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Shanghai

The mega city!

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The last hour of our 17 hour train ride from Xi'an to Shanghai I vacated my top bunk bed, in which I had slept quite well, apart from the air-conditioning giving me a sore throat, and sat down to view out of the window. It's difficult as a new person to Shanghai to say where exactly it starts, but for that hour high rise, new looking buildings, some finished and painted White or just metal and glass reflecting back the landscape was a continuous sight across the vista and their proximity to each other increased as we drew closer!

We had been informed by other travellers in china that Shanghai wasn't worth spending much time with. The place is very new and they are developing it at a blistering rate, throwing up skyscrapers over night. Much of that old china which we were able to experience in Beijing and Xi'an has gone, and if it hasn't yet I'm sure it's only a matter of time. Many if the poor living in the slums were moved out to make way. Maybe Shanghai is a microcosm of China itself, offering a view of what's to come in a nation that's developing quicker than it's feet can carry it, living for 'the now'! That aside we wanted to make our own assumptions and after all, for a vast amount of the trip already the aim of the game has been to explore the culture and amazing sights the various countries have had to offer, I was quite looking forward to this modern look China and one of the mega-cities of the modern world.

Our first day was used for relaxing after the long journey, just venturing out of the hostel to grab some noodles. The following day we woke up to heavy rain, however Shanghai is much hotter than the other cities we have been to already, so while trekking out to sort out our ticket to take us to Hong Kong we bought ourselves an Umbrella, looking for something plain wasn't really an option as they were all pretty colourful. So we all went for a different tartan number, I ran straight outside to do my singing in the rain impression drawing a few looks. That evening we went for a few drinks at the bar of the Hostel and played a bit of pool. After a while we struck up convocation with a guy who was from the U.K. who seemed ok. We had all exchanged the usual pleasantries, and after another beer or two we discover he wasn't a fellow traveller in the same sense, but in Shanghai for business. After a little more probing (if he reads this it'll appeal to his sense of humour) he disclosed that he was in Youth Advertising and wrote books on Street Culture. A lengthy convocation and a flick through one of his books which looked fascinating (he didn't pay me to say that) seemed to seal the deal and we all seemed to hit it off. 

Adam a.k.a King Adz, although he was kind enough not to insist on being addressed as King, or The King had been giving some recommended rearurants by someone who he was meeting in Shanghai for the work he's doing on his next book, as suggested we joined him. During the day the three of us headed out to see The Jing'an Temple, which bizarrely emerged as we rounded the corner like a dandy lion amongst the fence posts. Huge skyscrapers hung over it, but bizarrely these modern glass buildings which refelcted it made for a truely unique view. The temple was very much under regeneration, but it was interesting to look around and view the cities skyline that encroaches the temple from it's courtyard. We had a quick look around the shopping area which was a tad out of our league and headed for the people's square by this time sheltered under our tartan investments. 

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We met up with Adam and grabbed a beer in the bar before taking the instructions he was given and heading out to locate this restaurant, jumpin on the metro and heading to The Bund. The Bund has been home to foreign traders and major banks for many years, and is one of the fancier places in shanghai, many of the buildings have a western look to them. The restaurant was in a fancy hotel called The Hyatt and we instantly knew that it was out of our price range, Adam was maintaining though that it was the second best restaurant in china for Peking Duck, the other being in Beijing, the home of the dish, in it's sister Resturant. We ordered a whole duck to share, being warned it would take an hour to prepare, we also ordered a beef dish, some special noodles and some vegetables. The beef, unlike the other Chinese beef we had eaten tasted like diced steak and was tender and the vegetables which Adam said were cooked in liqueur tasted like spinish but was cooked to perfection and had a delicious crunch. The Duck arrived early, landing on out table after about 40 minutes. After watching it being carved in font of us with precision. We were advised to dip the skin which although oily, was crisp, in some brown sugar and pop it in your mouth, once doing so the saying 'melt in your mouth' adopted a whole new meaning! Adam, being well travelled himself via leisure, business and lifestyle, he appreciated that it wasn't somewhere we would have gone on our budget and very kindly picked up a vast amount of the bill which we were massively grateful for!

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The following day we decided to go to Shanghai Science Museum, as it was highly recommended on online reviews, it takes a few stops to get there, but it was very direct in the metro, just taking one line. There is far more there than to see in one day in all honesty. Again, in typical Chinese style some areas were under redevelopment so not open. We had arranged to meet Adam again in the evening to get some food, but somewhere a little more modest. We headed out to the bar street, where we planned to get some food and have a few beers. Not being spoilt for choice with the selection of resturants we chose luckily a very good one. We all ordered a dish, as well as some rice and noodles and shared it amongst us. The highlight of the meal for me was Adams choice of a spicy fish soup. The fish was delicious and the liquid contained nice vegetables like pok-choi, pea shoots, bamboo shoots, chillis and at the bottom of the bowl were Vermicelli noodles, I'm salivating writing about it! We went for a drink in the bar street then headed back to the Hostel bar.

Adam was doing some work with Converse and after talking to Smith had obviously realised his enthusiasm for skateboarding. He kindly got us tickets to go to a skate compotition being held at one of the largest outdoor parks in the world called SMP were we met Sebastian, a Swede who had been given the task of looking after Adam. He had been living in china on and off the the last three years. After the skate comp which was good, although very wet, we went to get some food at a restaurant out of town, which again was very nice.

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(King Adz)

The following day we said our goodbyes to Adam and Shanghai, and embarked on our 19 hour train ride to head to Hong Kong!

Posted by Christian25 01:59 Archived in China Tagged china_shanghai_travel_asia

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