Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Spectacular Shanghai!

Holidays are funny, don't you think? You look forward so much, anticipate so much, imagine so much,  that when they are actually happening, they seem to go too fast! Here we were, heading into the "China" leg of our trip already. Another sea day of kids club, reading, port lectures, movies in the room and up on deck and before you knew it, we were in the shipping traffic separation scheme of the Yanghtze River, heading towards Shanghai, the busiest container port in the world.

(Grab a cuppa or a glass of something, it was another long day, so it's going to be a long post!)

The water was a yucky brown, so we knew we weren't in the ocean anymore!

The weather was definitely cooling down - around 8C in the morning, warming up to 13C in the day, so not freezing, but not warm either (it was 34C in Darwin!). Another day, another shuttle bus ride into the city and another currency ($1 AUD = 6.35 Chinese Yuan). Arriving in Shanghai means we are finally into China-proper and won't leave again until we fly home. Hong Kong and Taiwan were "special administrative regions" of China and we didn't require visas for them and they have their own currency.

The iconic Shanghai! The biggest city in China (23 million people and growing by 1 million each year!!! That's more than the WHOLE of Australia!!!). It is China's shiny, pretty city, with the British influence of the opium wars and more recent economic reforms. It is a mixing pot of old and new, Eastern and Western.

Our shuttle bus dropped us off at the Monument to the People's Heroes at Huangpu Park - it was built in the 1990s to commemorate revolutionary martyrs. It is quite the spectacular meeting place!

Meant to resemble 3 rifles

It is situated at one end of the Bund, which is a huge, long concrete walkway/flood control which follows the arc of the Huangpu River. It overlooks the financial Pudong District, with its distinctive skyscrapers (which I took many, many photos!) and also has colonial buildings lining the roadway. All very spectacular.

The Bund

A popular wedding-photo venue

Even with the many tankers that cruise past!

One of the things you have to do, is get to the other side of the river, over to the Pudong side. You can drive (boring), or you can go via the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. About $9 of the best tourist kitsch you can buy!

Loved the "Chinglish"!!

It is one of the trippiest things I have ever done!!!

This is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower - it used to be the tallest building in China,
...the Shangahai World Financial Centre (the bottle-opener) over took it.
Next to it is  Jin Mao Tower and  the under-construction Shanghai Tower,
which for a brief moment will be China's tallest structure.
After Taipei 101 fun and games, we decided not to go up any more tall buildings. I was a bit disappointed not to go to the WFC gift shop and get a bottle-opener bottle-opener, but them's the breaks.

Much like Hong Kong, this area had elevated walkways, including the Lujiazui Circular Pedestrian Walkway, allowing great viewing of the skyline without being squashed by the traffic (just the crowds, which were getting good at negotiating!).

You get a better idea from this photo

Lots of visible policing!

Great topiary at road-level!
We wandered down to the Greenbelt area, where over 3500 households were relocated to make way for 65,000 square metres of lawn and ponds. I'm glad it's not all high-rises and it was a lovely spot to catch our breath and figure out what to do next, but I'm not sure about all those people and where they went to...

We had lunch in a little "cafe" near there and I was ready to snap the menu and food for your viewing pleasure, but the waitress ran over yelling "no photo!", so alas, it's like we never ate there....

We caught the Sightseeing Tunnel back to the Shanghai side and walked (some more) down through Gucheng Park.

This photo booth was also a Love Station (goodness knows why!)

View down the bund

Gucheng Park looking back towards Pudong.

As we emerged from the park and the preceding high-rise business district, BAM! We were in "Old City of Shanghai" (I really like it when my map-reading skills lead us to where we want to go). This old, walled city area is jam-packed with all sorts of shops - silks, handicrafts, tourist junk etc and street food. It was fascinating to wander around:

Calligrapher and seal maker

This guy paints these using only his little finger! I bought a couple :-)

There were also brightly lit, loud pumping music stores of toys

Chicks (as in baby chickens) on a stick. Anyone?

We stumbled (more by accident than on purpose) across the City God Temple, which is a Taoist Temple, completely restored and with resident priests.

