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In case you are looking for detailed suggestions what to do and where to go in Shanghai, we better warn you now, this isn’t the blogpost to read. We both arrived to Shanghai with a cold which meant we couldn’t do much. In a way it worked out well as we didn’t do a lot of pre-reading/preparation anyway and could do with a bit of relaxing time as well. We picked two great ho(s)tels to do so.

The first was a much more spacious room than we’re used to (within a certain price range) and close to the train DSC_0061station. The second hotel was perfect for what we wanted/needed: Back in Bahrain, Mark did quite a bit of travel and especially in Saudi Arabia usually stayed at the Marriott. This has earned us some points/miles and the time has come to start redeeming! So over the weekend we settled in into the Marriott Courtyard hotel in Puxi, Shanghai. Large comfy bed, seating area, desk, CNN, gym, pool, a nice shower and fast wifi! Perfect setting for sneezing, blowing noses and drinking lots of tea.

We did manage to squeeze in a few activities while in Shanghai: We did a tour around the city on one of the hop-on hop-off bus-routes, we visited the Museum of urban planning and had an evening out with an old friend.

IMG_1306There are two main companies that offer hop-on hop-off tours in Shanghai: Big Bus Tours and Spring Tour. We took the latter one as it was cheaper and you could just do the bus-tour without any extras (one of the towers, a ferry, museums). They have 3 different routes, but if you’re just interested in seeing the main sites a ticket for the first two routes is enough. It was chilly and wet that day but luckily Spring Tour uses double-decker buses with a closed top. Good way of seeing the city.

We only got off twice: The first time was for the famous Shanghai’s riverside Bund to watch the impressive skyscrapers at the other side of the river in Pudong. Three towers stand out: The Jin Mao Tower was the tallest building in China until 2007 when it go surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Center. This tower looks like a giant beerbottle-opener, very similar to the one in Riyadh (which is of course just to open Coke and Pepsi…) and is built right opposite (same street) to the Jin Mao Tower. This obviously wasn’t enough so the Chinese decided to build another tower in the same are: the Shanghai Tower which will be finalised in 2014, but already is the second tallest building in the world (after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai).

DSC_0050The second stop was for a hotpot lunch. No english menu and no pictures so we were about to leave when the waitress suggested to come with her to the kitchen and just point out the food we wanted to order!

We’ve been to quite a few museums in different cities in the world and the Museum of urban planning definitely ranks very high amongst all those visited. This cool museum housed in modern building on People’s square  covers the past, the present and the future of urban planning and IMG_1301development in Shanghai. The main attraction is a massive model with a detailed overview of all buildings in Shanghai. Also a view of Shanghai filmed ‘flying’ through the city and projected on a 360 degrees screen was impressive. All signs and explanations were in both Chinese and English which was a relief compared to other museums we’ve seen. The exhibition seemed to be put together somewhere between 2005- 2010 so an update would make it even better.

On our way to the museum we walked through the park at People’s Square and came across a very interesting market. It was a meat-market but without any slaughtered animals. About a hundred open umbrellas were set up IMG_1286along the footpaths and each umbrella had a an A4 paper attached and one or two parents behind it. We asked a young Chinese guy what was going on and were told that these are parents presenting their son or daughter in the best way for other parents walking by. They were trying to find potential partners for a marriage! On the pieces of paper we could make out the date of birth, height and some other numbers. Later we were told that it also included salary, type of job and if the person owns a house (very important in China). Most of the dates indicated people in their late twenties / early thirties. Surprisingly few parents showed a picture of their child…not sure if that was because of their looks weren’t a real selling-point or if this is simply isn’t done.

