After a 20+ hour train ride, I arrived in Shanghai around noon. Stepping out of the train station, my first thought was, “And I thought Hong Kong was crowded.” Tons of people milling about in the area. After wandering around trying to figure out the massive metro system, I finally made my way to the hostel with two other guys from the same train.
That evening, the three of went to check out The Bund. According to Lonely Planet, coming to Shanghai and missing the Bund is like visiting Beijing and bypassing the Forbidden City or Great Wall. After seeing it, not sure I would go that far but it was pretty impressive, especially from across the river.
Even more impressive was the view of the Pudong skyline.
Free advice: whatever you do, don’t pay to cross the river via the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. It is incredibly cheesy and horrible. It’s basically a tunnel filled with flashing lights and that is all. It has nothing to do with the Bund or sightseeing but, hey, it is a tunnel. Trust me, it’s not worth it. I had some video showcasing the tunnel but apparently Youtube is blocked in China.
After waking up the next day to find that one of the guys in the dorm urinated all over the floor during the night, I was ready to explore Shanghai. I headed out to the Shanghai Museum, and, even after waiting in a 45 minute queue, I must say the Museum is worth the visit. It has some spectacular artwork on display along with countless Chinese artifacts. Well worth spending an hour or so in exploring.
As I’m starting to feel sick with a head cold, I kept my sightseeing to a minimum and stuck close to the same area. Walking around People’s Square was fun just for people watching since there were so many people. Turns out I’m visiting Shanghai during a Chinese holiday and everybody in China is here with me.
The blood banks were taking advantage of the crowds and had a area set up for people to donate blood. This was my chance to give blood in a fourth country. I tried to explain I wanted to give blood but my last donation was in March so I may not be eligible. It didn’t matter, they finally said I could donate so I patiently waited my turn to give. Thirty minutes later, as I was getting my finger pricked, the doctor noticed all the bed bug bites on my leg. All the staff started freaking out and finally said I couldn’t donate. Oh well, maybe I’ll try again when I actually should be eligible.
Today I visited the YuYuan Gardens and Bazaar with about six million of my closest Chinese friends. It was definitely an amazing place but the crowds kind of took the enjoyment out of it.
I also explored the Nanjing Pedestrian Street and was again overwhelmed with the sheer amount of people. Plus, the fact that I can apparently get anything I want from several guys standing in the street – watches, purses, iPhones, iPads, belts, special massage or whatever I wanted. I am impressed at the sheer will of these guys to approach every foreigner. I was also approached by a very attractive Chinese woman who wanted to walk with me practicing her English. She even suggested stopping to have drinks somewhere for a few hours. After politely refusing drinks, she suddenly disappeared. Guess it wasn’t going to lead to anything after all
To sum it all up, my first impression of China is – it’s crowded. However, once you get over fighting your way through massive crowds and pushing your way into the subway, it’s pretty fun and I’m enjoying myself. With that, I leave you with pics of, what else, people.