Friday, April 23, 2010

Shanghai - Stranded

Jenni and I had 4 days to see Shanghai, China's second biggest city. Shanghai doesn't seem to have as many historical sights to see as Beijing, but is much more modern and cleaner in comparison.

We haven't been blogging as much in Shanghai as other cities that we have visited mainly due to the fact that the internet at our hostel is really slow and constantly disconnects, making using the internet very frustrating.

According to the the China Lonely Plant that we purchased in our hostel in Beijing, a couple of the best things to do in Shanghai are to visit the French Concession district as well as 'The Bund', Shanghai's city riverside walk. 

On a side point, there are two interesting facts about the China Lonely Plant I would like to mention.
1) The version of the book that we purchased here is a pirated version. Not only can you buy fake clothes and pirated DVDs here, you can even buy pirated books. Who would have thought!
2) We have heard that the China Lonely Planet book is banned here because it doesn't recognize Taiwan as part of China. That is why we were not able to locate a China version of the Lonely Planet in any of the travel sections of any book stores, even though they stocked a Lonely Planet for every other country.

We visited the Bund on Sunday evening, shortly after we arrived in Shanghai. The guide book mentioned that it is extremely busy on the weekend and it wasn't wrong. Thousands of people lined the riverside to get photos of the neon light covered cruise boats gliding down the river. The building's on the opposite side of the river to the Bund look like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, with big domes sticking out of them and lights glittering all over. We had dinner at a fancy pants restaurant (fancy pants for China; it cost us about $30 all up...) that overlooked the river. There we had a rather peculiar dish; 'Frisky Rice', which was basically rice bubbles / crispies with spices over them, roasted with crab meat throughout.

We finished our dinner and started to head back down the Bund to the nearest subway station so we could catch the subway back to the hostel. Upon arriving at the station at about 10:30pm, we noticed that some people were a bit more pushy than normal to get to the train platforms. We just passed it off as the usual 'me, me, me' attitude that most Chinese people seem to have over here. However, after one train trip to our connecting station where we needed to transfer onto the line to get to our final stop, we figured out what all of the commotion was about; the last trains were leaving and we weren't on ours!

After our realization, we found ourselves stranded at a random station. After a quick look at the subway map that closely resembled a plate of spaghetti, we quickly jumped on a train that was going on a different line that had a station kind of close to the station that we actually wanted to get to. Upon arrival at this station, we found ourselves stranded with about 100 other people, all trying to flag down taxis. Sure enough, although there were taxis left, right and centre, all of them were already occupied because every man and his dog were left in the same situation that we were in; stranded.

We busted out the map of Shanghai that we purchased earlier that day and managed to locate ourselves on the map and tried to determine the best route for us to get to our hostel. The map we were using didn't have a scale on it, but judging by how many blocks and train stations that were between us and our hostel, it looked manageable to walk. We figured that it would be safe enough to walk due to the sheer amount of people also walking around stranded like ourselves. After about 45mins of walking, we finally reached our hostel.

We are planning to take a day trip out of Shanghai to a small town called Tongli in the next couple of days. It involves a 45 minute train trip to a small town out of Shanghai and then another 1 hour bus trip from that town to Tongli. We hope that we don't miss the last trains and buses trying to get home from there, because if we do, it will be a VERY long walk back to our hostel!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jennifer,
    I have been reading your Blog and am very pleased to know that you are having such a marvellous time. Keep us posted.
    Auntie Ethel