IMG_1312On our last evening we met up with Huibert, an old friend/colleague/dispuutsgenoot from Rotterdam. We met at the Guyi restaurant on Fumin Road.. While walking from the metro we saw quite a few nice places on the way all of which looked much more ‘Western’ than we’ve been used to in China. Huibert confirmed this by stating that Shanghai is much more cosmopolitan than other cities in China. After finishing our meal consisting of quite a few dishes – some pretty spicy, but all delicious IMG_1316with a big crab as the absolute highlight – we took a taxi to the Bund. Here Huibert took us to Bar Rouge, a bar/club with a magnificent view of the lit up towers of the financial district. Drinks were obviously pricy, but the view was worth it. Inside we couldn’t help ourselves thinking this was what our ‘former’ life looked like: seeing and being seen by nicely dressed up Westerners while having expensive drinks to familiar sounding beats. We left fairly early as we were still not feeling great and had to get up the next morning for an early train to Suzhou..

We liked Shanghai. It definitely had a cosmopolitan and international feel to it with the skyscrapers, architecture and amount of foreigners that seemed to live there. However we didn’t really see the small alleys, history and ‘Chinese-ness’ that made us like Beijing so much. Two enormous cities in the same country, but a completely different experience.

For more impressions of our time in Shanghai click here

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Ak zacinate citat tento clanok, aby ste ziskali nejake tipy o tom, co robit a kam ist v Shanghaji, tak by sme vas radsej mali upozornit, ze toto v tomto poste nenajdete. Obaja sme do Shanghaja prisli s nadchou, ktora sa nas drzala vyse tyzdna. Nas stav mal velky vplyv na to, ako sme stravili cas v tomto ohromnom meste. V kazdom pripade, chori sme boli vo vhodnej dobe, kedze sme si aj tak potrebovali trosku oddychnut. Vybrali sme si na to dve skvele miesta. Prvy bol hostel blizko vlakovej stanice s izbou vacsiou, nez sme doposial boli zvyknuti. Druhy hotel bol nasa odmena. Este v Bahrajne Mark stihol na jeho cestach do Saudskej Arabie nazbierat nejake tie bodiky a tak zme ich zacali minat. Cez vikend sme sa teda ubytovali v Courtyard Mariott hoteli v stvrti Puxi. Velka pohodlna postel, mala obyvacia cast s gaucom, pocitacovy stolik, CNN, posilovna, bazen, kvalitna sprcha a rychly internet su vsetko veci, z ktorych sme po dvoch mesiacoch v hosteloch mali velku radost! Idealne miesto na kychanie, fukanie nosa a vela caju.

I napriek nasemu stavu sa nam podarilo vsunut do ‘programu’ i par vonkajsich ci turistickych aktivit. Dali sme si prehliadku mesta z hop-on/hop-off autobusu, navstivili Museum of Urban Planning a stravili vecer so starym znamym.

V Shanghaji su dve hlavne spolocnosti, ktore prevadzkuju turisticke autobusy, na ktore mozete ‘vhopnut’, ci z nich ‘vyhopnut’ na akejkolvek z pocetnych zastavok okruznej prehliadky (hop on/hop off): Big Bus Tour a Spring Tour. My sme si vybrali tu druhu, kedze ponuka lepsie ceny a moznost zvolit si len jazdu autobusom namiesto drahsieho balicku obsahujuceho i vybrane pamiatky. Zaroven, z 3 moznych okruhov sa da kupit listok len na jeden alebo kombinovany na dva.

Pri nastupe dostane kazdy sluchatka na vyklad, ktory popisuje okolite pamiatky ci historiu mesta. Hop on/hop off autobusy su nasim oblubenym sposobom vidiet mesto za kratky cas, hlavne ked mrholi a nie je nalada na prechadzky.

Na jednej trase, ktoru sme my absolvovali, sme vystupili len dvakrat: prvykrat na jednej z turisticky najpopularnejsich casti mesta – na kolonialnom brehu rieky nazyvanom Bund, z ktoreho je vyhlad na protajsiu stranu, z ktorej sa tycia ohromne mrakodrapy. Najviac sme si vsimli 3 veze: Jin Mao Tower bola najvyssiou vezou Ciny do roku 2007 ked ju predbehlo Shanghajske World Trade Center, ktore postavili hned oproti v ulici, a ktore vyzera ako otvarac na pivo – podobne ako mrakodrap v Riyade (ten je samozrejme len otvarac na kolu ci pepsi). Ako keby toho nebolo dost, cinania sa rozhodli postavit dalsi najvyssi mrakodrap hned vedla – Shanghaj Tower bude dokoncena v roku 2014, ale uz teraz je len druhou najvacsiou vezou sveta (po dubajskej Burj Khalifa). Druhou nasou zastavkou na okruznej prehliadke busom bol obed – hotpot. Bez anglickeho menu ci obrazkov sme boli na odchode, ked casnicku napadlo skvele riesenie a vzala nas priamo do kuchyne ukazat, co by sme chceli!

