…were my thoughts about China before I went there the first time – and at all I would never expected to be their one day. Bad luck for me that I gave it chance.
It was so fascinating and totally not the expected and totally worth it to go there a second time. Shanghai was the place I stayed a couple of days this time. If I have to compare this city in one word to any other I visited before it would be: more. Shanghai offers you more culture, more history, more internationality, more business, more friendly people, more party, more place to be, more shopping, more everything! Being stunned? Every time. Feel lost? Never.
Because this time tourism part was second, I had a chance to get in touch with those people making this city so great and visit those places you wouldn’t visit on a normal holiday. I tried to find out some things I would suggest to a person going to Shanghai the first time, well there are too many I would and none of them is worse than another.
Best hint for your journey: Take your time and follow the billions of streets till you stop and turn left your right. Anyway, beyond are some places I have been this time and like to share with you.
At least, why “Shanghai – not China?”: if you are a little reserved about China like me, try to start your journey to this fascinating country in Shanghai and China will soak you up. And about the copyright – in China it was and still is an honor to be copied, cause than your product is the best. But they recognized, that in an international world they have to do something and work on it.
Never make a mistake twice
Well, I did. Choosing the cheap China Eastern Airline for a 12 hour flight is what you shouldn’t do, if you have some extra money to fly with another one. In my eyes this airline tries to satisfy the point: service – by using a bunch of dissatisfied, overworked, discourteous flight attendances in a mix with not cleaned seats and none international newspapers and magazines. Skipping the point, that they only showed two movies in a half an hour loop for that flight.
Finally arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport, the fastest and nicest way to get in the city is the Maglev (Magnetic Levitation Train). Beam’s you in 7 minutes directly to the city center.After storing the luggage at a friend’s place, we went shopping. With Metzingen as hometown of course we skipped the high gloss shops and went directly to the “cheaper” markets. There they have always “good quality” – if you trust the salesmen and they are too “best friend” with you – as long as you are interested in their products 😉
But not only fake-products can be bought. We got a nice polaroid camera for half of the European price for my girlfriend. So after spending the first Yuan, we went to get a mattress for the night – to be sure about the quality we bought one at the western-island-shop “IKEA”.
Best prepared for the night we went out for Dinner at SH508. Traditional Chinese food and thanks to groupon with a 90 % discount a really great start to the Asian-journey. Also didn’t missed to see some colleagues and friends.
After Dinner we went to the Koala Bar more American Sportsbar but with chinese beer price. Totally sleepy and impressed to be back we went home.
Mix of places
There are numerous of temples in Shanghai. All different and all the same – a religious place. Even though you should visit some of them. One, called Jing’an Temple, is a funny mixture between modern and traditional style. This temple was completely refurbished and you can see the raw cement next to old made art and gold everywhere. At least the monks living in the temple have cable tv – but as the picture show the receiving could not be the best.
Next to the temple is a big shopping mall for those who want to spent their time buying Chinese food and clothes. If you need a lunch, just go around the corner and buy some street food, if you don’t trust their hygiene or have a weak stomach, you could also go to a “Pho real” Restaurant like we did. Secondly, the growing population in China makes it hardly possible to count all the inhabitants, but if you want to see a lot of them, go to the Peoplesquare and take a walk to Nanjing Lu (Lu = Road). At the Peoplesquare Shanghai’s most important public buildings are located and along the road there are thousands of shops offering everything you can imagine. Enough people and your feet are out of order? Take a break at the “Vue Bar”. The bar, located on top of the Hyatt hotel, offers you a unique view. On the one side you have the old part of Shanghai called “Bund” and on the other you see the modern financial district “Pudong” with all the skyscrapers.
If you ask people living in Shanghai, the modern PuDong is not Shanghai. In my eyes it is an example for future cities and a contrast to the old part Shanghai needs to be Shanghai. Next to the big businesses it offers you the Science and Technology Center and one of the bigger Fake Markets directly in the subway station. To enjoy the sunlight in between all the skyscrapers and get some time for your own, the Century Park offers you a green island.
To toast on a successful business or a successful day in Shanghai (like we had), there is the more international “Camel Bar” or the a little bit more Chinese “Abbey Road Bar” which where both visited and beer-approved 😉
Almost forgot: You don’t speak Chinese? Never mind, the barber would cut your hair anyway. At least this was my experience. Combined with a hair wash without basin and a great head massage the result was better than expected.