(typed on my iPad between daily activities)
We woke up bright and early and made our way down to our trip-standard “Western” breakfast buffet. I kept it light and gluten-free.
Afterwards, we drove around Shanghai to get a sense of the size, scope and feel of the city. My perspective is that’s it massive (duh!), crowded, modern, not always aesthetically pleasing and somewhat nonsensical. For example, you’ll see a new, tall highrise building composed of expensive residential living spaces (apartments, condos, collective living spaces, etc)…and then you’ll notice all the window air-conditioning units (central air/heat isn’t common) and residents using clothes-lines to dry their clothes in, and outside of, their residence. Sorry, but that doesn’t make sense to me! While on the tour, we made a brief stop at a silk carpet factory to check out the merchandise. Although I was stunned by the skilled work and artistry, I resisted the urge and didn’t buy a carpet. Thanks to Jill and Blanca for keeping me honest and not letting me bring a carpet home. Friends don’t let friends make ridiculous purchases in foreign lands.
We continued our tour and made our way to the Maglev Train station for a ride on the train. The Maglev Train is the fastest in the world (top speed is approximately 268 mph) and cost a whopping $25B to build. We ended up riding the train to/from its only destination — the Pudong Airport.
Riding the train is a very surreal experience. I was surprised that there weren’t seat restraints on-board. However, John keenly pointed out the belts wouldn’t help at the speeds we were going if we crashed. Thanks, John! The train picked up speed quickly and easily and before we knew it, we were flying — quite literally. I was really glad we were able to include this on our tour — there is nothing quite like this anywhere else in the world. It’s very similar to riding a roller coaster — minus the loops and upside-down business. After the train, we made our way to a Mongolian BBQ restaurant for lunch.
Eh. Wasn’t feeling this lunch. Although it wasn’t Chinese food, I am not a fan of the set-up or the idea of getting other people’s food in my bowl. I know I sound like a big baby here, but I am very sensitive to certain foods and need to be cautious of what I consume. After lunch, we braved the cold and took a stroll along The Bund.
The Bund is a river-side park that features walking and running paths, marina access and sweeping views of the Shanghai skyline. We only lasted about twenty minutes outdoors — it was freezing! After our outdoor excursion, we boarded our buses and made our way over to the Market.
The Market is actually a collection of buildings that I would equate to a flea market. And like a flea market, you can get just about anything there – knock-off purses, games, clothes, accessories, food, luggage, nick-knacks, jewelry, etc. You can also get your pocket picked — it’s that kinda place! Jill, Blanca and I did a bit of shopping here — mostly for souvenirs. We had a good time bargaining. After a few hours, we were offered dinner at a restaurant in the Market. Blanca, Jill and I
refused declined this dinner in lieu of an American-ish dinner at the hotel.
Oh yes, friends, we knew something better was in store for us. After dinner, we spent the evening prepping for our return back to Houston.
- I can’t believe today was our last full day in China.
- I have had an amazing time on this trip – glad I didn’t bail after the stressful journey to China.
- I’m looking forward to seeing John!