A Pleasant Day

20.04.2010
After breakfast, we decided to travel to Shanghai. Conveniently the Metro was not far, so after a short walk and on working out how to use the ticket machine, we travelled on a packed but very clean and efficient train to Central Avenue, the journey took around thirty minutes snaking along canyons squeezed between rows of identical tower blocks. From Central Avenue, we walked (using the tourist map) to The Bund, a mile-long stretch of waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River. Even though there was low cloud and most of the tops of the skyscrapers were in cloud, the linear park and walkway along its banks were very pretty and views of the City were spectacular. We sat awhile on a low wall by the smallest lighthouse I have ever seen eating a pear and watching the river traffic ply their trade until the sun came out.
We were surprised when we came across the 646.7-meter-long pedestrian ‘ Sightseeing Tunnel‘ under the river. It was quite an exciting journey as we travelled in our little cab underneath the river with amazing light displays all the way. When we emerged on the other side, the sun was heating up this megacity it had begun to feel quite hot, and I had to take off a few layers of clothing to stay cool. We emerged on Nanjing Road, China’s premier shopping street, the 5.5-km-long and after a brief stop for drinks, decided to walk down its length. Though reputedly you can buy anything there, I think is not as good for shopping as Hong Kong and the street food is not as tasty as in Bangkok.
We caught a little Tourist Train that slowly made its way along the road, thus saving our feet from an inevitable pounding on heated pavements. Eventually reaching the end we stopped for iced tea and then a hot chocolate at a Starbucks. Refreshed we had a lovely walk through ‘The People’s Park‘, originally part of a race course it is quite cooling sitting in the shade of the trees watching numerous games of cards and backgammon played by the city’s citizens, it is a very place pretty and we took loads of photos.
Around 4 pm we set off back to the hotel. We used the Metro again, and despite numerous connections only went wrong once. I have started to get mildly annoyed by the locals insisting on giving up their seats for me on any transport I use, even those that are clearly much older than I will insist on me sitting in their place. We got back to Pudong just after 5 pm to find that it had rained there all day, it truly is a huge city. As we arrived back at the hotel, we were informed by some of our other guests that a Virgin flight had left full with passengers delayed from the 15th of April. They were hopeful that we would fly in 4-5 days.  Later I contacted Virgin and they confirmed that the flight had left but had been turned around and was now back in Shanghai. We still have a return date of 5th May. We can survive until then I am sure.
That evening we tried a different restaurant in Pudong. I had a very hot Chinese dish and Sue had a milder and more pleasant Japanese one. It was lashing it down with rain when we left the establishment and we got very wet on our rush back to the Ibis. It was another night of watching Chinese TV and reading before sleep. Before sleep swept over us we agreed that we had had a very nice day!

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