Steve and Rachel are returning from Montreal to the UK via Japan and China.
You can follow their progress here... 

Friday, September 09, 2005

3:14 AM - First Impressions of Shanghai - Rachel

Lethal traffic, sky scrapers, dirty water, kamikaze taxis, noise.

Shanghai is BUSY! The traffic is a disorderly clash of mopeds, motorbikes, taxis and bikes, with the odd pedestrian limb mixed in for good measure. Crossing the road, with or without the little green man, is not fun.

We are staying next to the Bund, where the old colonial banks and hotels (top left) stand to attention beside the Huangpu River (the colour of tea, as Steve put it - not attractive in a river). Across the river is Pudong, an area that 15 years ago was muddy fields. Now, it is a mish-mash of towers and oddly shaped buildings, creating an interesting skyline day or night (top right). All in all it is the most western-feeling city we have been in, because in certain parts the western role in shanghai's history is still obvious. In the old french concession, the streets are cobbled, leading to terraces, trendy bars, tree lined streets, all very cosmopolitan.

These were our first impressions, but today we went to Yuyuan gardens and bazaar. This is a far more traditional area, though in a rather in-your-face tourist oriented style. The gardens are a maze of pagodas, weird shaped rocks, and ponds. Around it are equally maze-like streets of little stores selling every imaginable souvenir item you could possibly imagine (bottom right). There is lots of duplication, so the best strategy seemed to be to browse one shop to decide what you wanted, then go to another shop to haggle the price down. All very exhausting, but an experience non the less.


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