There were a lot of hawkers in this popular tourist area, for tea houses and just selling junk. I adopted the "no eye contact" form of self-defence, only to find Hubby and Panda Girl fully engaged in purchasing "magic rings" and gaining the attentions of all the other hawkers within a block radius who had obviously marked us as easy targets!

We walked (some more) around and found an entrance to the famous Yuyuan Gardens, which was originally constructed in the late 1500s! A mere 5 acres, they manage to squish in an amazing amount of "zen" and if you can avoid getting photo-bombed by the tour groups, you could imagine really being in ancient China...

Dianchun Hall with Shanghai Tower in the background

Jade Rock - rumour has it that it was intended for the Imperial Palace, but was salvaged after a boat sank in Shanghai! Score!

OMG! How gorgeous are Chinese kids? I wanted to steal these ones!!!

The famous (-ly crowded) Nine Turn Bridge over the Mid Lake Pavillion

Fish feeding!

This teahouse is famous for its steamed dumplings - look at the queue of people!
The street-food ones we tried were every bit as yummy, I'm sure!

The Mid-Pavillion Teahouse is the oldest teahouse
 in Shanghai (built in 1784), but the queues were  Disneyland-long!

We ventured into this "lolly" shop full of all sorts of snacky-things.
It was pretty bizzare but we came away with a well-haggled
 kilo or so of sesame snacks for about a dollar!

We were just wandering about when a "volunteer", who I have to admit, seemed reasonably genuine and seriously not pushy asked if we wanted to see a view. We shrugged and thought "why not?". We were pretty glad we did:

View of Old Shanghai, Yuyuan Gardens and the modern city of Shanghai

Out the back there are some remnant "hutongs" where the genuine old Shanghai-ese live, which haven't yet been bulldozed to make way for bigger, better development. I wonder if they will stay there for long.

It was a teahouse (surprise!) and we were under no pressure to partake, but to be honest, it looked so lovely in the afternoon sunlight, we figured it might be a good experience. And it was.

Romeo and Juliet - two types of jasmine tea, that open up as flowers in hot water...

Panda Girl sampling Oolong tea

Colour changing cup

Video Boy doesn't much like tea, but he was a good sport and played along!

My favourite one was a herbal tea that helped fix sinuses (it didn't, I was still sick).

It was pretty enjoyable and we bought a cup and saucer as a souvenir. It was getting later in the afternoon, so we walked (a lot more) down through the back streets of Shanghai over to its famous Nanjing East Road pedestrian shopping mall - the world's longest (6km) and one of the busiest.

Giving homage to the Apple gods

We didn't buy anything, but I was loving walking through and soaking up the atmosphere of being in the commercial centre of one of the world's biggest cities. It was amazing! I was getting tired (being sick and all), but as I glanced over to my boy, big tears were pouring down Video Boy's face! He was soooo tired and sick of all the walking, walking. The agony and ecstasy of travel! (you will note that sometimes, just sometimes, the good mum overpowers the blogger-mum and I didn't take a photo of my crying boy!).

He cheered up a little as we went browsing in a huge Sony store - yanno, just for fun!

He soooo wanted this 3D virtual reality headset. Only about $1000,
so unless he had a secret stash of pocket-money somewhere, um, no!
We didn't have to be back on the ship until about 9pm. I was keen to stay out and eat dinner in Shanghai - I was loving it! But the kids were dog-tired, so we walked (some more) back down to the Bund, where the twilight was spectacular.

Panda Girl was a huge hit with the Chinese tourists! She is in so many of their photos. These people were from Guandong. I personally think they like the hats. 

Yep, definitely the hats.
It was a long day, with lots of walking, but I loved Shanghai! It had such a great vibe to it and I loved just being immersed in it. We'll be back for sure!


  1. Wow, Ingi! I just caught up on your last several posts. What a stunning trip for your whole family to experience together. Thank you for the elaborate photo tour. I loved it!

    1. It is a bit photo-intense, but such lovely pics! And I'm enjoying looking back on what was a pretty great experience!


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