China – Day 1 & 2

Posted by Ted on Jul 19, 2009 in Travel

Shanghai is under construction. They are busily preparing for their ‘Expo 2010’. Everywhere there are cranes and construction crews tearing up and rebuilding roads.

We landed at Pudong airport a little after 8p on Saturday night and took the high speed (301 kph!) maglev train to the outskirts of town before getting and overpriced cab ride the rest of the way to the Bund. Our first two nights were at the Westin, and we were upgraded to a suite. We crashed the first night, and woke up the next morning and took advantage of the “best Sunday brunch in Shanghai.”. At $130, it was even almost worth it. Not only was the food varied and exceptional, complete with free-flowing champagne, but the entertainment was spectacular. The best was first – a top notch orchestra, seated on electric blue steps, playing beautiful classical music. They were followed by dancers, a changing-mask performer, and parter acrobatics. 3 hours later, we took our leave and wandered the Bund and got harassed by a hawker until we took the boat ride he was offering. It was quite pleasant, and served as a lesson in saying yes, even when our automatic reaction would be to walk away.

Today started very early, so we took advantage of the opportunity to visit Yu Yuan before the crowds descended. It is a sprawling complex of shops and restaurants and gardens, in a traditional architecture style. We enjoyed dim sum, satisfying a yearning we’ve had for several months. We wandered through the gardens, which were filled with more dragonflies than either of us had ever seen.

Returning to the hotel, we found that we had missed our opportunity to get to Putuoshan, so we turned to plan B and hopped on a train to Hangzhou. It was a lovely and relaxing ride through towns and countryside. We had intended to go to Ningbo and stay the night, but found that we’d missed the last train once we’d gotten to Hangzhou. After failing plans C, D, E, and F, we are now at the West Lake Hostel, watching the sunset, proving that one just rolls with the changes until it all works out.

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An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.