Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Day in Shanghai

On a recent business trip to Shanghai, I had about half a day to see the city on my own. Not much time so I tried to make the most of it! The night before the team had gone down to the Bund and I was able to get this video. The hotel was all the way out in Hongqiao, so going back to the Bund seemed like a losing proposition.

From my hotel, I walked to the Metro Line No. 2. Long walk but through a pretty bustling area. Construction is rampant in Shanghai right now so good shoes were critical along with close attention to traffic. Unfortunately for me, Line 10 had just opened up and would have been a shorter walk for me. Check online for up-to-date maps for the Metro - things are changing quickly!

My first stop was People's Square. Exiting the Metro, I took exit 7 to the "pedestrian shopping area". Along the way - totally overwhelming the sheer multitude of shops! I didn't have alot of time, but I could have easily done all my shopping in the metro tunnels. When I came up into the open area, there was an underpass to the shopping area. Again - just clearly overwhelming. Nike had a store, Sephora had a store, there were huge Chinese department stores and little alleys with all sorts of shops and restaurants. This area is the East Nanjing Road pedestrian shopping area - in other words, the road is closed to cars which is a very good thing. Since I cannot really describe this area, a few pictures are going to have to suffice:

Since I wasn't really in the frame of mind for true shopping, I headed back to the Metro and hopped on Line 1 to Huangpi Rd South - part of the French Concession area. I had a walking map from my Lonely Planet Shanghai guide and was determined to walk the whole thing. Unfortunately, LP let me down on this one. Much of the walking tour was along busy streets with over-priced tourist shops and high-end namebrand stores. The one big gem out of this walk was the Xintiandi district. The pedestrian area has re-built shikumen and plenty of restaurants. I suspect it is a bit of a Western ex-pat area, clearly designed for tourism, but I still enjoyed it.

In the Xintiandi district, I stopped off for lunch at Aniseed and had some lovely tea and delicious Pho. Yum! Walking further along I came across the Shikumen Open House Museum - absolutely lovely! The entry fee was 20 RMB and some of the best money I spent while in Shanghai.

 Skikumen Open House Museum

Walking further along the walking map, I came to Fuxing park. Pleasant, but nothing spectacular. The acrid fumes of cars from the busy streets even penetrate the parks, taking a bit of the enjoyment out of them.

Finally, exhausted and annoyed I had done the walking trip instead of going to the Taikang Road Art Center, I headed back to my hotel. Time Out magazine is published for Shanghai, and while the website is not in English, I found a printed  version that called out my hotel's neighborhood as a pretty happenin' area. I was intrigued by the park I could see out my window - across the freeway - and decided to give it a try. The park was nice enough, but suffered the same thing problem as other parks in Shanghai due to the heavy exhaust fumes. To make it more interesting, a Metro station was being built in the park. Not kidding. Check out the irony in this sign:

 This sign says "Everyone has duty to protect green". Except the Metro lines...

Not 10 feet from this construction was a bamboo forest:
You can tell from the haze of these pictures how the quality of air is a major factor.

Up by Loushanguan Road were zillions of shops, restaurants and all sorts of diversions. I wish I'd had time to explore, but I had a plane to catch.

Happy Travels!

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