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Shanghai Impression

Shanghai, China

We take the train from Beijing to Shanghai overnight, leaving at 7pm and arriving at 7am the next day. The train is a brand new European-built leviathan, with about 40 coaches and two engines. Each pair of coaches has its own attendant and there is a bar and restaurant on board. Within the coaches there are cabins, each one having 4 beds with crisp bedding, plenty storage space, and bright airy decor. There are 4 such trains, all leaving within a few minutes of each other, bound for Shanghai, and each one is fully occupied.

The train rolls into Shanghai station precisely on time and we grab our bags and head for the ticket office to buy train tickets out of Shanghai. We find that there are no so called 'soft sleeper' seats left so we opt for the 'hard sleeper' alternative.

We take a taxi to our hotel in the Bund area of Shanghai, and after showering and breakfasting; we head out to visit Unilever Research in the Caohejin Hi-Tech Park. My friend wanted to meet some previous colleagues there, and visited the well-known high-tech Industry area, by the way.

That evening we stroll from our hotel which booked by restgo.com, out on to the riverside walkway to see the neon lit skyline of Shanghai. Across the Huangpu River in Pudong we see the enormous sky scrapers including the Pearl Tower. Over its surface red lights flash and then a rainbow of colored lights on the spheres flash in mesmerizing patterns.

On our side of the River, older colonial buildings, banks, and department stores are underlet in a conventional European style. Behind the old, loom modern architectures, edge-lit like obelisks against the night sky.

Dinner is taken in a random restaurant and turns out to be a good selection. The seafood dishes are tasty.

Next day we take an underground train beneath the River to reach Pudong. The driverless pods speed through a neon lit tunnel in what can only be described as a 'trip that you would only ever take once' since it costs 10 times as more than the underground
On the other side we buy Y50 tickets to the 88th floor of the 4th highest building in the world (488m). The elevator accelerates to 10 meters per second so my ears feel like they are about to burst. The top reveals the view that confirms Shanghai's pre-eminence as the biggest business city in China.

Back on the west of the city the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall shows how the city will develop in the future. We see a huge model of the city taking up the space of a 5-a-side football pitch and have fun spotting our hotel and also some new buildings. We stand in a 360 degree cinema and watch a dizzying computer-generated animation film about how the airport will be developed within just a few years. I see a young lady driving a virtual truck to the new container-port which needs a bridge of over 35km in length to be constructed.

The scale of development in Shanghai is all too much to take in and we collapse exhausted back at the hotel room. Neon lights glisten outside the Victorian sash windows.

Next day, a short taxi ride away is Zhou Enlai's house. Set in a leafy suburb, the house is a lovely example of '20s English architecture with its dark flooring, spacious rooms, and large windows overlooking the garden.

Out of time in Shanghai, we head back to the railway station.

permalink written by  vincy on October 21, 2008 from Shanghai, China
from the travel blog: My Travel
tagged Shanghai, Travel and Reservation

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