Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shanghai - Our First Day

15 October: Packed and ready to go, we flew to Shanghai at noon. I had bought our tickets a couple of days before, as well as our tickets from Guilin to Shenzhen (the direct flight to Hong Kong was booked). Our first inter-China flight was very smooth and just a short 2-hour ride. Lunch consisted of a pork noodle dish and cold vegetables.

We arrived at the smaller Hongqiao airport and took a taxi to our hotel, The Bund Hotel. The hotel isn’t as nice as the Park Plaza and the beds were horribly hard. Our room (#1607) had city views but on the backside. We could see the nearby freeway. The room had two double beds and a very nice large bathroom. The employees were not friendly at all with the exception of William at the concierge desk, who helped us obtain our train tickets for Hangzhou. The location was great, about a 15-minute walk to the Nanjing pedestrian street. The area around our street was quite colorful with street food vendors and small shops.

We spent the afternoon unpacking and then heading out to tour the pedestrian area of Nanjing road. Shanghai was a great city to visit – such pulse it has! We saw lots of fabulous tall buildings. It seems that when a building is built it tries to outdo the others. Nanjing road reminded me of Times Square in NYC with all the tall buildings and neon signs. I loved the shops on this road, with its many varieties of food. I wish I had an interpreter to tell us about the many packaged foods. I did buy some dried plum seeds, which I grew up on when living in Hawaii. Many people asked if we wanted to buy fake watches, bags, etc. No thanks.

We found a small place for dinner, just about a block north of Nanjing road. An older Chinese woman stared at us through the window for quite some time. I guess we were an oddity. Dinner included kung pao chicken, thinly sliced broccoli spears in a white garlic sauce, rice and beer (93 RMB). We just loved those fresh vegetables. The chicken was very good but too many peanuts for my taste.

Back at the hotel, Reenie went to the room while I headed out to find a bottle of wine for the room. About a block away is a nice sized grocery store. Wine was very inexpensive, about 32 RMB. The streets were quite lively with food vendors. It did look good, although it seemed rougher than in Beijing. I couldn’t tell what some of the food was but it did look fresh. Maybe we would try some another night.

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