April 2007 - China

Up at 6am (it takes a while for Mum and Dad to get ready; they need to have breakfast), car at 8, airport at 9, plane at 10, Shanghai airport at 12, Hotel at 2pm. That’s the morning, lets move onto the good stuff.

Arriving at a Four Seasons is like arriving home, it’s just so comfortable and no matter how busy it is they always make you feel important. We are on Level 23 of a 37 with a view out to Shanghai and on a clear night (rare) we can see the Pearl Tower. So we sat in the room, waiting for Dad to finish his email when a Goodyear blimp turns up in the skyline.

We headed up to the bar on Level 37 for a spot of what we thought would be afternoon tea, but ended up they only had a snack menu, so after ordering 2 sandwiches and getting 1 (things get lost in translation so often here; maybe I have a funny accent) we were off to see the city from the ground.

Walking up Nanjing street (very famous shopping strip with many a neon light) we would have been hassled by more people selling dvds, watches and shoe shines than the rest of our trip to date (and that’s saying something). Some even stepped over the line of motivated seller to the aggressive seller. Like the shoe shine guy that wouldn’t take no for an answer, dabbed something on Dad’s shoe and 50m later when Dad was trying to wipe it off appeared from nowhere to finish the job. One dirty, one shiny shoe later, Dad finally escaped.

The No.1 Department store on Nanjing street was felt like very ‘old China’. No funky fashion, just your simple necessity items, needless to say this is not the shopping that Mum and I were hoping for. The trend continued down Nanjing street with nothing really catching our eye besides the mass of people… EVERYWHERE! We walked and walked and walked and finally made it down to the Bund, the old colonial street running along the river. We crossed over and took a short walk along the river taking photos of Pudong. It was still very smoggy, but we were about to find out the next day, it can get worse!

So, it was still light when we tried to catch a cab back to the Hotel. After being unsuccessful on the Bund we started walking back in the direction of the Hotel, we ended up in a queue for a taxi at the Sofitel and just as we had given up hope and started walking all the way back to the Hotel, two taxis came (we were second in line). Needless to say after a decent 45 mins of taxi hunting and navigating the masses of people all afternoon there was no way we were heading out of the Hotel for dinner. So we settled with the Steak House which included a salad bar and dessert in the price of the main meal. Chocolate ice cream for dessert? YES!