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  • Oct6

    A Loud Pop, A Woman Down

    October 6, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    I heard a loud pop as the woman behind me hit the concrete. Everyone in the line to enter the Shanghai Museum fled from the noise, and I stood with Shane Lawrence next to Mary Larsen, sprawled out on the walkway. I had met her only the day before. She had tripped over a plastic hump covering electrical cords, and lay motionless on the concrete. Her right wrist showed an ugly bulge, and her hip hurt so that she could hardly walk. A guard rushed over to open that barrier that held us in the queue. Shane and I slowly pulled Mary to her feet as the guard shouted Chinese orders and motioned for Mary and me to go into the building—not Shane, just me. I don’t know why. Security officials ushered us into a cloakroom, where they asked Mary if she wanted a glass of water. In broken Chinese I suggested that they bring ice for her wrist, swelling and turning purple. Bringing a cold pack, they asked if she wanted an ambulance to take her to the hospital. After some discussion, they allowed Mary to go to the nearest hospital in a cab. The guards allowed Shane’s wife Mandy, a nurse, to join us. The taxi took us to a hospital, maybe ten minutes away, where we sought the entrance to the emergency room.

    Mary struggled to walk in the parking lot as I saw a woman whom I asked in Chinese, “Do you work here?” She said she did. I asked, “Can you help us take this woman to the emergency room?”

    Immediately she was a blur of action as she produced a wheelchair and rolled Mary up a nearby ramp and through a door draped with a heavy brown canvas curtain. She pushed Mary’s wheelchair through the split in the middle of the curtain into a semi-lit room. A baby with a bandage on its head cried with pain. An old lady covered in bloody bandages lay unconscious, surrounded by family members in the middle of the room. A wall of patients with a wide range of injuries and illnesses looked down at the floor as they sat in silence on gray metal folding chairs extending in a line down a hallway. In the corner of the room our helper began a Chinese shouting match at the nurses’ station, adding to the cacophony of wailing infants. A well dressed Chinese woman came to me and asked in broken English what was happening. I told her that Mrs. Larsen had fallen and broken her wrist. She joined the shouting match and after a few minutes told me that this hospital was only for ordinary citizens of Shanghai. Party officials, VIP’s and foreign tourists were treated in another, better hospital nearby. This hospital could not admit Mary. After more shouting with the hospital staff, she told me that a nurse was calling the other hospital to arrange for Mary to be transferred there. She spoke in broken English, I in broken Chinese, as I learned that she now lives in Ohio, but that she was in Shanghai tending to her mother, who was currently admitted as a patient. Finishing her phone call, the head nurse informed us that because the National Day celebration was underway, many of the the VIP hospital’s staff were on vacation, and no doctors were working at the VIP hospital that day. Then she said that if Mary thought her wrist was broken, she could stay, and they would treat it when her turn came. Because Mary was a foreign tourist, though, they would try to advance her in their schedule. Mandy and I held a quick discussion with Mary, and she decided that she would prefer to receive treatment elsewhere. We decided to take a cab back to our hotel to assess our options.

    Back at the hotel about lunchtime, I explained our situation to the concierge. She snapped into action as we took Mary to use the restroom in the hotel’s restaurant. The concierge said she was working things out and suggested that we return to our rooms for a few minutes. She would call us soon with more information. Mary’s arm and hip made her grimace as she asked to be allowed to wait in place, there in the restaurant. I returned to my room and ate a quick bag of peanuts washed down with a bottle of water.

    Our concierge advised us that she had made an appointment for Mary at a better hospital at 2 pm. She also introduced us to Jenny, our translator. At 1:20 pm we took a taxi to an emergency medical clinic near the old Russian embassy. The staff took Mary back for x-rays, with nurse Mandy accompanying her. I learned that Jenny was a Russian from Yekaterinburg studying hotel management in Shanghai. Her Chinese was superb. Her English was reasonably good. X-rays showed that Mary’s wrist was shattered, her hip was badly bruised but not broken. We would need to go to a hospital with an orthopedic surgeon for the wrist.

    Another cab ride took us to United Family Healthcare, a hospital with an orthopedic surgeon named Dr. Xu. After more X-rays and CT scans, the doctor advised Mary that surgery was necessary, the sooner the better. Mandy expressed both to the doctor and to us her serious reservations about Mary’s decision to allow a foreign surgeon in a Chinese hospital repair her wrist. Calmly Dr. Xu explained the risks involved in waiting to have the procedure done after returning Mary to the United States. Mandy asked me to step outside of the room and told me that she was having a panic attack.

    I said, “Panic attacks are not authorized tonight. You can have one, but not now. You’ll have to wait and have it later once we have Mary safe.”

    Finally, Mary had her mind made up: she would have the surgery in China. Again Mandy attempted to persuade Mary to delay surgery until she returned home to Arizona. Dr. Xu told Mary that he would prefer for her to stay overnight so that he could take her to surgery early the next morning, but because she had some things to pack, Mary asked to return to the hotel that night. She would return to the hospital for surgery the next morning.

