Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Arriving in Shanghai the weather had got wet, it had decided to rain… and rain. Undeterred by mere rain clouds I set out to have a look around. The guesthouse seemed to be basically the top floor of an old folk’s home, every time you go down the stairs the same old Chinese people are sitting in chairs, dreaming. Being a bit of a distance away from the main downtown area meant figuring out the buses, always a challenge in a foreign country. At least the bus stop was right outside the guesthouse. The main bus route leads down one big road to the riverside. Only trouble with this is all the bus stops are called Yannan Road. I just stayed on the crowded bus until the end of the line which ends at the Bund, Shanghai’s famous historical district. Lots of European architecture, home primarily to banks & high fashion stores now. Across the river stands a giant tower, this can be reached by taking the tourist tunnel underground. Not quite sure who come up with this strange ride. You hop on a small four-person train carriage and it rolls away down the tunnel as the psychedelic light show begins. On through more lights and “meteor showers” and waving air-people before reaching the other side. All very odd.

Over the river there are some giant shopping malls and more rain! I headed into a small museum which had some wildlife exhibits, but in a very Chinese way. The stuffed turtle was covered in coins and notes, as was the crocodile. Money thrown in by visitors hoping for luck. I noticed another turtle with coins on its back and notes covering the floor, I was a bit surprised to see that it was alive! At least it has its shell to protect itself from the coins being thrown onto it.

Another day I headed off to the art museum which was really rather good. There was a large cultural festival being thrown around this time so lots of exhibits. Some of them were somewhat curious, such as the room filled with toy JCB’s whirring about. Or the multimedia area where a camera is placed above a table and then a processed image is projected back onto the table. This allows a rather strange display where it looks like a river of colour flowing across the table, controlled by the placement of the cups and saucers, or even a wave of the hand which leave a wake or ripple of light. Mmm, hard to explain! Later at night I went for a drink, I got a glass of beer and a 3quid+ bill, “Happy Hour” the waitress explained, yikes! Turned out it was 2 for 1 as another one arrived when the first finished, so not so bad. I saw a poster for the Scottish Woman’s Cricket Team, I wonder what was greater the number of players or the number of spectators? Well anyway I managed to make it out without being Shanghaied<

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