Monday, March 28, 2016

China/Korea 2009: day 3 (Shanghai)

Shanghai day 3: Wednesday 9/30/09
Map of my Shanghai stops, this day in yellow; here are the photos from today. Yellow highlights in the text correspond to flags on the map.

Got up and saw that it was raining, so I brought my waterproof windbreaker, but it wasn't really good enough so I bought an umbrella for 15 RMB (it was worth what I paid for it) and took a cab to the Yuyuan Gardens & Bazaar. The gardens were as lovely as the bazaar was tacky. The gardens had lakes, a huge variety of trees, fish, and flowers in addition to pagodas. I'm sure it's much better when it's not raining. The bazaar is in the "ye olde China" style with everything you can imagine for sale, cheap. I'm convinced that the world's surplus of Mont Blanc pens, Rolex watches, and Louis Vuitton handbags are being dumped cheap here in Shanghai for the tourists. I spent a couple hours wandering around, visiting food stalls, taking pictures. Had lunch at the famous Nanxiang Dumpling Restaurant inside the Gardens. 

I was going to go to a recommended place I found in the guidebook for lunch that also had an internet cafĂ©, but when I got there I found that the restaurant was no longer there. Fortunately it was in the Times Square area, so walking a couple blocks led me to a computer store (where I was able to check my email) and the main street – when I realized I was only a couple blocks from the Renmin Square area anyway. After waiting for a cab and not being successful at picking one up, I walked up to the Square area and was going to wait for a cab to take me to the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (50 RMB round trip), and go see Pudong; however, I ran into the Metro stop first, where I changed my mind and decided to go straight to Pudong. Took a little bit to figure how the system works: you buy a ticket for how far you want to go (3-7 RMB), then validate the ticket and get on the train. I only paid 3 RMB to go to the Liujian station but figured why not head all the way down to Longyang and ride the Maglev round trip (I took the 8 to the 9 to the 2 and rode 2 to the end). When I got off the train, I ran the ticket through the scanner and it said I owed 1 RMB before I could leave. Bought the Maglev round trip to Pudong Airport for 80 RMB and got on the last train that goes 430 km/hr (265 mph); on the return trip, it maxed out at 300 km/hr (185 mph). Most surprising thing: the airport snack shop doesn't price gouge, the cost of a bottle of water there was the same as back in town. 

Got on the train back to Lujian at dusk and went up to the 88th floor observation deck of the Jinmao Tower. I lucked out and had some clear weather to take some city view pictures in a 360 degree panorama before the clouds started coming in and out. Chose to go up in the Jinmao Tower with its pagoda-influenced shape over the Oriental Pearl Tower because it was less than half price, plus you can see the TV tower from the observation deck (better view). By the time I got down, the last river tour had left, so I missed out on that one. Got back just before 11 via Metro to People's Square and taxi to the hotel, and missed being able to take pictures of the Pudong skyline by a few minutes. Time to pack, review Beijing activities, and sleep. The bell man said I should leave around 6 for my 9am flight; it can normally take up to an hour, but with the National Day activities tomorrow, who knows what it will be like? I hope I'll even be able to leave at 9.

CNN says tonight that Beijing is virtually shut down for the National Day celebration tomorrow. Lovely. They said the fireworks are expected to rival those for the 2008 Olympics. I'm close enough to Tianenmen Square and the Forbidden City that I should have a good view.

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