沪杭 Pt IV: Shanghai

Pt I: Prologue
Pt II: 3K 831
Pt III: Hangzhou
Pt IV: Shanghai
Pt V: F1
Pt VI: The Long Way Home

Check-out was swift and we got back our 112 CNY deposit. The cab driver loitering on the main street wouldn’t take us to the train station and suggested that we used the bus. We chose to take the metro (one station, 2 CNY) instead.

(Stolen from Ying) Metro ticket

As we were foreigners, we couldn’t buy the tickets using self-service machine and had to use the ticket counters. There were long lines at every counter and I just chose the one with English speaker (hoping that she would be more polite). Our turn came around 20 minutes later and we bought return train tickets (77.50 CNY each way) to Shanghai. We were on the next train departing at 10am and it was already 9.42am.

Cue Amazing Race music.

We trundled our way through the security and headed to Platform 8 (or 9). Boarding had just started and we were on time. Yay.

(Stolen from Ying) CRH

(Stolen from Ying) Boarding

Seated

Ticket

We settled down and the train rolled out of Hangzhou station at 10 sharp.

In-train Entertainment

The magazine is in Chinese only and the content kinda baffled me. Instead of featuring and promoting the different destinations which could be reached by HSR, the articles were mainly on foreign tourist destinations. Strange.

Once out of Hangzhou, the scenery turned into farmland and nurseries.

Moving at over 300 km/h

Farmland

There was an intermediate station Jiaxing South between Hangzhou and Shanghai. Lo and behold I actually saw passengers queuing up at the platform as the train was entering the station. I like this place already.

Train going in the opposite direction

Our train reached Shanghai Hongqiao Station on time at 10:55. It was a pleasant journey and had less hassle compared to flying.

I was famished when we arrived and decided to have brunch at one of the Chinese food chains where we got to witness the outstanding Chinese service attitude up-close.

Customer (C): 我不能吃辣或酸的。 红槽面是不是辣的? (I couldn’t take spicy or sour food. Is the noodle dish spicy?)

Service staff (S): 一点都不辣。 (Not spicy at all.)

C: 可是它红红的。 (But it’s red.)

S (getting impatient): 都说不辣了。 (I already said that it’s not spicy at all.)

C: 为什么它是红色的? (Why is it red?)

S: 里面有番茄。 (Tomatoes were used.)

C: 那它是酸的吗? (Then is it sour)

S (raising her voice): 番茄酸不酸我怎么知道啊?! (HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHETHER THE TOMATOS ARE SOUR?!)

I didn’t dare to mess with her when it was my turn to order.

Humble brunch of wonton soup, youtiao and soya milk

You will find the name funny if you understand both Chinese and Hokkien

Before leaving Hongqiao train station, I visited the toilet and saw this above the urinal:-

“A small step forward, a giant leap for civilized society”

Some people still need the reminder.

Hongqiao Train Station was served by metro lines 2 and 10 and we could use either to get to East Nanjing Road station where our accommodation is located. Line 2 was chosen since it was a shorter ride (33 minutes) and we even got seats.

Fish Inn is three blocks away from the metro station exit and we found it easily with the map printed from its website.

Entrance to Fish Inn

Lobby

We were assigned to room 309.

The beds

CRT TV

Washroom – love the rain shower

Pudong skyline – only when there’s no smog

The voyeur in us…

She was happy with the hairdryer and rated the room to be better than the one at Hangzhou. I agreed.

After cooling our heels for a while, we set off to explore Shanghai. She wanted to visit Museum of Contemporary Art which was located inside People’s Square. To get there, we would need to walk down the pedestrianized East Nanjing Road on the sunny afternoon.

Apple shop

Rotating shoes

Jewellery shop

Always crowded

Red bull dancing – super random

Event promoting awareness of autism at People’s Square

Museum of Contemporary Art or MOCA is located inside People’s Square and it took us quite some time to figure out where it is.

