The sun had risen as the train pulled into Shanghai, so what else would I title the article?
We passed tea plantations where, just after 6am, people were already working in the fields.
As we skirted acres of poly tunnels I looked through raised railway lines to see the Shanghai skyline, though not the Bund, yet.
To my delight, I discovered that I would not be called as a witness in any police investigation, as the man had survived the night… despite his snoring and endless sniffing.
We all sat, my companions having gathered their luggage, sipping tea in that shell shocked ‘oh god, is it really morning’ manner of trying to wake up.
The train drew closer to the city centre.
We passed tall residential blocks and squatter groups of apartments along with vast green areas.
As we approached the station, I saw tree lined streets and parks. Laundry hung out of apartment windows.
We arrived and the exit was not as busy or as crowded as the arrival at Xi’an had been. It all seemed very relaxed.
Obviously, there was another ticket inspection and I found myself outside.
With the hostel only 30minutes’ walk away, I set off to check in and discover the free breakfast to end all free breakfasts.
Sticky rice porridge, boiled eggs, corn on the cob, egg fried rice, toast, broccoli, pickled vegetables and all as a buffet.
Today was just a out getting my bearings and drinking copious amounts if tea. Truly, I have found my people… again.
I’ve always wanted to see Shanghai and, yes I know it’s only the first day but, it really didnot disappoint. It is a beautiful city – a mix of old and new side by side.
Like Beijing, is a very logical city to navigate – grid layout in the centre – but it’s on a human scale. The centre is compact and nowhere is too far away from anything else.
The Bund is an amazing place for a stroll. On one side of the river, beautiful 1900s-1920s constructed buildings while on the other, the futuristic glass skyline.
And the waterfront is a great place to just watch the ships and boats of all shapes, sizes and functions ploughing their channels down the river.
Linking the Bund with the Old City, which largely remains as it was (though heavily ‘done up’) was Gucheng Park.
The small park was created in 2002 and planted to be representative of the local flora. The bamboo copse made a cool and shady place to get out of the afternoon sun.
Shanghai, like Beijing, is very green – lots of parks lots of green walkways.
Behind this park, the Yu Garden and its bazaar where there was also a Tao Temple.
So far on this trip, if you’ve been keeping an eye on Instagram, I’ve been to Russian Orthodox, Buddist and Confucian places of worship. It was about time I added another one to the mix.
And what of Yu Garden, the 15th Century Garden that survived the Cultural Revolution, a key heritage site within Shanghai, a must on anyone’s itinerary?
I have no idea. It was shut. Until the end of October.
I didn’t spend long around the market arcades. More people in Shanghai speak English than in Beijing or Xi’an.
This afternoon, it meant an unwelcome return to being on the end of the hard sell. I’d almost forgotten what that was like but, no, I didn’t want a watch or that watch either, and I didn’t need a new handbag either. And no, I wasn’t after a scarf, magnets or any magnets.
Then it was back to the Bund as the sun went down… and it really is every bit as spectacular as you have seen on the TV.
#Featured Photo: The Bund by day