    By that time Ray, our Viking tour guide, had arrived in Shanghai. Because my cell phone was not completing phone calls since arriving in China, I asked a nursing station attendant to call him for me. I reported the situation to him. He suggested that I tell the taxi driver to drop us at our hotel’s rear entrance on Dian Shi Road to avoid the National Day Parade. When we approached the area of the hotel, however, the police would not allow the driver to turn onto Dian Shi Road. I asked the driver to let us out at the intersection of Bei Jing and Si Chuan Roads. With the battery supply in my cell phone nearing zero I shot one final text message to Glenda asking her to have Ray meet us there with a wheelchair. He did so within ten minutes, and we returned to the Fairmont Peace Hotel at around 10:30 pm.
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  • Oct6

    Ambrosian Breakfast

    October 6, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    The Fairmont Peace Hotel on the Bund in Shanghai is the most sumptuous and artistically beautiful hotel I have ever stayed in. This morning’s breakfast offered every type of cuisine, Eastern and Western. I have never had better food anywhere. We started off with traditional omelettes, but then I added some Chinese dumplings, pork inside a steamed bread roll. Everything was at least as good as the best food I ever tasted. Some of it was better. We have enjoyed egg custard tarts everywhere from North Carolina to Europe. Until today the best I had ever tasted were in Portugal, but today’s tarts here in Shanghai topped them. Today we will enjoy another trip to a garden in Suzhou, a seventeenth-century wonder, and will learn about the production of silk.Read more

  • Day3

    What's the time?

    September 29, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Today started at 1.30am. That's when my brain decided it was time to wake up. Time Zones are such fun. It did mean I got to watch the impressive light show displayed on the skyscrapers along the banks of the Huangpo River. Eventually getting back to sleep I finally had to get up about 5am and start planning the day. A visit to the Bund was a no-brainer. It's a tourist must see, and since I'm a tourist, well, I think you can see where this is going. Initially I thought that if we could just get to the river front we'd find a bridge and simply cross over to strut the bund like international bon vivants. What I really should have realised is that the amount of large traffic motoring up and down the Huangpo, including cruise ships, indicated that bridges would be few and far between and any bridge would need to be high and probably vehicle only. Once this information was processed I realised that I'd need a vehicle to get me across this muddy brown slow moving liquid road. Then I had the revelation, what we need is a hop-on, hop-off bus. Fortunately I happened to know where one stops. After a few false starts and about two kilometres of moderately aimless wandering we finally lucked upon a parked Citysightseeing bus. We paid our 160 Yuan and boarded to enjoy the great sights of this mega-city. Sitting on the top deck, cruising the boulevards and timeless lanes of Shanghai was well worth the time and money invested, apart from the occasional frustration of a few random long stops. I think this was probably because the driver was gasping for a smoke. After about three hours of motoring around Shanghai we backtracked the loop and got off across from the Bund, but on the opposite side to our hotel. What the? China you devious devil! Not to be denied I rememberd reading about a tunnel that runs under the river transporting tourists from one side of the river to the other, in a psychedelic trippy mixture of lasers, spotlights and mood music. I, and probably you, have probably never seen anything like it. It was a one of a kind and got us to the right side of the river. Now we could casually saunter back towards our hotel, with a stop at the Disney store and the flagship Shanghai Apple store on the way. Tomorrow we get a Didi ride to the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel before hitting the park for our first day. Can't wait!Read more

  • Day50

    Shanghai - Sightseeing

    October 20, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Wir haben spontan entschieden, doch noch eine Nacht länger in Shanghai zu bleiben, um etwas zu entspannen 😎 und unsere weitere Route noch besser planen zu können, da wir festgestellt haben, dass es in China nicht ganz so einfach ist von A nach B zu kommen.
    Den Tag haben wir also genutzt die nächsten Zugtickets am Bahnhof zu kaufen, einige leckere chinesische Streetfood-Köstlichkeiten zu probieren und auch den Shanghaier „Heiratsmarkt“ zu begutachten... (dort werden Schirme mit Beschreibungen der Personen von den Eltern aufgestellt und andere Eltern oder Singles können sich dann direkt bei den Aufstellern für eine Anfrage melden)
    Natürlich sind wir auch noch ein wenig durch die Stadt gelaufen und haben uns noch mehr von der Innenstadt angeschaut. Zur Abwechslung haben wir uns diesmal den Sonnenuntergang und die Lichtshow am „The Bund“ von der anderen Uferseite angeschaut.
    Danach gab es auch noch ein leckeres Abendessen mit Fischsuppe und Nudeln.
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  • Day111

    Shanghai - The Bund

    September 23, 2018 in China ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    The Bund, probably the main reason why we wanted to go to Shanghai. This quarter of Shanghai is one of the oldest, but most important we enjoyed the view on the skyline. It is really amazing and especially at night it is one of the coolest skylines we have ever seen.

