Day off in Shanghai

Day off in Shanghai:

I was in Shanghai last year during EXPO 2010, and was going to visit this event generic clomid australia. Then I took one look at the long queue, and decided it was not for me.

I did though, paid a lot for lodging (as compared to a city with no events) last year, if I remember correctly, it was about $850 RMB a day for a four star hotel. This year I paid $ 198 RMB a day for a three star hotel, which is located just 300 meters from the world famous Wang Bo River.

I got there on a regular week day, a Tuesday. Believe me, China’s economy depends on her people, people visit other people, I believe tourism is the second largest growth industry in China, second only to automobile and electric bikes, more on those two topics later.

Let me back up a little bit, a one way bus ticket from Ningbo to Shanghai cost $ 100 RMB these days, the bus depot is clean, buses leave on time, and are air conditioned, seats are spacious enough, not designed for big people, they all have a four day old cloth head rest fitted on top of the seat – these head rest covers used to be white, well, at least a few days ago. The air conditioning system on board ran decent enough after about half an hour.

The trip lasts three hours, and the bus passed over a long bridge at about the half way point, it is called the Hangzhou Bay Cross Over Bridge (杭州灣 跨 海大橋) From Ningbo City to the north sore of the bridge takes 1 ½ hours. Half way through already!

This bridge spanned about thirty seven kilometers over the water way, the water way has large tracks of marsh lands on both coasts, then some fish farming set up, then the deep water. This bridge cuts back the travelling time substantially between Ningbo and Shanghai which used to be much longer.

I am a strong supporter of user pay system, this one way trip passed three toll booths. All super high ways and high ways in China are tolled. People here found a new status symbol – their family vehicle – do not seem to mind, nor do they have any choices. You drive, you pay. Gasoline here are not cheap, but about thirty cents a liter lower than the west coast of Canada.

I would vote China as the world’s number one country with the highest number of new vehicles – sedans, subcompacts, SUVs etc.

In a way, people’s insatiable taste for their new found freedom in personal movement has out strip every major city’s capacity and ability to provide parking spaces both during regular business hours in downtown cores and after hours in residential areas.

During rush hours, about eighty percent of vehicles being driven are single occupant vehicles. May be I am expecting too much too soon from a country which only had its taste of luxury things until very recently, say since the mid eighties. It no doubt will take a bit longer for the concepts of road civility to sink in for this highly mobile society.

I have been here for almost two months now; and I have enough white knuckles experience just being a front seat passenger.

Anyways, go back to my Shanghai trip, the second time around this city has lost a bit of her allure for me.

Shanghai is called “Pearl of the Orient” now and has taken over the name from Hong Kong. Its old world charm with European flare, many still stands today together with some really older style two stories residential buildings. This stretch is called the Outer City Walk Area (外灘 ).

I strolled along many of these low rise buildings during my short visit, and was amazed at some of the basic house hold amenities like a shared kitchen still exists. A shower cubicle with a flimsy door separates the person who showers and the world outside. Two blocks away you will find a five stars hotels, high end boutiques, and well dressed young people shopping for their next fashion wear.

The next morning it rained cats and dogs, all the down town tourists were absent from the famous river bank. I was told the Sixteen Docks (十六浦) not far from the north end of this famous and expansive stretch of property used to be the only water ways transport center that moves people and goods to other parts of China by way of water from Shanghai.

Anyway, I had a dumpling lunch after getting off the bus. It took a subway ride and a brisk walk of about twenty minutes. We got to the ground level of a beautiful downtown hotel where by coincidence is where our Canadian Embassy located, the Portman Hotel. I understand our Embassy staff also live in the same hotel complex – Courtesy of the Canadian tax payer.

This dumpling place is called Din Tai Fung (鼎太豐). Legion has it that when it started in Taiwan quite a few years ago. Her famous Generalissimo Chang had the famous dumplings delivered to his breakfast table every morning.

Well, we had two bowls of plain noodles (陽春麵), and twelve (two orders) dumplings. The bill came to $200 RMB. Consider one can have the same two items in other eateries of lesser caliber for between $30 to $50 RMB.
I guess it is the experience of being there? Or the name supersedes the value?

Next day before we got back to Ningbo, we went visiting a local temple. Where in Chinese culture, every city has one; the (城煌廟) Temple has turned into a famous tourist attraction many years ago. It sells all sorts of tourists’ souvenirs, knickknacks, and food; of course.

We Chinese people love to eat, after a long line up and sat down lunch in
another of those self proclaimed world renounced dumpling restaurant, we
came across a huge food fair around just around the corner.
Inside were all sorts of enticing regional and Taiwan flavor that you can pick
out of a long spotless counter.

When you are satisfied, you then pay on your way out at the end of your
food line up. We have no shortage of food or customers here.

Anyways, the rain continuous, and we found our way back to the subway
station, a short walk in an underground subway, and we got back to the
South bus terminal.

With bus ticket in hand, we were on the way home. Back to work tomorrow.

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