Monday, December 04, 2006

Day 3 & 4 - Shanghai



Day 3

From Macau, we took a 1-hour ferry ride to Hong Kong. Several transfers on the very modern and convenient MTR later, we collected our train tickets to Shanghai at the Hung Hom train station. From there, we met Jao and Sym. We boarded the train quite early, so we had a lot of time taking our pictures, unpacking our stuff, checking out the toilets and the other types of sleepers(we got soft-sleeper berths) and all in all we were very happy with the K100 train. With so much free time in our hands, we spent the next 24 hours reading up on Shanghai, practicing our Mandarin on each other and on the train staff and the next thing we knew, we were finally in Shanghai! We headed straight to the ticket counter to buy our tickets to Xi'an and then we decided to just take a taxi to our hostel, but getting one was a lot harder than we expected. We found a few taxis alright but some of them just wanted to bring us to some hotels they know and some don't want to use their meters(the bastards). So to be on the safe side, we just took the metro which is just outside the train station. We found our hostel(Captain Hostel) after a few wrong turns, and after checking in to our room and saying hi to our new roommates, we climbed the roofdeck of the hostel. The view of the Pudong was amazing!

After an excellent but cheap dinner(xiaolongbao!) at a restaurant near the Captain Hostel, we walked to see the Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar. We found the memory cards there very cheap so Raycee, Sym and I each bought a 2G card for our cameras. (We found out much later in the trip that these cards were probably fake, Raycee's card keeps displaying corrupted images and Sym's card reader back home could not even read her SD card, mine was ok though..)

We then checked out the Bund - it was more beautiful than I expected especially at night, the buildings were these old colonial ones and you get a big sweeping view of the Pudong on the waterfront while old boats glide by. From the Bund, we strolled down to Nanjing Donglu - a famous shopping street but we found most of the stores were already closed. It was a very chilly night so we stayed in the nearby Mcdonalds for a coffee before calling it a night.

Day 4

After a hot shower and checking out of our room, we deposited our bags and went on our way to Yuyuan Gardens, we couldn't find this garden the night before so we had to come back today. Yuyuan Gardens is famous for its zigzag bridge - the reason for the irregular shape is to prevent evil spririts from crossing it, the chinese believe the spirits can only travel on straight lines. The bridge was more stunning in the pictures though, I guess a view from top is much better. There is a garden near the bridge where you had to pay 40 yuan to enter, and since its there, we might as well check it out. It was pretty what with the ponds and trees but maybe a bit slippery because Raycee lost his footing and almost broke his neck and gave us quite a scare, good thing he only got a few scrapes and bruises.

When we got tired of the gardens, we had a quick brunch(xiaolongbao again!) and then headed straight to the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel(40 yuan each). This train leads to Pudong, the trip lasted for a few minutes but it was such a cheesy ride, we couldn't wait to get out(and to think we bought a round-trip ticket). In Pudong, we saw up close and personal the pink Oriental Pearl Tower and Jinmao Tower but we decided to go back to the more interesting Bund because Pudong was quite boring. We strolled along the Bund, checking out some buildings, and we stayed for some time in a cafe in the old HSBC building(No. 12). I love their pizza :)

We claimed our bags in the hostel after a while and took a cab to Shanghai South Station where we will take the train to Xitang - our next stop.

More pictures here.

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