Navstivili sme uz niekolko muzeji v roznych mestach sveta a Muzeum mestskeho planovania (alebo ako sa prelozi ‘urban planning’) urcite zaujima jedno s prvym miest na rebricku zaujimavosti. Muzeum sa nachadza v modernej budove na Namesti Ludu v centre mesta a ukazuje minulost, pritomnost ale i buducnost mesta Shanghaj. Stredobodom pozornosti v muzeu je obrovsky model mesta s detailom najvyznamnejsich ale i menej zaujimavych budov mesta. Zaujimavy je i prelet cez mesto v kruhovej miestnosti s obrazovkou 360 stupnov dookola, vdaka ktorej sa divak citi sucastou tohto dobrodruzstva. Vacsina popiskov je i v anglictine, co je oproti inym cinskym muzeam celkom prijemna zmena. Vystava pravdepodobne vznikla niekedy medzi 2005 a 2010 a tak si uz zasluzi update, ale i tak, doporucujeme navstevu.

Cestou do muzea sme prechadzali Namestim Ludu, kde sme nasli velmi zaujimavy trh – trh s bielym masom (skoro)! Stovky dazdnikov sluzili panom ci paniam v strednom veku ako stojan drziaci A4 harok papiera. Zacali sme tusit o co ide, ale az ked sme sa spytali nahodneho okoloiduceho, potvrdilo sa nam, ze sme sa ocitli na mieste, kde rodicia ponukaju svoje deti na vydaj! Z ‘vizitky’ na A-stvorke sme vycitali datumy narodenia, vysku a nejake ine cisla. Ako sme sa neskor dozvedeli, inzerat obsahuje i informaciu o mesacnom plate, praci ci o tom, ci dotycny vlastni dom ci byt (co je v Cine pred svatbou velmi dolezite). Podla datumov, vacsina ‘deti’ uz bola na prelome tridsiatky. Prekvapivo len velmi malo inzeratov obsahovalo i fotografiu… tazko povedat, ci preto, ze vzhlad ostatnych nebol ich hlavnym lakadlom, alebo to proste nie je zvykom.

Posledny vecer sme sa stretli s Huibertom, starym znamym Marka z Rotterdamu, v restauracii Guyi na Fumin Road. Cestou z metra sme si vsimli mnozstvo peknych obchodikov ci restauracii, ktore posobili viac ‘zapadne’, nez v inych cinskych mestach, ktore sme doposial videli. Huibert, ktory v Cine uz chvilu zije, potom potvrdil, ze Shanghaj je mesto kozmopolitnejsie, nez ktorekolvek ine. Po veceri – pikantnej no skvelej s krabom ako zlatym klincom programu – sme sa zas vratili na Bund. Huibert nas vzal do Bar Rouge, baru s neprekonatelnym vyhladom na osvetlene mrakodrapy. Bar samotny s nahodenym osadenstvom a nelacnymi drinkami nam pripomenul nas zivot v Bahrajne. Neponocovali sme, kedze sme stale mali na krku nadchu a rano skory ranny vlak do dalsej destinacie – Suzhou.

Shanghaj sa nam pacil. Mesto ma kozmopolitneho ducha a posobi velmi medzinarodne i vdaka mrakodrapom, architekture ci poctu cudzincov, co mame na mestach radi. Ale chybali nam male ulicky a ‘cinskost’, ktore nam tak ucarovali v Pekingu. Dve obrovske mesta v tej istej krajine a obidve tak velmi ine.

Viac fotiek zo Shanghaja mame tu

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One thought on “Staying in in Shanghai

  1. Pingback: 11 months in a single post | Take it and go

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