First off, Shanghai is not at all what I expected.
Mash up of old and new, modern and archaic, but it all works so well.
I had thought it would be similar to Hong Kong, but while on the outside it seems similar, there are some critical differences that change the lifestyle and atmostphere of the place.
Main difference is that the Shanghai Metro shuts at 10pm. In Hong Kong, it runs till 1am. The development in HK has been fairly consistent whereas Shanghai has been so exponential in such a short space of time. So the mum & pa restaurants that are renowned in HK, or the street markets with the established side restaurants don't really exist in Shanghai. It's either franchises (Bi Fen Tang), Western ones (McD's) and then you have the very very cheap noodle/ rice stores which cost 7 yuan/ RMB. The local Shanghainese haven't had a chance to really catch up to the massive spurt of growth.
So we kinda expected to have the freedom to wander and choose from the delicious restaurants that litter HK streets & side-streets, all at a prety reasonable, consistent price. Also shopping in HK goes on till late (midnight) but Shanghai doesn't have this and most restaurants shut at 10pm, shops around 8 or earlier cos their workers need to get home somehow.
We stayed at the New Harbour Serviced Apartment, which was so much like a hotel crossed with a club-house. It was a pleasant surprise. Seperate review to come when I get some decent internets.
For now, here's some pics of the first day. We wandered the streets near the hotel (100 metres walk from the Da Xi Xie Metro Station) and walked through these streets all the way to the Yu Yuan gardens.This was (in retrospect) a massive 5+ kilometre walk in 30+ C degree heat. We chilled at the Hu Xinting Tea House there for about an hour before a swarm of tourists arrived.
It was a GPS led affair but we took a slow walk through the old parts of Shanghai which I hope will still stay as the local markets, barber shops, recycling stores and street food are it's heart and was the most faschinating part of the trip. Separate post just on this coming up.
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