Shanghai – Whore of the Orient

Saved the last of my pennies to afford a flight from Beijing to Shanghai, still not sure if I would have been better off getting the train…either way it was still like being in folded into a tin can next to a furnace. But it got me to my destination eventually (after a 3hr delay)

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Shanghai – The (smoggy) Whore of the Orient

Still had another few weeks on my own, so now it was time for some proper exploring! Shanghai is a funny place, skyscrapers as high (and higher) than you can see – the Shanghai World Financial Centre is the highest observation point in the world!) But in between these huge buildings you will come across sprawling shanty towns and forgotten suburbs home to once majestic buildings.

The hostel was right in the centre of town, and suitably near a KTV bar. So on the first night – after spending most of the evening partying in a pent house at the top of one of these grand skyscrapers-  my new found hostellers and I headed to the bar, ordered two kegs of beer, and sang our hearts out until 6am – resulting in me losing my voice! Ouch!

Next morning it was time for food shopping, or more, bespoke patisserie hunting. I had heard of a great little place with very detailed and well-crafted French-style patisserie (yes, in China, I know!) so it only seemed right that I went in search of such delicacies. I eventually discovered ‘HoF’, standing for ‘House of Flour‘, the brainchild of Brian Tan, one of China’s greatest five-star hotel pastry chefs. And it wasn’t just patisserie they did, they were mainly famous for soups and salads, more so than the pastries…I have no idea why since they were absolutely amazing!

29TH AUGUST

Having been here almost a week I was beginning to know where everything was, and even pick up a bit of Shanghainese (like Mandarin Chinese, only the accent is completely different).

The great thing about traveling, solo or otherwise is the amount of like-minded people you come across on your journey. Today I’d met two Yorkshire lads about my brother’s age, on a gap year. After helping them sort their train tickets out for their next destination (might as well practice all the Chinese I’ve learnt while I can) they treated me to a trip up to the SWFC (Shanghai World Financial Centre). It’s reported that this tower has the highest observation point in the world, I’m sure there must be a bigger one in Dubai! Maybe one day England will have a go too!

En route to the Shanghai Financial Center we detoured by the ‘Bund Sightseeing Tunnel’ which unfortunately was hugely overrated. Expecting this to be one of the highlights of the day we were left feeling conned, like when a small child buys an extra large bag of Monster Munch, to find out it’s only about 1/2 full! Hugely disappointed, we decided it would have been only marginally better if we were drunk. We made a quick exit.

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Finally at the SWFC, it was great heading all the way up to the top, the elevator told you the height you were ascending to, and so did your ears! Once at the observation point you could look all around…and down, if you dared! We sat around at the top waiting for the sun to go down so we could get some night shots too. To while away the time we thought it a good idea to play some card games, but security at the top had other ideas tho ‘No gambling on the tower’ they said. Well, that was the end of that, but the view was stunning at least, so it was worth the wait!

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Author: ellecoco

A buckaneering chocolatier, fuelled by chocolate, powered by adventure...

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