Sunday, March 27, 2016

China - Shanghai

Traveling to China was always a bit of a daunting prospect because of the visa requirements. It wasn't the first time we'd had to do it - fill out an application, get photos, go to the embassy and hand over our documents - and we knew it took time and patience. In the end I think we're lucky to live so close to D.C. and we can do all of this ourselves. Most people have to travel to DC or another city that has an embassy, like San Francisco, or they have to pay a service to do it all for them. For this trip we made almost all of our arrangements (meaning plane tickets, train tickets and hotel reservations) in advance, something more unusual for us, and getting the visa was no problem at all, just a few trips to DC and a lot of waiting around. We were excited to go, and I prepared as much as I could, learning some Mandarin Chinese phrases and numbers. And what is nice, is that in Asia, they use the same number system that westerners do. Obviously it's hard to understand people but you can just look at a cash register and see what you owe. 
We got in to Shanghai at night and rode a cab in to the city. It had been a long ride. We took a much needed rest. We stayed in a nice hotel, the Astor House, established in 1846. They have retained a lot of their history; there are lots of little exhibits and artifacts sprinkled throughout, and the decor looks like it too has probably not changed much in design. It's a lovely place very close to the Bund.

Shanghai was a really cool city. It has lot of great architecture. You can walk along the Yangtze river; this area is called The Bund

It's a fun place; popular with tourists of all nationalities, you can do some people watching here.

We love to just explore cities on foot, and Shanghai has some nice areas to wander.

We stumbled onto a market just off the Bund and got a snack. I forgot a cardinal rule here and did not negotiate the price prior to making my purchase. We got overcharged but it's a mistake I haven't repeated since we went on this trip.

If you ask how much and it soudsn like too much, just wak away - there are lots of other options.

The syrupy, candied fruit on a stick seen above is a popular snack seen all over China near points of interest and food markets.

The Yuyuan bazaar and 'Old Town' or Old City of Shanghai doesn't actually feel old at all. It's more like a tourist trap; it's packed with people and primarily features shops. It still seems like a place any visitor to Shanghai should see, and might be best just to stroll through.

Shanghai has lots of malls and shopping areas.

Vies of the city at night at gorgeous. It's calm and quiet, or it was in our area, at night

A Chinese tourist wanted us to take his picture. He was very friendly and quite appreciative.

Shanghai was a really nice city to visit. I'm not big on shopping so I preferred other places we went in China, but I wouldn't turn down a trip back.

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