Sunday, 2 December 2007

Shanghai Photos

I didn't realise quite how many photos I took whilst I was in Shanghai - there's loads!

I've added them all online and added the links to the right hand side.

I think this will be my last post on this blog - I've had an amazing time, it's been a great experience and met some really fantastic people along the way. I just need to start planning my next trip now ;-)

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Back home..

I'm back home now after an extremely long day! I flew from Shanghai to Beijing, had to wait 8hrs for my next flight in Beijing airport and then went from Beijing to Newcastle connecting in Dubai - I feel like I could sleep for a week...

When I get chance I'll add all the photos on here from Shanghai. I'm back at work tomorrow, over in Padiham so I have an early start so best get an early night!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Why it pays to be friendly with a beautiful woman... ;-)

I'll start off telling you all what I did yesterday before explaining the title of my post. ;-)

Yesterday I had a pretty quiet day, I went on the Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) train that connects Shanghai centre wit Pudong airport - the train is super fast and reaches speeds of 340km/hr - which in English is 211 miles an hour! It does the 18.64 miles in less than 8 minutes.

Other than that I didn't do a great deal - I did a little bit of shopping and then came back to the hostel and sat in the bar in the evening. I was sat drinking and watching the film they had put up on the projector and an american woman came and sat with me and we got chatting - she was a teacher in america, in her early 30's and extremely good looking.

Why it pays to be friendly? Well, the bar manager obviously fancied her - and as I'd been sat talking to her for an hour and a bit whenever she got free drinks so did I.. :-)

I've just checked in online for my flights home and I'm about to get a taxi to the airport. I'll see you all when I get home!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Pandas (and a few other animals..)

I was even braver today and attempted the bus - the hardest thing is that all the timetables are written in Chinese so not only do you not know which stop to wait at, you don't know what time the bus is coming, or whether or not it is even heading in the right direction! Luckily one of the members of staff here at the youth hostel was really helpful - she marked on my map which bus stop I needed to go to, which bus I needed at catch and from there it was pretty easy (I only got on one wrong bus - theres not much difference between 925 and 925b!) :-).

I caught the bus to the zoo - it would have been a shame not to see the Pandas one last time before I went so that was this mornings trip. The zoo is just outside the main city centre and has all the usual animals a zoo has - when I get home I'll put the photos up online.

This afternoon I went to Jingan temple and had a wander around some shops. Tonight I walked down the riverside to Yuyuan garden and then took a cruise along the river to see the city at night.

I have absolutely no idea what to do tomorrow - I've now been to all the places on the list I wrote out before I came here. I'll probably just have a quiet day and relax before the epic 30-odd hour trip back on Saturday.

I'm looking forward to seeing you all and getting home now. :-)

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Water Villages and Chinese Acrobats

I set off early this morning hen my guide came to pick me up - luckily the tour group was pretty small - only 7 including me - all American except one German guy. We drove the one and a half hours to Suzhou and had a look around some of the gardens there - we had a quick trip around a silk factory, found out how silk is harvested and then made into garments, quilts, ties etc and then we had lunch.

This afternoon we went to Zhouzhuang and wandered around the small alleyways and had a trip on a Chinese style gondola around the water streets. It was really picturesque and a great break from the city.

Tonight I have been to the most amazing acrobatics show ever - it was staged by the Shanghai acrobatics school and troupe and the performances were amazing and pretty death defying.
There was everything from magic, to balancing acts, to juggling, acrobatics, dance and even 5 people on motorbikes going around inside a huge hollow metal circle - the way they dodged each other kind of reminded me of the Beijing traffic!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Yuyuan Garden & Pudong

I got taxi this morning to Yuyuan Garden - a famous classical garden right in the centre of Shanghai just off the Bund. It has lots of pavilions, rockeries, halls etc and would have been a nice peaceful place it it wasn't on the top 10 list of places to go for tour groups - it was packed with people and tour guides waving flags and shouting down microphones. Just outside of the garden a lot of the streets were traditional chinese temple architecture - quite possibly reconstructed to make it into a tourist attraction - and you could see where east meets west in that it was traditional alleyways and chinese style buildings yet there was even a Starbucks and a McDonalds nestling inside.

Next stop I went over to Pudong and went up the Jin Mao tower - this (my internet source tells me) is the 3rd tallest building in the world and the tallest building in China. There were some spectacular views from the top - what is interesting is that an even taller tower is being built right next to it and you could see it being pieced together. In the Jin Mao tower the lift travels at 9.1 meters per second - that means you get from the bottom to the 88th floor in just 45 seconds.

From there I crossed the road and went up the Oriental Pearl tower, this is 468 meters tall (compared to Blackpool towers 158m). The Oriental Pearl tower is the worlds third tallest TV and Radio tower.

I have the tour planned for tomorrow for the water villages of Suzhou and Zhouzhuang so I'm going to get an earlyish night.

Exploring Shanghai

Yesterday I went exploring Shanghai - I had a fairly quiet day with no set itinerary - just set off walking to see where I ended up.

My first visit was to the Peoples Square and the Shanghai Museum - the museum has loads of Chinese art, pottery and history in - it was well worth a visit (especially as I got in on student rates so it only cost about 30p!) but was a little boring.

I decided I'd be a bit more adventurous and try my luck at using the Shanghai underground - when I'd navigated the maze of tunnels and worked out what line I was supposed to be on I was fine - even the ticket machines were relatively simple to use. I went to Pudong - the other side of the river where the Oriental Pearl tower is that you can see from the Bund.

I was going to go up the tower but it was a bit cloudy and you could do with a clear day/night when you go up so hopefully I may get chance sometime this week. I did a little shopping and then caught the underground to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum - which for some odd reason was closed!

Catching the underground back to the Peoples Square I went back to the hostel for a bit and found out where Xin Tian Di was on my map with an aim to find it last night.

Xin Tian Di is a pedestrian area with buildings in the old Chinese Shikumen style - yet the shops, bars and restaurants are very international and modern. There was a fantastic atmosphere and buzz about the place with people from all over the world eating, drinking and meeting there - there was just one slight snag - it was quite expensive. I don't suppose it was expensive by western standards - but after being in Nanshan it was a bit of a shock. I went into a German style restaurant and had Sausage and Mash and a beer - it was 140 yuan - just less than 10 British pounds - when you consider this to the food market in Nanshan though I could have had tea 70 times over for the same price!!!

I have a tour booked for tomorrow to go to Suzhou and Zhouzhuang - both are water villages just outside of Shanghai.

Anyway, I should really work out what to do with myself today.

See you all later!