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Travel Writing: China – Shanghai


01/10/08: High in the Sky Day 

Oktoberfest in Shanghai

Oktoberfest in Shanghai

After a strenuous and late day yesterday, we were glad to be back at Simone’s where we could feel at home and take it easy.

As we had received the incredible and very good news that Tom, Simone’s husband, had managed to get overnight train tickets for Beijing, we started packing, sorting through our things to really only take with the necessary items.

As it was our last day with Tom, because upon our return he’d be going to Beijing himself, we decided to go to Shanghai’s city centre together. We took the taxi to the east side of the river where the financial district is with all those incredible skyscrapers.

We would have loved a stroll by the river, but unfortunately the promenade was built too low and it was all flooded. Interesting indeed, as the walk way went a couple of steps down. They could have just left it at an even level and it would have been fine.

A police person was watching that no-one was fooling around in the water. So people just hung around, some walked through the adjacent flower beds to get to the other side.

We just walked back to where we’d come from, there was no point in getting wet.

We went to the near by Paulaner’s where they had recreated a typical German Biergarten with German beer and German dishes. They had the typical benches and sun umbrellas, special Paulaner glasses, even the waitresses were wearing dirndl dresses. Just that they were Chinese.

In Shanghai however, you pay for such a European experience… The prices were surprisingly high, more expensive than London! But Shanghai is one of the most expensive cities and it starts with the subway fare and continues with coffee & cake at Paulaner’s.

Afterwards we walked to the financial district, actually passing those buildings that make the Shanghai skyline. On the one hand it’s impressive to see these skyscrapers up close, they are truly overwhelming. But on the other hand you realise what a concrete jungle Shanghai is. With big highways and junctions, but no adequate crossings for pedestrians. With shopping malls and glass and steel office blocks, but no space to socialise. With vehicles having first right, but individuals being forgotten.

How relaxing though to see this all from high up in the sky: As we walked by the Jin Mao Tower, Tom and Simone suggested getting up there. Not to the touristy observation deck where you pay 70 Yuan however. There is a luxurious 5-star Grand Hyatt which you can access. Especially if you’re a Westerner. So up we went to the 54th floor, the hotel’s restaurant and bar area. There you have a panoramic view and can walk almost in a complete circle along the top to bottom windows, enjoying a fantastic sight. The best however was when we took another elevator that would bring us up to the 87th floor. From there you can look down to the club bar. 25 floors down! It looks like the matrix, the scene of all the capsules where they store the humans. Here you can really test yourself if you have acrophobia. Especially as the balustrade doesn’t seem to be very high. Easy to lean over a bit too far… loose the balance… topple over… it could happen so quickly… couldn’t it?

Back save on the ground we took a taxi back to Simone’s and Tom’s place. It was time to get ready for our overnight train journey to Beijing, where the real adventure would begin.

Check out the photos:

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