Shanghai

Oh Shanghai. Shanghai. How I wanted to love thee. All of your pictures look so modern. All of those guides say you are so cool. I don’t know what you are, but you aren’t it yet, like every city in China outside of Hong Kong as far as I can tell.

Coming from the airport I didn’t believe the cabbie. I still don’t believe that fucker, but I shouldn’t of yelled, so I am actually sorry fucker. My bad. It honestly wasn’t that expensive, I just didn’t like the way he went…like I have any idea of what I’m talking about. To be fair I had just flown from Frankfurt and was kind of a mess!

So my hotel was right at the start of, and my first experience in Shanghai was, Nanjing Road. This road truly reminds me of Taksim square in Istanbul. Pedestrian for the most part, huge, and everyone is your friend. Hey friend, come look at my shop! Hey friend, you like lady? Hey friend, where are you from!? BUT, in Shanghai they grab you. They walk with you. They are pleasant enough, but aggressive. I yelled at a guy, like I am pretty polite and I had to put my foot down with this guy. Well, about 10 minutes later I’m looking around and there was the guy! He was following me! In case I needed anything he said. Holy shit. I wasn’t exactly scared per se, but I was quite aware after that moment. It seems that every single side street off this monstrous and amazing avenue has a brothel or some sort of store that I may be interested in. At this point though, I was on a mission. I had to make my way to the end of this fucking road.

And it was a long one…BUT at the end is something marvelous. The road gives way to the Bund and its park. The Bund is a huge avenue where you can find the old colonial buildings of Shanghai. This is neat stuff, like you’re in Paris or something, and completely lining the street. Not made up shit like you usually find in China but the real deal. Old world imperialism. And then you have the other side of the river, and what a site that is to behold. New York has too many sky scrapers to really let you see how exciting each one is, Shanghai is perfect, at this very moment, to let that all soak in. It’s actually unusual because they shouldn’t have so many mega tall buildings without any building filler, but it works. It is amazing to see. It is not necessarily amazing to hang out there. The Bund and its promenade can become very boring very fast. Get your pics then it’s off to the next thing (but I would come during the day and the night).

My first night was spent at the Grand Hyatt Bar (Cloud 9). This was recommended everywhere because of its amazing views and its popularity. It is most definitely popular, but the rest is triple meh. Maybe quadruple. I’ve seen skylines before, and to call this bullshit spot a must do is a joke to lists as we know them. The fucking back bar liquor was sitting on metal work tables. METAL work tables! I mean that’s a joke. The ceilings were like 8 feet high! AND. AND they allow smoking. This place kind of sucked. The drinks weren’t so bad but fuck man, this place was designed by an idiot. That’s the funny thing about China though. Doesn’t matter one bit, the place was packed.

I also spent some time trying to go up the unfinished Shanghai Tower. Apparently they don’t like you going to the top floor when the top floor hasn’t been constructed yet…so I settled with the World Financial Center. This place is a knock your socks off kinda place. World Trade Center height with much better viewing stations, including a multitude of informational panels telling you what you’re looking at and the history of said sites. The floor has clear panels so you can look straight down. The elevators have cool audio and lighting (though it can be off putting) and modern style. There are multiple levels of retail/restaurant/viewing. The only problem I had with this place was how much money they obviously spent on showing and explaining how freaking tall it is…cept for that much bigger building now being constructed right next to you…oops. Still cool though.

Trying to find your way back from this financial area can be daunting. There are cabs of course but the traveler in me knew there had to be a better way, in comes the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. I’m thinking we’re walking right? Maybe some river viewing stations or some shit. Nope, it’s a ride. It’s a funky fucking, old school Disney ride, to get from one side of the river bank to the other. It’s kind of like being in a gondola underground, but they go crazy with sounds and stupid laser beam visuals. I only saw one benefit to this dark and at times disturbing car that I sat alone in for about 15 minutes…you know what I’m talking about girl 🙂

I did the People’s square and surrounding parks. They suck. The square itself is completely ridiculous. People actually sit there and pray and shit to this dumb ass soundtrack from the 70’s. A tribute to Mao I suppose but man it was terrible. Reminded me of Moscow. Their great and big museum is there but fuck that noise.

They do have an old town, and I give it mixed reviews. Some parts seem old and some parts are recreated to seem old. There is certainly a reconstructed village which made me cringe. Overall I enjoyed this part of town. It was the type of place you could get lost in and still be happy until you found yourself back in the Starbucks and McDonalds part of the area. The old street also includes the entrance to Yuyuan Garden, which is an ancient meditation type place with temples and various water and stone features. It was mildly entertaining. I do imagine that 500 years ago that park must of been the tits. Like seriously the old school jam.

I thought the food was very cool and very Chinese, in a good way. One day I had whole baby chicken. That’s a little fucked up obviously but kind of cool too.

Notes to self:

-Dude, dumplings. They have many kinds of course, but the jam were the steamed dumplings with the fried bottoms, it was the best of both worlds…what a thing.
-Everything in Shanghai is further than it seems. If you are walking, do not trust the map!
-After everything I did I realized that I never made it to the French Concession…a dumb mistake I have read, and something I meant to experience.
-I actually used Uber quite a bit in Shanghai. Pretty surprised at how easy it was…especially when I found they have zero presence in Beijing.


Hotels

Le Royal Meridien Shanghai (Sep 2015)