Existence

Impossible to conceive oneself

Unwashed shirt

The different perspectives of an elephant:-

Pile of soil

Reindeer (made from chair)

Ship (made from pail)

Shark (made from high-heel shoe)

Jellyfish (made from plastic sheet and strings)

Scale

Made from chopping board

Quirky pictures:-

Even quirkier room

Talk

Honestly I had no idea what contemporary art is about and didn’t have any expectations of the exhibition. I left more confused than enlightened after the visit; felt that I paid the 30 CNY entrance for the air-condition more than anything else.

There were large crowds of mostly elderly people gathering in the part of People’s Square which we exited to and we quickly found ourselves in the middle of the largest matchmaking market in Shanghai.

Despite our aversion to crowds (due to bird flu), we were too intrigued to leave.

Rows of ads

It seemed that most of the ads were put up by the parents who were afraid that their kids wouldn’t get hitched.

Scanning for possible match

One could pay to post the ad on the walls but for the really serious ones, nothing beats coming down to the park to size up the potential suitors for their kids.

Sizing up the potentials

(Stolen from Ying) Waiting game

We found the pick of the crowd.

Does she really need the ad?

I gotta say that this is one of the most bizarre things that I’ve ever seen; and sad to say I couldn’t qualify for most of the ads due to the height requirement.

After hanging around there for a while, we crossed Huangpu River to Pudong.

Lujiazui roundabout

Oriental Pearl Tower

Shanghai World Financial Centre, Jinmao Tower and the uncompleted Shanghai Tower

Bund seen from Pudong

The main aim of going to Pudong was to visit the viewing gallery of Shanghai World Financial Centre, currently the tallest building in Shanghai.

Shanghai World Financial Centre

Sculpture seen en-route

We had timed our visit to coincide with the sunset and apparently many had the same idea too.

Queuing up for tickets

After paying 150 CNY each, we were ushered through the “Sky Gate” where the history of the building (as well as Shanghai’s skyline) was shown.

History

Fireworks

After a series of lifts and escalators, we reached Sky Walk (100F).

(Stolen from Ying) Moving up

(Stolen from Ying) Almost there

This is apparently the highest observatory in the world at 474m.

So it says…

Looking down at Jinmao Tower

Not so interesting on the other side

One could look at the ground which is almost half a km away through the transparent tile on the floor; doing it gave me jelly legs

(Stolen from Ying) View point

(Stolen from Ying) Almost half a km away

We were there long enough to witness the sunset…

Sun setting

… and the night fall.

All lights up

Bund from high up

Taken from 97F

Not so free after all

The admission of 150 CNY was rather steep but luckily we had good weather and great views of Shanghai from the observatory.

The Bund was teeming with tourists when we visited after SWFC.

Too many people

We were on the other side earlier

Only sign that F1 was in town

Inside the rather stuffy Peace Hotel where we made use of their toilet

Since both of us had a sudden craving of fish and chips, we googled and found that one of the best ones in Shanghai could be found at The Camel, a massive sports bar ran by Australians.

It is located in Xuhui district, part of the former French concession. It’s several minutes’ walk from Shanghai Library metro station and the streets felt European-ish. There were many restaurants and pubs en-route and surprisingly all the customers were foreigners.

It was likewise too at The Camel. We had our western fix (at western prices too) and washed the food down with the really nice Tsingtao and re-run of the earlier F1 qualifying action. Its sports feeds were surprisingly from Hong Kong; so instead of Mandarin commentary we got to listen to English one.

(Stolen from Ying) Awesome Tsingtao

(Stolen from Ying)Fish and chips, bangers and mash and nachos

Although the bar was showing the match between Liverpool and QPR, we chose to skip it and returned to our hotel.

Some freaky stuff happened back at the hotel; when Ying was showering, I received a message from her on Whatsapp. Why would she bring her phone into the bathroom? I thought.

Then I turned around and saw her phone was on the table. Granted that the Wifi was quite spotty, it was still quite freaky.

After Ying was out, I told her about what happened. Apparently she did send me a message but it was quite some time ago. Then later into the night, she swore that she heard an incoming message tone from my phone but I had always set my incoming message notification as silent and no vibration.

Thankfully nothing else happened and we both retired to a rather early night.

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