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  • Day25

    Shanghai

    September 21, 2019 in China ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    Moving on again! Up and out from the hotel, across Hangzhou to the station where we boarded our fast train to Shanghai. It's only a couple of hundred kilometres, so the train blasted across in about 90 minutes or so. The rail network here is really good. As usual, Shanghai's main west-facing high-speed station is a fair way out of town, so we had to take a metro for about 40 minutes towards the centre of town. Since we were taking a few trains, we'd picked a hotel right near the central railway station, even though it wasn't the greatest spot in Shanghai.

    Emerged from the metro into fairly persistent drizzle, the most rain we've seen in probably two weeks. Quite miserable really, and with a wind to match. Found our hotel easily, since it's 30 stories tall! It's a budget Holiday Inn and we're on the 22nd floor in a pretty good size room, with a proper desk and a view.

    Decided that the rain wasn't going to let up any time soon, so we headed out. Though it was about this time I remembered the giant hole at the front of my shoe - it was going to be an uncomfortable day! We headed first for the French Concession, a shopping and eating area that was, well conceded to the French in the 19th century. It still has a vaguely faded French air to it, with large buildings like embassies set back from the road, tree-lined boulevards and similar.

    The trouble is, it's a huge area and not especially well defined. Lacking a definite plan we just sort of wandered around for a while getting progressively wetter and more miserable (despite umbrellas!). Eventually we retreated to a noodle shop for a while and had some lunch, then headed for the subway to move on.

    Headed towards the Bund district, around a bend in the main river, where we wandered through a couple of shopping malls mainly trying to stay dry. Ate a few different things including xiao long bao which are soup & meat dumplings - we've had them before in Sydney at Din Tai Fung and other places, but they're originally from Shanghai so it was nice to give them a go here.

    Late afternoon we ended up at the waterfront of Shanghai, where there's the famous skyline with the tall buildings across the river in Pudong. The rain was only misting at this point so we stayed around for an hour or so, hoping to catch the renowed light show on the skyscrapers. Alas we were far too early (apparently it starts around 7pm, not 5:30 like we'd hoped!), so we saw a few lights turn on and then headed off.

    Heading away from the river we walked down Nanjing East Road, the main pedestrian thoroughfare in Shanghai. Very busy and buzzing despite the weather, with crowds around and neon lights dangling from every building. Very much a Chinese version of Times Square.

    Wandered into another mall where we found some good priced food options: more xiao long bao of course! Then back to the subway where we headed back to hotel, squelching the whole way. Very happy to get my wet sock out of a wet shoe!
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