ShangHai, my first stop

I never knew that I could go to Shanghai and wasn’t well prepared for it.  All of sudden China Eastern Air was extremely competitive  both on price and the flexibility with route.  I ended up going with this Chinese carrier, Macau in, Bangkok out, but only through the carrier’s hub city that is Shanghai.

From Auckland it flies for 12 hours non-stop to Pudong airport in eastern Shanghai. There is another airport in this huge metropolis called Hongqiao which is at the other side of the river. If you are a really unlucky transit passenger, you may check out one airport and run to the other to transfer. If your connection time is about 2 hours time window, you will be in the Amazing Race.

The China Eastern has been known for not keeping time, late landing, frequent delay or schedule change in a short notice. For this journey, I am surprised that it dropped me one hour ahead of the advertised time.

I have only 4 hours free time here in Shanghai before reboarding for Macau. First problem comes really quick at the airport. The banks open 9 am, and I am trying to exchange NZ dollars to Chinese Yuan at 5:10 am. Run here and there without luck, popping into a car rental booth. They say OK if it is US dollars, no Aussie money, no NZ money, no Malaysian Ringgit(I carried 4 different currencies at the time), lastly Korean Won. The girl at reception is supposed go to Korea next month and she exchanges Korean 50,000 won(about $50 US dollars) for 250 Chinese Yuan. I have no choice, run to the subway station to get to Waitan which is known for Bund for English speakers.

In-flight meal of the China Eastern, Pork rice doesn’t look appetizing but goes down really good with Shiraz.

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Just before landing, my home town is just right there in South Korea. Sorry mum I am still loving you but I want to check out Shanghai girls first, Macau, Hong Kong, Vietnam,,,so on,,,and I will call in home to see you if time left.

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I get off at the East Nanjing Rd station and start to walk toward the river.

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Sunday morning doesn’t attract many pedestrians on this 500m long stretch to Waitan or the Bund. The bund is Persian word for band meaning ’embankment’ simply referring to building a ground high up. In Malaysian it is ‘Banda’ as in the Bruneian capital ‘Bandar Seri Begawan’ or Indonesian city ‘Banda Acheh’. Those were all built by the river.

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The Waitan (Chinese word,literally Outer Beach) was the symbol of losing  the opium war to British and the ground for winner’s new settlement, so lots of colonial buildings are still around, not to be proud to though for Chinese.

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The Waitan doesn’t show me the true beauty of it, hiding behind the sun, wrapped in morning mist.

The tower with a needle on it is the iconic Shanghai landmark ‘Oriental Pearl Tower’ 457m tall TV/radio transmitting tower that radiates prosperity of this No.1 Chinese city.

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Southern side of the river, down to South China Sea.

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A family tourist from other side of China enjoying the scene.

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This river side walk way is well presented and used for concert, socializing or yes walking.

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The beauty of bits of here and there, old and modern. I reckon that night shot of photos will be marvelous with endless buildings, lights and people.

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Woman seriously taking the impressive scene.

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Back street of Beijing road has some magazine maker’s favourite buildings in line.

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You can only see the model and the photographer here, but behind this, there are a dozen of other supporting crews with racks of cloths, camera equipments and the spectators.

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In hurried mode, stop a taxi to make a 1.5 km journey to Yu garden. The fare is 14 Yuan(basic flag fall fare). This is the commercial strip of the Yu garden area that has huge array of eateries, souvenir shops, jade shops or all sorts.

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Don’t have much time to linger around as the metro takes one hour to go back to airport and only 30 mins left.

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Quite impressive bamboo scafolding set up.

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This is the entrance to the Yu garden but this is the time for me to catch the metro as it requires at least one more hour to look around in the Yu garden.

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The metro takes me back to Pudong airport, and I realize I need to make a first meal in China in 20 mins. This tofu and cabbage on rice gives me the flavour of Shanghai a little bit.

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All morning for 6 hours, I spent only NZ$20 including the transport, still got lots of Yuan left.

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Shanghai has high speed train called Maglev which makes upto 420 km/h, and takes you in 20 mins from airport to CBD.

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If you transit in Shanghai less than 144 hours, you don’t need a Chinese Visa to get out of airport. Just look for the transit counter when you go into the immigration.

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Yep, back on the airport ground for Macau.(Note: Even though Macau is Chinese territory, don’t board at the domestic terminal)

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Lunch at the plane. Chicken rice Shanghai style.

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On the wing of the plane says ‘Do not walk outside this area’, well I give up.

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Macau is down under the wing, see you there in the city of Venice of the Orient.

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