We went to some city built on water that was like an older version of Venice. There were cats carved everywhere… After that, back to the bund where we were yesterday. The overcast skies actually cleared up today and I could see blue! After some picture taking, we went to dinner in a mall and back to the bund afterwards for some night pictures of the most famous spot in Shanghai. This was the last day of my trip. Unfortunately, I had to fly back to Vancouver the next day and hopefully not be jet lagged for work.
Went around town checking out the local attractions. Well, mostly checking out the Bund. The architecture is very diverse. Some of you may know that Shanghai is an international business city. The population is diverse and the the buildings reflect the different peoples that live here. You’ll probably notice that many of the buildings are very european… that’s because they built them long ago. I didn’t think the humidity could get any worse but today, it was raining when we stepped out. When the rain stopped, the sun took over and all the rain that was on the ground started to vapourize. It was trying to breath over a pot of boiling water.
After another day of walking, I noticed that my feet were really swollen. They were like really plump, retaining a lot of water. Must be the humidity… For dinner, we went through these old alley ways that were transformed into hip urban shops. I can’t believe the crazy amount of white people hanging out at the bars in this area.
We’re finally going to Expo 2010! There was basically only one way in and that was via subway. The Expo pass also doubled as a subway pass, there were a number of stations that brought you directly to the convention site.
Nearing the end of the trip… well, there’s still 4 more days to go. On day 10, we traveled via plane back to Shanghai for the World Expo 2010. We spent the morning flying and landed in the afternoon. In Shanghai, we stayed with my cousin Susan in a fairly big condo. A condo that would probably cost somewhere in the million dollar range in Vancouver. There’s a view of the river and the riverboats. Anyways, after we got settled into the place, we went off to a market, had a late lunch of KFC prawn burgers and went back home.
Day 9, we went to the emperor’s summer palace. I actually enjoyed this place because it’s not like the the other palaces I’ve been to. The summer palace was built into the side of a mountain so there’s rock everywhere. Afterward, we went back into town only to find it pissing rain. We took shelter in a shopping mall and ate in some Taiwanese noodle joint. We stopped by a bakery in the mall for some snacks for the next day before we went back to the condo. We needed the buns because the next day was another travel day. We were on our way back to Shanghai for Expo 2010!
Day 7 – We took the super fast train from Beijing to Tianjin for some shopping. In 2008, this train set the world record for conventional trains at 350km/h. When I was riding it, the train topped out at 329km/h. If this is just a conventional train on wheels, I can only imagine what the new Maglev line can do when it’s completed. I think this was the first day where we didn’t go see any ancient sites, they were really all starting to look the same. Some palace, temple, etc… always built on top of a crazy number of stairs.
Once again, the weather was hot and humid. Difficult to breath when the humidity is near 100% but at least it rained today. That kinda made things better.
We had some mcdonalds, it tasted different but somehow better. Maybe because China doesn’t have genetically modified cows, they’re kinda more natural. After the shopping, we took the train back to Beijing and went to check out the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The buildings looked amazing but sadly, they’re not really being utilized and they’re just rusting away. After that, we went for some fancy hotpot with Kobe beef and walked back to the condo in the rain… wet wet rain…
Day 6 – Off to see the great wall. It was a long ass 2 hour bus ride and we stopped by some underground palace at the base of the great wall. When we got there, we had to a gondola up to the wall. Why couldn’t we go see some other stretch of the wall that wasn’t so crowded? The great wall is a very big structure and we had to go to the bit that everyone in Beijing goes to… lol
Day 5 – After a decent night sleep in the expensive condo that my dad’s friend was kind enough to let us use, we decided to go out to Tienanmen square. We took a cab to the subway station. One observation.. it’s so freakin hot and humid, how are the locals wearing dress pants and button up shirts? Some are even wearing jackets!
We didn’t go into the Forbidden City today (it’s behind the red wall). We walked around the main gathering ground on Tienanmen square and walked a few blocks to the Beijing Opera House. After seeing the buildings, I realized that the Chinese don’t build anything small. The modern buildings are massively huge. It has to be to fit that many people in there. The opera house was shaped like half an egg with water around it so that with the reflection, it looks like a whole egg. Inside had some interesting architecture, some costumes that was used in plays and a small museum of stringed instruments. After seeing the opera house, we went across the street for a lunch of noodles and dumplings. After that, we went to another ancient site with several short round pagodas and then we went shopping.
Dinner was duck… Peking duck in Peking (Peking = Beijing). Remember how I said everything was built big in China? This restaurant was famous for it’s Peking duck and it was 7 floors… After dinner, we went for a stroll at a street market that served street food on sticks. Most of the stuff was labeled but I wasn’t hungry enough to try it, especially after a dinner of duck… At the street market, we bumped into a camera crew from the BBC shooting a documentary, I had a nice conversation with a pretty British woman about Jeremy Clarkson. She said he was a bumbling idiot… lol Sadly, he wasn’t around… that would’ve been great… bumping into Jeremy Clarkson while on vacation in Beijing.