China (Shanghai 7/24-7/26)

Here are some pictures from our weekend in Shanghai.  We left Friday morning at 7am from O'Hare airport.  After a LONG 16hour flight we finally arrived in Shanghai at 1:30pm on Saturday July 25.  We grabbed our luggage and found our driver and hopped in the car for an hour ride to the hotel.  Despite many attempts to kill us with his crazy driving, we finally made it in one piece to the 5-star hotel we were booked at.  Apparently stoplights, speed limits and road signs are merely "suggestions" for what drivers should do.  Pedestrians walk at their own risk.  We basically showered, ate in the hotel restaurant and crashed for the rest of the night.

Sunday morning we work up bright and early at 3am, but forced ourselves to sleep until 5am.  From there, we showered, ate breakfast and planned out our route for the day.  We decided to just walk around and hit the high points.  Our first stop was People's Square in the center of the city.  It is like Central Park in New York.  People swarm the place as a meeting ground, Tai Chi hangout and fly kites.  There are entrances on either side of the park to an underground shopping mall that expands the entire area.  In the center of the park, there is the Shanghai Museum, but it wasn't open when we were there.  We decided to head north and check out the Jade Buddha Temple.  After about 3 miles and many stares from little people, we finally reached it.  I was trying to figure out why they all liked my shoes to much because every time we walked by someone, they would look us up and down and stare at my feet.  Now, I'm just wearing regular sandals.  Then it hits me, I haven't seen a single tattoo on any one here.  So since all 4 of mine were showing in some form and I'm a pasty white girl walking down the streets of China with my blond hair and shades, I'm thinking I stick out.  Anyway, the Jade Buddha Temple was cool, but since we had no idea about the religion, we snapped some photos, awed at the people worshipping and bought ourselves some souvenir chopsticks and headed out.

We backtracked down the street and turned down the main shopping drag to check out the Exhibition Hall and Shanghai Centre.  Shanghai is holding the 2010 World Exhibition and basically built a whole city to host it.  Everywhere you look there is a little blue guy (the mascot Haibao) and signs for the Exhibition.  The current hall was old and decorative, but nothing going on.  The highlight there is that I finally found a bathroom to pee in and as I'm going realized there is no toliet paper.  You can only find toliet paper in Westernized places like hotels and such.  And of course I knew this from the travel book and ignored the suggestion to carry my own toliet paper.  Damn.  Anyway, the Shanghai Centre is basically a city within a city, with the Ritz-Carlon in the middle and shopping around the outskirts.  There are apartments, a theater, grocery store and the like in the place, but nothing too exciting.

We head back down Nanjing Road which is the shopping place.  There are 3 huge malls there that we full of name brand stores.  Every designer you can think of had its own store.  Sorry, Sarah.  Burburry was there but no green purses.  I'm still on the hunt for a knock off for you though.  Anyway, we didn't buy anything, but also found a store that was great for bargaining that we will hit back up on our last weekend.  We headed back to People's Square and stopped to see if we could get tickets to a show that night, but none were playing.  We then stopped at the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall and saw the planning for the Exhibition 2010 and a model of the future for Shanghai.  Travis was loving the model.  After that, it was getting close to lunch so we headed back to the hotel, ate and laid down for a nap.  In total, we walked for about 6 hours that morning with minimal stopping.  We were exhausted.

We woke up around 8pm and decided we should get out of bed and do something.  We checked out the workout center and the pool and then stood out on the balcony on the 20th floor and admired the view for a while.  We ate dinner in the hotel again but decided to scorn the Chinese and ordered Penne and Pizza off the menu.  Travis was ready to head to the McDonald's down the street after the 2nd meal here :)  We decided to be lazy and watched a movie and fell asleep for the night. 

Click here for China 7/27-7/31


 

Travis on the airplane to Shanghai

Not only was I trying to capture our first moment on the way to China, but this actually proves that Travis knows what to do with a book :)

Apartment buildings

There were at least 50 of these buildings right next to each other as we entered Shanghai. Little did we know that this was going to be a recurring theme.

Another view of the apartments

People's Square

Like the Central Park of Shanghai. This is where locals hangout, practice their Tai Chi, fly kites and meet up for the day. Under this park is an underground shopping mall as well. In the middle of the park, is the Shanghai Museum.

Theater and other buildings

There are tons of amazing architecture in Shanghai. Every new building attempts to out-do the next.

Tai Chi

This particular group was doing ultra slow motion Tai Chi. Hell, I could have kept up with them!

The Jade Buddha Temple

Temple in the middle of Shanghai were a gift of 2 jade Buddha statues were sent. Very interesting to see the worship practices of the people there, but we had no clue what we were looking at.

More statues in the Jade Buddha Temple

So we have no idea what Buddha is supposed to look like. I also thought he was a chubby guy sitting cross-legged. Apparently there are many different likenesses of him.

Buddhists

The whole place smelled of incense as people would light incense sticks from the common fire, hold them to their heads and bow repeatedly in front of the temple.

Shanghai Theater

We tried to get tickets to the Monkey King, but missed the last show. Damn!

Urban Planning Exhibition Center

This place shows how Shanghai was built and the planning behind it.

Chinese Pop Machine

My favorite part of the museum. Soda bottles written in Chinese. Ha!

Scaled model of Shanghai in 2020

Travis's favorite part. This is a scaled model of a futuristic version of what Shanghai will look like in 2020. The model takes up the entire 3rd floor of the museum.

Shanghai model

Another view of the model

Sky view

The 4th floor of the museum allowed you to look from the top of the model.

Shanghai 2020

Another view from the top

View from the hotel

Here is a balcony view from our hotel on the 20th floor of downtown Shanghai. The place lights up more than Vegas.

Old Town

Lighted night time view of the Old Town of Shanghai