Monday, March 28, 2016

China/Korea 2009: day 1 (Shanghai)

Shanghai day 1: Monday, 9/28/09
Map of my Shanghai stops, this day in blue; here are the photos from today. Yellow highlights in the text correspond to flags on the map.

I flew into PVG, Pudong International Airport, from Seoul. I got in very late, around 11pm, so I had to take a bus then a cab to my hotel (trains and Metro were closed). I stayed at the Broadway Mansions Hotel based on location (Joe suggested I stay near the Bund area). Woke up at 11:30, after a nice long 9.5 hr rest, fully adjusted to Shanghai time. Left after a much-needed shower and walked around the neighborhood a bit. My hotel is at the end of Wusong Rd, on the other side of the river across the bridge from Zhongshan Rd which is what runs along the waterfront in the Bund area. Walked down Daming Rd to where they're building the Xinjian Rd Tunnel (Shanghai's motto: We're Under Construction for Expo 2010) under the river to Pudong. Came back along Dongchangzhi to the hotel and then down Zhongshan. Unfortunately the park is closed for renovation, though you can see the main part from the road. The park extends a long way down Zhongshan so all you see from the Bund area is giant walls blocking the renovation and construction equipment. Wandered all the way down to E. Yan'an Rd, looking at the all of the 75-100 year old buildings housing banks and high-end shopping, before turning around and coming back to E. Nanjing Rd. (In retrospect, I should have continued down Ya'an to the People's Park and then come back via Nanjing, instead of doing it the way I did.) The #2 Green metro line runs under this road. 

The first few blocks of Nanjing Rd are hotels and some shopping, but then it turns into something resembling an outdoor flea market/shopping center, with everything from KFC to Cartier. Toy stores, tobacconists, souvenirs, fast food, clothes, jewelry, etc. all over. Every 10 feet, it seems, someone came up to me asking if I wanted shoes, watches, jewelry, t-shirts, or lady massages. With all of the "lady massages" you'd think that half the population was a prostitute. And they're aggressive, too, they hardly take no for an answer. Just avoid them and keep walking away, eventually they'll give it up and go to the next person. Bought my lunch from street vendors, fried dumplings and chicken on a stick. The water isn't safe to drink, so there are lots of places who sell bottled water and sodas for 3-5 RMB (roughly 50-75 cents). I ended up drinking about 5 bottles of water over the course of the day, plus a couple bottles of soda and two Tiger Beers. Not sure why I was sweating so much, it was only in the upper 70s; maybe it was the humidity. Met three ex-pats (2 from South Africa, 1 from England) while having my beers, they were taking pictures of people taking pictures. I left them at 3:30 and they were still there three hours later when I came back. Kept going til the end of the shopping road at People's Square (Renmin Square), which has a number of nice hotels in the area (including the Radisson New World, where I was able to check my email but not Facebook or Twitter, which are blocked in China). 

Passed by the Shanghai Grand Theater and the Shanghai Museum (which is on Ya'an Rd, so I could have walked through the park and then headed back along Nanjing). Walked back to the river along Nanjing, passing the 3 ex-pats from earlier, still drinking beer. They recommended dinner at any of the restaurants a couple of subway stops down back towards Renmin Square, but I was not really hungry since I had been munching on street food all day all day. Walked back up to Nanjing Rd and back east towards the river, but the restaurants had either too much food (I wasn't that hungry) or it was too expensive (or I didn't like it), so I walked back down Nanjing and got some fast food. Back to Zhongshan (no wonder my feet hurt!) and then I took the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (at the corner of Nanjing and Zhongshan) under the river to Pudong. There's a trippy light and sound show was you move in the car, which brings you across in just a couple minutes. The tunnel exits at the Convention Center, and I happened to be there right near the river when fireworks went off and kept going off. Went to the river walk area and watched the last 5 minutes of the show, which was a rehearsal for the National Day festivities on 10/1 (this Thursday). Spent about an hour in Pudong, then came back across and walked back to the hotel about 11. They turn the lights on the buildings out on the Bund and Pudong at 10pm so I'll have to plan accordingly for pictures. 

I got blisters on my feet from all the walking I did on this day, Sept. 28th. (My feet didn't start to heal until I was in Korea on Oct. 12th, after several days of sitting on buses. Ouch! I went through a couple boxes of Band-aids.)

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