    The Bund, Ist der Hauptgrund warum wir überhaupt nach Shanghai gefahren sind. Es ist eines der ältesten und wahrscheinlich teuersten Stadtteile von Shanghai und bietet einem atemberaubend Blick auf die Skyline. Dir skyline ist vor allem am Abend überragend, jedoch ist es hier nachts auch richtig voll.
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  • Day28

    Lichterfahrt durch Shanghai

    September 5, 2016 in China ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    Für heute Abend haben wir uns zu einem zusätzlichen Ausflug entschlossen. Shanghai bei Nacht und seine Lichter.

    Von Hotel aus geht es zunächst im die Altstadt. Die Altstadt empfindet die Architektur der Ming-Dynastie nach. Da zu dieser Zeit in China vor allen aus Holz gebaut wurde, sind kaum noch echte Gebäude erhalten. Aber die Altstadt wurde 'originalgetreu' nachempfunden und wieder aufgebaut. Die ältesten 2 Häuser, die noch stehen, sind beide gut 100 Jahre alt.

    Nach der Altstadt fahren wir nach Pudong. Dies ist der neu gebaute Stadtteil auf der anderen Seite des Flusses. Das Finanzzentrum und viele andere Büros finden sich hier. Es ist ein Viertel von riesigen Wolkenkratzern, von denen der höchste 630 m hoch ist. Fast alle Wolkenkratzer sind aufwendig beleuchtet. Ein imposanter und moderner Anblick, der innerhalb der letzten 30 Jahre entstanden ist.

    Von Pudong aus geht es an den Bund. Hier stehen sich das moderne Shanghai und das Shanghai aus der Kolonialzeit getrennt durch einen 500 m breiten und 9 m tiefen Flussarm gegenüber. Ein wunderschöner Anblick. Es gibt auch eine Aussichtsterrasse/Uferpromenade, von der aus sich ein toller Blick bietet. Man kommt aus dem Staunen kaum heraus.

    Von diesem Punkt aus geht es weiter in die Nanking Road. Dies ist Shanghais 6 km lange Fußgängerzone. Zu unserer Freude gibt es hier einen M&Ms Store mit einer Wall of Chocolat. So einen hatten wir das letzte Mal 2013 in New York. Dieses Vergnügen mit den unendlich vielen Sorten, die es sonst nicht im Laden gibt, lassen wir uns natürlich nicht entgehen. Nur Aussuchen können wir die Sorten diesmal nicht, die Beschriftung ist nämlich rein auf Chinesisch.

    Zusammenfassend kann man sagen, dass sich die Lichtfahrt total rentiert hat und das Shanghai sehr ansprechend ist. Ehrlich gesagt, ist es hier so sauber, geht es hier so sehr geordnet zu, ist es trotz der Menschenmengen so ruhig, dass man sich fragen könnte, ob dass wirklich noch China ist.
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  • Day11

    The Bund

    October 26, 2016 in China ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    Das ist die Flaniermeile und das Ausgehviertel in Shanghai. Leider giesst es wie aus Eimern. Wir sind auf der Flussseite mit den alten Häusern im Kolonialstil. Unser Blick geht auf die andere Seite des Flusses nach Pudong dem Bankenviertel.Read more

  • Oct4

    Arrival in Shanghai

    October 4, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    When we arrived at the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai about 4:45 pm, Viking assigned us an opulent room. We saw a documentary recently showing old film footage of the Chinese Revolution of 1911 in which this hotel was depicted as the place where the Western diplomats and businessmen stayed and strayed. The hotel is still here, and we’re in it. It is on the Bund, the string of European hotels, embassies and finance houses that reduced China to slavery in the late 19th century. The decor is 1920’s Art-Deco excess—over the top elegance. I expect F. Scott Fitzgerald to walk around the corner at any moment. Arriving in Shanghai this afternoon, we encountered a parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution of 1949. Hundreds of people joined soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army in the streets. When we went out to photograph it, a policeman told us we must move with the crowd, so even though I had told Glenda I would meet her at our hotel, we were not allowed to stay in place. Kathy, Gil and I joined the river of humanity parading through the streets of Shanghai. We thought we would just go around the block and return to our hotel. No such luck. At the next intersection, the one after that, and the one after that there was a cadre of young cadets all blowing whistles and telling us we could not make a left turn. When we were finally able to turn left, we were six blocks away from our hotel, so our whole walk took us about fourteen blocks. It was amazing! We got to see a million new friends on our first night in this beautiful city. What a wonderful way to get our first walking tour of old Shanghai.Read more

  • Day10

    Shanghai Start

    October 25, 2016 in China ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Vom Flughafen Shanghai mit dem Taxi ins Hotel. Erst wollten wir in dieser zweifelhaften Gegend gar nicht aussteigen. Waren aber dann geflashed vom Charme des Hotels.

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