Sunday, August 26, 2012

Road to Shanghai…..

On Friday morning, we woke up VERY early (at 4:00am) and started getting ready to leave. Michael called the concierge and requested a taxi to take us to the airport. The concierge called back and told us that it would be 180Y!! We knew that this was WAY too much because the meter only shows about 90Y but the taxi driver argued that it was too far and that he wouldn’t be able to get a fare back. Michael finally agreed to pay 120Y (about $US20).

This episode highlighted another of Kunming’s bad decisions. They have just built a gorgeous new International Airport, but it is so far out of town that taxi drivers do not want to go there. There is not much parking so you cant leave a car and the “Airport Express” train only travels at 15 kilometers per hour (about 10 mph) so it takes several hours to get there. We were told that some families pack a picnic and make a day trip out of it!!

We saw one accident on the highway which was surprising given the small amount of traffic on the road at that hour. We did see several motorcycles and scooters that did not have lights and were driven by people wearing dark, dark clothes. I guess that we should be surprised that there were not MORE accidents!!!

We made it thru all of the security checks and the suitcase did not require additional screening this time!!! We started trying to find somewhere to eat breakfast but nothing was open at that hour. We did see numerous people eating Noodle bowls which could be purchased at one of the airport shops and then filled with boiling water at one of these water stations…..

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The girl in the foreground is carrying her bowl back to her seat to enjoy.

I did see one man eating one of these and drinking a PBR (for you non-Texan’s, that is a Pabst Blue Ribbon)…..a horrible beer at the best of times but unthinkable at this hour of the morning!!!!

Michael was “jonesing” for Espresso and we finally found a shop that opened at 6:30. He was first in line and ended up paying $22 for three single Espresso’s. Expensive yes, but worth every drop.

We arrived in Shanghai airport and caught a taxi to the hotel. As we drove, we got a view of the incredible architecture of this city…..DSC06163

We arrived at “Sunrise on the Bund” which is a four star hotel on the “Bund” side of Shanghai…..

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This hotel is normally $250 per night, but we got a deal on Agoda.com for $225 for three nights!!! The room is gorgeous…..

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Although there is a clear view into the bathtub and bathroom area…..

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….and the toilet and shower are both glass and face each other. There are the painted lines at discrete levels, but it is still a bit freaky!!!

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You certainly wouldn’t want to come here with someone that you weren’t REALLY close to…..

This arrangement does cause a bit of problem…. when we ordered room service, the food was delivered just as Michael was getting into the shower. He had to cower in the only enclosed corner, with a towel wrapped around him until the waiter left!!!

By this time it was lunch time and we were both STARVED!!!! We decided to go to one of the hotel restaurants and couldn’t resist the opportunity to have something other than Chinese cuisine, so we both ordered pasta…..

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It was a fantastic change of pace and we enjoyed every bite. To top it off, we had Apple Pie alamode!!!!

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The first order of the day was to get a feel for the layout of the city and the best place to do that was at the Jin Mao Observation Deck, which is on top of the second tallest building in Shanghai and one of the tallest in China.

The only problem was that the taxi pulled up at the door of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. OK, what do we do now!!! We walked in, acting like we knew what we were doing and headed for the elevators. Unfortunately this particular elevator only went to the 54th floor and we were heading to the 88th!! We took the car back down to the first floor and started over, this time following a crowd of people out of the lobby and into another area with several sets of escalators. A few questions later, and we had purchased our tickets, climbed into the elevator that took 45 seconds to rise 88 floors and were looking out over the city of Shanghai……

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It was very interesting to watch the construction crews lowering beams and welding them together. They walked along the beams as if they were 10 inches off of the ground……DSC06185

The tallest building, located just next door, is the Shanghai World Financial Center. It is a seriously cool building……

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We had a great time wandering around the observation deck and seeing this beautiful city……

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It is a little hard to see in this photo, but there were groups of red roofed and blue roofed houses….

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The view out one window provided a normal Shanghai event…..a traffic jam…..

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Later in the day, while we were stuck in this same traffic jam, we realized that all of these people were jockeying to get into the tunnel that travels under the Yangtze River which runs down the middle of Shanghai.

If it was weird to look out of the tower, it was even stranger to look INTO the tower. This view looks down 32 floors and onto the 56th floor lobby of the Hyatt (billed as the highest hotel in the world)……

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It seems like something out of Star Wars!!!!

I loved watching this little boy look longingly at the Yao Ming display…..

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After returning “to earth”, we went back up the escalator’s to the biggest Starbuck’s that I have ever seen, and this photo only shows about 1/2 of it……

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I particularly loved the architecture of this building and was interested in the escalators…..this open design allowed you to see the underside as well.

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Back outside again, we took a little walk around the business district (known as the Pudong District). Once again, I REALLY like the architecture….DSC06218 - Copy

This is the building that we had just come out of. The design was based on young bamboo shoots……DSC06215 - Copy

Another taxi ride back across the river and we were back at our hotel. We took a little walk around the neighborhood and I loved this photo of clothes being hung out to dry on the street corner……

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We relaxed at the hotel in the evening and enjoyed talking to a young man from California who was living in Shanghai and working at the hotel. He obviously was in need of some “American” talk time and we enjoyed learning more about Shanghai from him.

We declared Day One in Shanghai to be a success!!!

1 comment:

Maggi said...

Superb photos of the city.

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