, modern architecture, and mass transit. There are 3 tall observation towers in Pudong, the Oriental Pearl TV tower, World Financial Tower, and Jin Mao towers. I decided on the World Financial tower, as it has the highest observation deck in the world. However, getting to it on foot while the rain was coming down turned out to be an obstacle. Shanghai was undergoing under a lot of construction, in preparation for the World Expo 2010, and it was not easy to get to the tower. You would think, just go toward the tallest building, but it was not the case. There were signs everywhere telling me to go in the opposite directions. Anyways, I eventually found my way there. Entering the tower and the observation deck area, I felt like I was in geek heaven. There was all sorts of eye candy, with LED's, and lights, and all the workers guiding you around were very beautiful women. Going up the escalators and elevators, I already felt like in a whole new world. The deck offered a great view of Shanghai.
Already being late from looking for the tower, I finally meet up with Deeporn to have dinner at a nice cantonese restaurant, which is a nice change up from the mandarin stuff. Deeporn then invited me over to her condo, as well as invited me to spend the night as she had plenty of spare rooms. The condo was in an excellent location in Pudong along the river, and was the top floor. It was an amazing experience, and it felt so luxurious. The living area was large, but the best part, was the living room, where the entire wall was a window offering a magnificent view of the Bund, and the Huangpu river. I had wished I actually stayed there, because I could just sit at that window sill all night. You can see all the boats, ships, cruises sail down 1 direction of the river. I was entertained all night with stories about China, and I was glad I made the most of my 1 day in Shanghai.