Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Shanghai for boys II, III

Days 2 and 3 in Shanghai have unfolded beautifully, despite the fact that 2 was rainy and cold. We spent the day doing Chinese (boys asked for another lesson!), getting to know the Shanghai Metro, exploring the Urban Planning Center, with its huge scale model of Shanghai 2020-as-envisioned-in-2010, navigating the newly reopened Shanghai Station to buy rail tickets for Beijing, marveling at an emporium near the station which will furnish eyeglasses and lenses carved in 20 minutes for $30 if you bargain (which my sister can), and finally having our first hotpot. Did I mention there was a foosball table in the Urban Planning place?
Day 3, by contrast, was warm and bright. If Day 2 offered the somewhat overwhelming scale of the city, Day 3 took us through a well-worn circuit guaranteed to generate wows. We started at the endlessly varied and diverting Yuyuan Garden, pushed our way through the touts to the Bund and a ferry to Pudong, then walked along the base of the tallest buildings to the ICF Mall, on the 52nd floor of whose Ritz Carlton is a bar with staggering views, then past the Oriental Pearl Tower and through the pointlessly pointless Bund Tourist Tunnel to find that the Bund's palaces of imperial capitalism , which seem mere model railroad props from the Ritz, are in fact very grand indeed, and finally down the neon wonderland of East Nanjing Road to meet one of my friends for dinner.
The boys enjoyed it all (especially climbing through rockeries and racing escalators). And as we made our way across the Huangpu River my sister started a refrain, the English versions of すごすぎる, beyond amazing. This is a pretty spectacular place I'm getting to spend a year!

The wows should continue over the next week as we head Thursday to Beijing and then onward to Guilin on Monday. As ever, though, travel means I can't promise I'll be able to access and maintain the blog. My Australians have found their China legs, however, and I'm sure we'll just go from strength to strength. There'll be much to tell!

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