The city of lights

Day 50
Shanghai, China

We were up early this morning for our hour flight aboard Hainan Airlines (no, I’d not heard of them either). It was a pretty uneventful trip, with wheels down in PVG at around 10:30 a.m. After an hour’s bus ride, we arrived at the Piao Ying Hotel, our base in Shanghai for the next three nights.

We had a quick lunch at the hotel before walking to Nanjing Road, the longest pedestrian shopping street in China. It is this country’s answer to Times Square, lined with department stores, cafes, hotels, neon billboards and countless hawkers of bootleg Rolex, Fendi and Gucci gear.

The Shanghai Museum is a vast collection of antiquities, ranging from porcelain and bronze to furniture and costumes. After about 2 hours browsing through its many exhibits, we headed to YuYuan Gardens and Bazaar, located in the old Chinese section of the city. This area really highlights the contrasts of Shanghai: traditional buildings stand in the shadows of imposing skyscrapers that have been constructed nearby.

The bazaar has become something of a tourist trap, which after spotting a Dairy Queen, we were actually quite thankful of. Blizzards in hand, we worked our way to the Bund, probably the most famous location in this city. A stretch along the waterfront, this is the Shanghai of the 1920s, with the impressive architecture and facades of old banks, trading houses, consulates and hotels.

On Saturday and Sunday nights, the entire Bund is illuminated in lights, making for an impressive view, including of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, one of the sights we’ll be visiting tomorrow. (See my buddy’s Larry’s photos.) Walking around afterwards, we stumbled upon the Bund Brewery, which had some much welcomed ice-cold microbrews and a delicious bacon cheeseburger waiting for me. No complaints here.

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