Hello, Shanghai!

Shanghai, despite being hotter and more humid than Beijing, is far better. The air is relatively clean, I can see blue sky during the day, and the city is far more modern. During the day there is less congestion – both pedestrian and automobile. At night every street is like walking down the Strip in Vegas. Neon lights flicker on-and-off calling my attention in all directions.

It’s busy, yet I don’t feel rushed or scared the way I did in Beijing. It’s simply stimulating.

We made the mistake of starting our first day with a long walk to the metro, which left us momentarily cranky while we cursed the heat and wished to be back in the air conditioned hotel room watching HBO, CNN or ESPN. Yes, you heard me right. There are actual American TV stations here in Shanghai. A few of them at least, and we’ve been taking advantage of them.

We took the metro to the train station to buy our tickets back to Beijing. Flying to Shanghai wasn’t much less hassle than taking the train is. Our flight was delayed, the airport was busier than any I’ve ever traveled in, and the heat was unbearable when standing in line for the taxi in Shanghai. Thankfully, finding the hotel was easy. As was checking in and finding a good noodle place called “78 Noodles,” which we’ve eaten at twice now. (The BBQ pork noodle bowl is tasty.)

From the train station we headed over to Pudong, the modern part of Shanghai east of the Bund. We took a trip up the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, visited the Aquarium, and took a pointless trip up the Jin Bei Building. Both the Pearl Tower and the Jin Bei offer the same view from Pudong back over Shanghai. Beautiful in both instances, but too much overlap.

We saw Nanjing Lu, which was once the busiest street in Shanghai. They’ve since closed the street to cars and pedestrians are free to roam. We went down to the west side of the Bund, which is lined with buildings built in the 1930s and 40s. On top of the Peace Hotel South we had hugely overpriced drinks, but were able to take some nice pictures of Pudong at night.

The only downside to the day was that I lost about 1500 RMB. My backpack was open and someone either reached in and stole it or it fell out for the taking. I think I “Shanghai-ed” myself.

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