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Dan’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 13 Apr 2006

Location: Shanghai, China

MapGreetings from Shanghai.

I think that the site has fixed the bugs and I'll (hopefully) be able
to add more entries and a lot more pictures in the days to come. My
dad and I arrived in Shanghai yesterday. We flew out of Xian, were a
huge sandstorm was filling the sky, wrapping the entire city in a
cocoon of golden dust and sand. It wasn't until the plane poked
through the clouds that we could see clear sky. It was bizarre. Most
flights that day were delayed, but ours left on time...nice one! The
flight took a little over two hours and we made our way straight to
the hotel after we arrived safely at the airport; the scent of dust
still evident in our clothes.

Later that night I had arranged to meet up with a girl named Julie.
(Julie is a friend of my friend Wei). We had arranged for dinner at a
restaurant near the Shanghai Television Station, positioned smack dab
middle Shanghai. My dad and I got into a taxi and went on a ride I'll
never forget. We drove along a small twisting road and took the on
ramp to an expressway that would take us downtown. Shortly after
ascending the ramp we were numerous stories above the ground and had
an amazing view of skyscrapers on either side; illuminated in a
spectrum of neon colours. The expressway is built on enormous cement
stilts and towers over the streets below. I guess if you have 20
million people (and it feels like just as many cars), one has to find
supplementary locations for roads.

We met up with Julie and her friend Eddie, and went out for an
excellent meal that include a good 10 different servings, from tofu
and salmon, to noodles, fish, pork, etc, etc, etc. (This was also the
first time my dad and I knew what we were actually getting before the
food arrived. Whenever a waiter hands us the Chinese menu, we say
"MEAT, RICE/NOODLES, VEGETABLES". Then we sit back, sip on green tea
and wait. Sometimes we get what we want, other times we don't. But the
food has been amazing so far. )

Following dinner, Julie took my dad and me down to the Bund, which is
a section of riverfront along the Huangpu river, which until the early
1800's was undeveloped. In the early 1900's the Bund sprouted up with
buildings designed by architects from Britain, France, etc. Now the
architecture along the Bund includes amazing skyscrapers and towers
that shoot out of the ground. Along the river, one can see many cranes
that are in the middle of building taller and more unique buildings.
It will be an awesome sight in a couple years time.

After the Bund, we caught a taxi to Xin Tiandi, which was definitely a
highlight of this trip so far. It is an area that used to be part of
the former French Concession. All the old buildings have gotten a
modern update and are used as restaurants, bars, clubs and yes.. even
a Starbucks. (Down a narrow road is the building where the Chinese
Communist party was founded.) We decided to call it a night after one
beer, it was already past midnight.

Today our string of bad weather continued. It is pouring!!! So we
scrapped our planned itinerary and decided to go to the museum. With
Chinese ceramics and paintings galore, my dad and I spent most of our
time in the exhibit of 20th century painters. Picasso, Schiele, etc.
Some wonderful stuff!!!

We also returned to the Bund for a little bit, but the rain was just
coming down too strong for us to enjoy the view and we decided to head
back to the hotel to dry off. It is still raining as we speak but it
should clear up a bit later on. Might go back downtown!!

So that's what's up with us. I can't believe we've been in China for
over a week already. NUTS!!! Having a blast though, so that's good.
Pictures will follow