Shanghai - September, 2014

8:47 PM

Yes, I know, finally a sign from the Asia trip.  Sorry, still not done with the pics, but I did finish the Shanghai ones last week.  I am not sure how to put the pics on here, or which pics.  I shall try my best.  First, the iconic Shanghai (modern) pic:

The View of the Bund
I actually wrote some travel notes while I was in Shanghai (with no internet).  I am just going to paste them below and throw in random pictures.

My Random Thoughts about Traveling to Shanghai

Just so you know, I am not a savvy traveler, by all means, so that's where this "report" is coming from.  First, fewer people understand English than I expected.  It feels like more people in Hong Kong know English better, but I could be wrong since I can speak cantonese in Hong Kong and don't need English much.  But don't let that discourage you from coming to Shanghai.  If you can learn how to read "dollars," you'll probably be fine.  Most of the signs are in English.  You'll just have to be prepared to do some sign language and not get frustrated if multiple people don't understand you.  And it might actually be better if you don't look Chinese...maybe they won't assume you speak Mandarin like they do with me!  And, as a traveling noob, I didn't look up the weather and it was pouring.  I walked around the whole day in the rain.  Luckily, my camera is weather-sealed!

Taken on Bus
And Then It Really Started Raining
These Are Not How You're Supposed to Do Panning
Sea of Umbrellas! So Colorful!
One of the Few People without an Umbrella or Raincoat
Thank You Captain Obvious
Having said that, the people in Shanghai are what I would consider in-between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese?  I haven't seen anyone pee and poop all over the ground randomly like so many people complain of "mainlanders," but they do spit and do other things that Westerners may, um, be not used to.  The size of everything is smaller though - food portions, stairs, seats, etc.  Might be something you would have to get used to as well.  I did see quit a few foreigners, and for the most part (unless they were at some tourist attraction place), they seemed to be just like the Shanghai natives - head down, earphones on, playing games on their phones the whole way on the metro. =)

First Time Seeing This - Basically Translates to A Small Step Forward for You, A Large Step Forward for Civilization
More Resting
They Are Very Big on Keeping Healthy
Tourists! I Am Assuming...=)

Pretty Much How Everyone in Big Cities Look Like Now (the Heads Down Generation)
Outside Metro Station

The traffic isn't very bad, but the commute on buses and the metro is pretty insane at certain times (rush hour, closing time).  I had to wait for a couple trains before I could get on the first day I was there.  Perhaps the craziest thing, if you haven't been to other countries like this, is that scooters and bikers are INSANE and don't follow rules.  Most of them don't have headlights during the night and apparently, they don't really have to stop when it's a red light?!  Cars and trucks and buses are honking constantly.  The pedestrians don't really follow the lights either.  You have to be super careful if you don't want to get run over!  Look and be aware!  The cars and scooters will NOT hesitate if you are in their way!  Oh, and one more thing, if anyone asks if they want to help you, they are most likely going to ask you for money.  Some guy "helped" me buy a metro ticket.  I didn't pay attention.  I figured he was like an official worker person.  Nope...ended up "tipping" him like $11 Chinese, which is less than $2.  He did save me $14 Chinese (cause I was going to buy a day pass, but the ticket he told me to buy was only $4 Chinese).

Just Gotta Look and Cross!
Shanghai Train Station

Obviously Against the Light
Crossing the Street Could Be Intimidating
Checking Messages while Stuck in Traffic

Parked Scooters
Night Traffic

Getting around Shanghai isn't too difficult.  I am the most familiar with taking the Metro (and walking), so I relied on that the most.  The public transportation is CHEAP, btw.  An all day metro pass was $18 Chinese, which translatess to $3 US.  The bus I took to the Bund was $2 Chinese, which is like 33 cents US or something.  One final lesson I learned about the metro while on the 100th floor of the Shanghai World Trade Center - past 11 p.m. and you have almost no options of getting home!  Try to go back before!  I know, doesn't make sense, but I had to find a taxi after walking around (some taxi wouldn't take me where I had to go).  But the ride was still only like $6-7 US.

Middle of the Road
Were Pretty Useful
Cars and Bikes Coexist
Tallest Building in Shanghai - Shanghai International Trade Center
Model of Shanghai - Part of Presentation You HAVE to Watch before Going Up

Elevator Shows The Floor and Speed as Well
Was Cloudy (as in, clouds were going through the building), but Cleared Up

View was Better in the Bathroom
No, Seriously, Shot from Bathroom!
Transportation isn't the only thing affordable in Shanghai.  Actually, most things are pretty cheap.  Now, I didn't go around shopping really but, for the most part, I was pleasantly surprised.  I think it would be heavenly to make an American salary (say, $50,000?) and live here.  Boba can be had for $1 US, and you can find a meal for $2-3 US easily.  My decent hotel (motel?), which wasn't any worse than the cheapie motels I got on my Utah road trip, cost $53 US for 2 nights!  I am sure, if you really wanted to, you could find ultra expensive things to buy (Maserati, Rolex, and whatever brands that I don't know!), and those posh hotels like the Penninsula, Four Seasons, etc.  But if you just want to live the "simple life," it's extremely affordable.

~$1 US

Hello Kitty Everywhere, Of Course
McD's and Starbucks were Fairly Abundant
Fruit Stand
Street Food
Random "Funny" Name
Yes, Grammy Dance Club?

Hanging Bananas

Someothing I Wouldn't Buy/Eat
 I am not really a big foodie, so I did not seek out the "best" places.  My eating cycle was a little messed up too, I think.  I did try a few things from the street vendors, even though people warned me not to eat that stuff (nor drink from things that aren't in a bottle), I seemed to be ok.  There are things that Westerners have to watch out for.  I did see at least one restaurant that served dog meat, but man, there were so many pet dogs.  And cats too.  But yeah, if you're pretty adventurous, then this will be right up your alley.

My Favorite! Soy Milk and Chinese Donut
Making of...
Onion Pancakes

White Rabbit Candy!
Making Dumplings
Attractions - my main goal was basically to get some decent pictures.  I walked around Shanghai A LOT.  I liked seeing the contrast between the old and the new.  The Shanghai Museum (free, btw) was pretty cool.  There is so much history and culture that I don't know (sad, yes).  I can't imagine a culture that's 5000+ years old.  So much tradition and wisdom and knowledge.  No, sorry, but I won't be able to help myself and laugh when people talk about "an American tradition" now.  =)  There are a lot of random parks in Shanghai, as in a lot of big cities, which is nice.  The Promenade along the river had nice views.  The Bund was very pretty at night.  The Old French Concession was interesting to walk around.  I did go up the Obesrvatory of the Shanghai World Trade Center (most money I spent besides lodging).  I am not sure it was worth the extra $60 Chinese to go to the very top.  I felt that the 94th floor was fine.  And do check out the male bathroom.  That had like the nicest view!  I kid you not.  Oh, and Google Maps's directions didn't work super well, or at least didn't for me, so watch out for that and don't just follow it blindly.

Jade Buddha Temple

Steps were...Small

Monk and His Phone

Old French Concessions

Cultural Center (Plays and Shows)

Shanghai Museum

A Pillow?!

24/7 Library!

Pearl Something Something Broadcast Tower
And finally, some more pics that I liked:

Apparently a Camcorder and a Cell Phone = Flash

If you want to see the rest of the pictures, click here.

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