Taxis In Shanghai
Catching a cab in Shanghai's not difficult, just get to the side of the road and start waving your arm. If you have more than four people you'll probably be out of luck. I'm not sure if there's a law prohibiting taking more than four people but we had a hell of a time trying to get a cab to take all five of us. One cab driver did it then looked very unhappy after he counted five as we got out.
Anyway, if you speak Chinese be sure to tell them what part of town you're going to along with the address, that helped a lot. If you don't speak Chinese, be sure that you have your destination marked on the map and be sure you can pronounce the street it's on.
Cab fares from the south side of Pudong to somewhere in the Huang Pu district cost about 40 RMB, from the south side of Pudong to the Airport (Pudong) will be about 130 RMB. For the most part it's pretty cheap to get around Shanghai by taxi.
Be aware that they don't seem to obey any traffic rules at all so if you're not in an adventurous mood you may want to sit in the back and close your eyes. If you are in the right mood and have had a couple drinks siting in the front can be pretty exciting. Despite the crazy driving I still felt pretty safe, just remember, they're not trying to kill themselves.
Toys Toys Toys
Since another VTer requested a list of stores in the Shanghai Forum, I figured I'd also post the list of stores in Shanghai here as well:
Istean (imported toys)
527 Huahai Zhong Lu and 1038 Nanjing Xi Lu
Next Age (Yaohan Department Store)
501 Zhong Yang Lu by Pudong Nan Lu
Bao Da Xiang Children and Youth Department Store
685 Nanjing Dong Lu
China Digital Land
528 Lao Shan Xi Lu
225 Fuyou Lu
Bachmann Showroom (model trains)
595 Wu Ding Road
Cuddle's Wonderland Teddy Bear Collector's Shop
404 Shanxi Lu
6437 3835 Toys, of course!
Italian with style
Located on the 56th floor of one of Shanghai finest hotel, Grand Hyatt, the Italian trattoria, Cucina, serves innovative pasta dishes and brick-oven pizzas. With it's open kitchen you can see, smell and savour the control frenzy of the chefs as they prepare your meals. The lamd cutlet is a MUST. The meat is so tender and juicy it melts in you mouth
Visitors will tell you, "If you have not visited Nanjing Road, you have not seen China". Nanjing Road, known at home and abroad as the number-one business thoroughfare in China, is a symbol of Shanghai's rapid business expansion. Because of the impact of commerce conducted here, this road's past and future will affect not just Shanghai, but one-fifth of the world's population. Ten years from now, when we stroll down Nanjing Road, what will we see? Will there be some surprises?
In the near future, Nanjing Road will be separated into three areas pursuant to a thematic direction referred to as "Nanjing Road's Perpetual Charm." From the Bund to the middle of Henan Road will be an area called "The Sea's Passion;" the thematic elements will include stylistic romance, old-time elegance and bring forth reminiscence of days gone by. Visitors will hear jazz melodies wafting from the coffee-colored Heping Hotel, relax at the fashionable open bars, and enjoy the abstract sculptures erected along the street. With the strong contrast between historic and modern styles, fashionable young people and international tourists will soak in the special charm of old Nanjing Road.
Fast Forward to the Future
"The Independent Traveler Gets her Fix!"
Shanghai was the last stop on our tour of China, and our last full day was "free" to do whatever we wished. This was terrific for me, because I've got a friend who has been living in Shanghai since 1999. When she was in DC some time back, we met for lunch, although we'd been communicating via a small travel group website for a while before that. My friend Linda, who had also come on this tour, knew her as well and we had arranged to spend our free day with her.
But before our day on our own, we got to see all the sites a tourist visiting Shanghai must see: Jin Mao Tower, the Bund, the Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai Circus Acrobats.
Shanghai is China's high rollers economic showcase. There are more familiar names on display in Shanghai than a Westerner will see anyplace else in the country. There are probably more expatriots (like my friend and her husband) living in Shanghai than other cities in China, although I don't have any statistics. But this is a city that is driving toward the future like a roller coaster in free fall. There are over 3000 buildings in Shanghai with over 30 stories -- someone once told me Shanghai is like New York City on steroids. The old neighborhoods (called Shikoman areas, not unlike the hutong areas of Beijing) are being smashed to bits as new skyscrapers sprout in their place.
Some neighborhoods seem to be getting the "Rouse" treatment (East Coasters from the US may recognize the name) where new buildings and neighborhoods sprout up with some of the aspects of those they've replaced -- but they are somewhat Disneyesque in comparison.
But, you can't stop progress. And Shanghai is quite breathtaking. The traffic is insane. Taxis are (thankfully) cheap, but traffic jams are the same everywhere in the world and you need to plan for potential delays. Yes, there are still lots of motorbikes but there are also BIG cars. This is nothing like the SmartCars or Minis you'll see in Europe, that is for sure! We were surprised to see that the big car was the norm rather than something less polluting.
Our last group meal was at a restaurant with a terrace/balcony which overlooks the river at night toward the futuristing buildings of Pudong. There are riverboats which you can take up and down the river, and I'm sure the trip is amazing, but I totally enjoyed the view from this balcony!