Monday, 12 November 2012

Day 8: Off to Shanghai

Day 8: Off to Shanghai

We caught the bus to the airport, which picks up just a block away from our hotel. It is a great system, leaving as soon as the bus is full, which takes about 10 minutes. It only cost 13 yuan or $2.00 each, and was comfortable, quiet and quick!
We are discovering a few interesting things about Chinese customs. For one thing, it is perfectly common to see people spit up a big gob in the middle of the street or noisily snort back the boogers in their nose. We were sitting in a nice restaurant in the airport so that Bryce could have an $8.00 cup of coffee, and I asked the waitress to help me get onto the internet. As she leaned in over my shoulder, she just gave the biggest snort! Back home this would gross me out, but we are trying to accept the local way of doing things, since we are in their country! It also makes me wonder how many of our customs are annoying to people of other cultures, and we don’t even know it!
I am learning to master the Asian toilets, given that the airport didn’t give me any choice! The secret is to first roll up your pant legs so that they don’t drag in the wet floor when you squat down, the second thing is to back yourself up so that you are right over the hole, because if you are too far forward, you hit the porcelain, which causes it to splash all over! Other than that, it is not such a bad experience, when in China, you have to learn to do as the Chinese do! The only thing is that I keep forgetting to roll my pant legs down when I am finished, so I end up strolling through the airport looking like a total weirdo!
The airplane food was actually quite good this time, chicken and noodles, not too strong with the pickled taste. When we arrived, we were once again accosted by two different people wanting to give us a ride into town; we found the taxi stand without problem and stood in a long line. They have a great system here, with a uniformed attendant directing people to the next available taxi, and all of them seem to be metered! The ride into town was much more relaxing than in either Beijing or Xian, as they actually follow the rules of the road here! No lane changing, very little honking, simply wait in the obligatory traffic jam and you will eventually get there. While there are freeways into town, China has not been able to keep up with the rapid growth of people owning cars, and it is gridlock in the big cities. It took us half an hour to go 10 kilometres!
Our hotel in Shanghai , Broadway Mansions, is absolutely beautiful! It was raining when we arrived, so there were immediately two bellman at our cab, holding umbrellas over our heads, carrying our bags, making us feel like British royalty! There are attendants at both elevators, and no one is getting on without a room key! This was originally luxury apartments, built in the 1930s, then taken over by first the Japanese then the US military; the rooms are nice and big, with both a shower and a tub, and beautifully decorated!
We went for a stroll on the Bund last night, another dream come true! Although it was raining, we still enjoyed it, the lights are just amazing! We broke down and just had a Starbuck’s sandwich and hot chocolate for supper; sometimes you just have to give in to the need for western food!

$8.00 cup of coffee
Russian Embassy on the Bund  

Bund at Night

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