No matter the building, it is hot inside
Shanghai is very hot in summertime. During my stay, the average temperature hovered between 33-37 degree celsius. Air conditioning shopping centres and restaurants seem to be a good way to escape the heat, right?
Not so in Shanghai, when the city is having a serious crisis at hand concerning power supply. Attempting to reduce the usage of electicity by the public, the government has issued a law restricting any businesses to operate their air conditioners at below 26 degrees celcius. That's why even when entering such new facilities like the new airport, it seems to be quite hot and suffocating.
Taxi starts from a mere 10 yuan per ride and 13 yuan after 11pm. Apparently, if you can speak mandarin with Shanghainese accent, you can ask for a discount of up to 20% on a late night ride.
All taxi drivers in Shanghai are rated by stars. The more stars they have, they better they are - in their efficiency in getting you to your desired destination via shortcuts. Their ratings can be found on the windscreen as well as in the taxi, on their nametags. Certain 3 stars taxi has a little sign right below their rearview mirror. Consider yourself lucky if you ever get on a 4 stars and 5 stars taxis in Shanghai.
Best taxi company is Da Zhong (turquoise colour). If you ever feel like the taxidriver has taken you on a merry-go-round, show him that you're upset and ask for receipt - for sure he will give you some discounts.
Exploring Shanghai, China
June 6, 2008 Friday – arrived in Shanghai China
Manila to Shanghai China took 2 hours and 45 minutes. The tour guide, Jack Ou, said it will take 10hrs going to Beijing or Xiamen if we go by train.
1. From Pudong (PVG) International Airport, we rode a van to Express by Holiday Inn in Putuo Shanghai. It was a one-hour drive. There were many old 60+ Europeans on tour.
2. Search the internet and found PC Mall (thought it has cheap pc parts, saw phones that has the same price in manila), took the taxi for 35 yuan. The driver dropped us off digital plaza, unfortunately it has closed by 19:30. We walked from Caoxi Rd Station to PC Mall near Shanghai Indoor Stadium S then to a mall in Xuihui, which is full of branded items. Just bought a sandal for 39 yuan.
3. We road the metro line station 4 in Shanghai Indoor Stadium 21:30 and got off at Caoyang Rd Station for only 4 yuan. We followed the street signs and asked for directions. It was hard communicating with the locals.
4. From Caoyang S. we walked going to Wuning Rd, we asked a street vendor and went back to the opposite direction to Caoyang Rd->Jiangsu Rd. We walked and passed by Baiyu Rd, Puxiong Rd & Tanjiadu Rd (bus drives this street). We reached the intersection and asked a man walking his dog though we cannot understand each other he lead us to the hotel 22:30. We walked for 1 hour along the way and bought noodles for 5 yuan.
5. Our room was nice, it only lacks a bathtub. The view is the Suzhou River. I used the free WiFi through my cellphone to access the internet and search for travel advices in Shanghai. Shanghai is the finance center of China.
June 7, 2008 Saturday
Jack Ou, our tour guide gave us a day tour in Shanghai. Our first stop is the Xiantiandi, it looks like a small Eastwood City.
Our second stop is in the Jade Factory. The lady explained the processing of Jade jewelry and the differences in kind and quality. We bought a beautiful set of Jade afterwards. We then had our lunch in a Thai restaurant. The food was sweet and sour. Our third stop is the Bund. We walked around and viewed the area. Our fourth and last stop is the silk factory. A lady gave us a detailed walkthrough of silk development, extraction, and process.
We then went to the hotel afterwards and rested. In the afternoon we went to the famous Nanjing Road and did some window-shopping. The prices were the same in Manila and are not cheap. We followed the peddler and checked out the private home shops and found cheap buys but were not interested because the items displayed were few.
We went to Dragonfly Spa for a 2 hour massage and met another Filipina having her massage as well. It was a good yet affordable spa.
June 8, 2008 Sunday
We went to the Xiantiandi and roam around. We ate together with the locals at a Chinese restaurant and pointed at the noodles and chicken we wanted to eat. The waitresses and employees does not know how to speak in English and we communicated by sign language.
In the afternoon I slept and rested. My companion went on to visit the PC Mall and other nearby malls. She found computer items, cellphones, and other gadgets of the same price in Manila. She bought an 8 gig MP4 ipod lookalike for a good price.
I bought packed noodles to bring home, the only cheap items I was interested in buying. We packed our stuff that night.
June 9, 2008 Monday
Jack accompanied us to Pudong International Airport. We ate our lunch in a building in front of the airport. We wandered in the Pudong duty free shops and bought some chocolates. We then waited for our flight back Manila.
If you want a taste of China in a safe yet a little expensive tour then Shanghai is for you. There are only retail shops and lots of malls. It is another face of China, which shows few traditional Chinese ways and a rapid city development.
If you want wholesale and cheap buys then this tour is not for you.
The Oriental Pearl Tower
This is the third highest tower in the world. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of the whole of Shanghai.
In the basement, there is a multi-media museum displaying the history of Shanghai.
Open 8.30am-9.30pm daily
BUT, it costs an extra Y50 to go to the very top.
Shanghai is amazing, I'm so glad I decided to come here!!! It is similar to Hong Kong in size and energy, but it's different. Hard to explain how, but it has a very different feel to it! Street food is great here, within an hour of arriving I had already eaten an ice cream cone, a bowl of delicious noodles (reminds me of Batambang's favorite noodles, Manoj!) and a bubble tea (milk tea with little tapioca balls in the bottom of the cup), which all-together cost less than $1! Yea!! Street food is the best! My first night I stayed at a hotel off of the Bund, which is the waterfront of Shanghai and has lots of great old European style buildings.
I walked along the Bund taking pictures and then met up with Lily, Amy's sister. Amy is one of my very best friends in Seattle, it's so cool to meet her friends and family here in China! What a rich opportunity! We met up at Xin Tiandi, which is an area full of bars and swanky jazz clubs and galleries.. it really could have been an area located in any American city! I was thoroughly amazed at how similar it is to an American hangout area.
This is Nanjing Lu, a main thoroughfare for Shanghai. No cars are allowed here though; it's for pedestrians only! It's set up for the maximum amount of foot traffic possible and it's loaded with advertisement. If you start at the Bund and walk the length of the street, you'll see something like 11 McDonald's and 8 KFC's! One on practically every block. Nanjing Lu is definately the place to go for ANY kind of shopping or fast food cravings!