Day 11 (26 Dec 2009): BOXIN’ DAY! [Shanghai – Guangzhou]

For your convenience, please refer to The Journey for the itinerary and the latest updates.

Weather: Sunny but cold

While checking out of the hostel, the helpful receptionist patiently answered all our queries regarding transportation. We would head to Yuyuan, located in the Chinese part of the city, by public bus.

To be honest, I was pretty impressed by the transport infrastructure of the Chinese cities that I’ve been to. Hangzhou especially because of the public bike rental system. Chinese cities also run their public bus system efficiently. The fleet is often very new and I couldn’t recall seeing anyone hanging by the bus doors (although they were often crowded). There are also televisions on the buses and trains (ahead of Singapore; there’s no more TV Mobile here anymore).

Old & New

Reaching there

Entrance to the shopping area - crowded as everywhere else

The main reason why we were here was to get plums. Apparently Alan’s mum visited Shanghai and liked them. Ever the filial son, Alan was going to bring 5kg back. Yup that’s right. 5kg. Nothing but packaged plums. He bought all the quantity available in the store and the next customer who came in couldn’t get any. Luckily for her, Alan was kind enough to let her have a 500g packet or else she would go home (wherever it is) disappointed.

Look at the crowd

Initially we were planning to meet our friend Michelle who was back in Shanghai during the holidays. However, she couldn’t make it last minute and both of us had the afternoon to while away. We were thinking of visiting Xintiandi or watching a movie. The cold weather and the movie trailers on the trains helped us to make the decision.

Watching movie in Shanghai is an expensive affair. A ticket cost 80 RMB (~16 SGD). No wonder everyone watches pirated movies instead.

The trailer which helped us to make our choice.

Before Bodyguards and Assassins began, we noticed a couple in the row in front of us.

They were eating bak kwa!

How interesting!

The movie was quite nice but you could drive a bus through the loopholes in the plot. This reminded me of a Hokkien saying: zou hee siao, kua hee gong. Literal translation will be actors are crazy and audience are silly. We have to be silly enough to appreciate the crazy performance.

We had an early dinner in the noodle place besides our hostel.

Spicy noodles

There was a direct bus to Hongqiao Airport (no. 806, 5 RMB) from our hostel and it took almost an hour. I was mad at the check-in staff who refused to acknowledge my existence and served another person who arrived later. The joy of traveling indeed.

Alan and I were both amazed by China’s productivity. I think the work maxim is: If the job can be done by one person, let at least two people do it. The lady at the boarding gate would scan our boarding pass and another man five meters away would tear the ticket and retain a portion. Somebody must have forgotten to tell them that the two tasks can be performed together. Alan said that it was necessary for creating employment.

Flight: China Southern CZ3504
Dep: SHA 19:45
Arr: CAN 22:05
Flight time: 2h20m

I was surprised to get a wide-body aircraft (757 I think) for a domestic flight. As both Shanghai and Guangzhou are first-tier cities, there should be quite a lot of demand for travel between them. Tickets weren’t too expensive (we paid 550 RMB one-way) and the load was probably around 50%. Alan and I could have rows for ourselves. We landed ahead of time again but nobody was complaining.

Returning back to Guangzhou, it was noticeably warmer than Shanghai. Alan showed me this incomprehensible sign at the shuttle bus waiting point.

It should be "Taxi Boarding Point"

Engrish FTW!

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