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Hetty & Jim’s Travel Diary

Monday, 18 Sep 2006

Location: Shanghai, China

MapHello all, actually have a decent internet connection, what a bonus!
Landed in Shanghai on Tuesday 12th Sept at about 5pm. Shanghai is an enormous city with 17 million people. Jim described it as a supercity, the scale of it almost beyond comprehension.

The minute we left the airport we were in peak hour traffic which seems to go on well into the night. The only time to travel without traffic is the early hours of the morning till 7.00am. They seem to get going a bit later than we do in Melbourne. What struck us again were the unbelievable amount of highrises kilometre upon kilometre and the number of business skyscrapers each with a different roofline and each reaching a bit higher than the next. They were all well lit up with neon lights giving a fairyland impression. I did wonder where on earth all the cars go once they get off the road!
The next morning Melanie & Michael and ourselves plucked up the courage to try the metroto the people's square. Once you use your ticket for the last time the machine swallows it perhaps to be used again! Once we understood how the ticket system worked we found it to be fast and efficient.

The people's square and park surrounding it, provided a tranquil place in such a busy city. It reminded me of central park in New York. To build the park the government relocated 170,000 people showing that Democracy is not always the most efficient way of getting things done even when it would appear to be in the public interest. Imagine trying to achieve this in Melbourne! It convinced us that if Aust had a one party gov. Toowoomba would be well on its way to drinking recycled water.

We walked on to the Grand Theatre where we met Brigid from Endeavour Hills. Breigid's son is Simba in The Lion king presently playing in Shanghai with an all Australian cast and crew.

From here we walked down a side lane only to discover people selling pet crickets in the cutest little bamboo cages.There was also an assortment of all sizes of tortoises terrapins fish and underwater plants.
The highlight of the afternoon was a trip on the very fast train(magnetic levitation) to the airport. The trip lasted 7 minutes and the train got up to a speed of 431 KPH. Unbelievable feeling to see everything. From there toThe Jim Mao tower which took us up 369 metres for a bird's eye view of Shaghai. It is a beautiful building which also allows you to look down from the top to the bottom floor. It gave an interesting view of the heights of the different skyscrapers and their varied roofs.
Our last port of call was the Children's palace - an old house given over to Children's arts. Here we watched childrenaged 5-9 playing traditional musical instruments and a ballet class. It was funny to see children not concentrating and the teacher trying to politely get them back on track. Some things do not change wherever you are! The balmy evening provided us with a trip up the Hangpu river giving us a fabulous view of the city lit up. It was a great experience. The BUND - equivalent to Southbank was teaming with people involved with all kinds of activities. Many families strolling along enjoying the cities lights.

Our last day inShanghai was spent in a silk factory then the Yu gardens central to THE BUND.It had many pagoda type buildings with courtyards and water features.We then walked through the main shopping mall but could not find a camera or Internet place to offload photos. Jim & Melanie our travelling companion did go to an optompetry shop and ordered glasses and contacts. - much much cheaper than Melbourne.We also looked inside some of the buildings the architecture of which was beautiful. Unfortunately while we were out Michael's back pack disappeared off our bus. Luckily for him there was nothing of great value in it. That evening we were treated to an unbelievable acrobatic show. We marvelled at the strength and athleticism, as they jumped three to four people high on one another's shoulders holding twirling plates, ribbons and hats in their hands. The motor cycle stunt had us holding our breath. 6 motorcyles all driving around inside a not so large cylindrical cage at a tremendous speed. The excitement must have been too much for Jim as he fell out of bed for the second time that evening.

We really enjoyed Shanghai .
Check out the Yangtze photos