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Back to China - Shanghai - Nanjing - Hangzhou - August / September 2012 - Page 6

Day 16 - Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Expo of urban decay

In 2010, Shanghai had a giant world expo. There was much controversy as you had to line up for hours in the sun. That was until people figured out that if you turned up with a disabled person you were shown straight to the front of the queue.
Pretty soon everyone was turning up in wheelchairs, and the rule had to be changed, and genuine disabled people also had to wait in a queue.
The site is over in Pudong, every other country ripped their stuff down as soon as it was over, but China left there giant pavillion. It is however now shut.
Thats ok with me, the real interesting thing was seeing all the supporting hotels, restaurants, water front parks and amusements etc. that have fallen into a total state of disrepair, with no one at all to be seen.
On the actual expo site theres some work going on, I understand apartments will soon be built. Presumably once thats done and people move in they will fix up the water side again. At the moment you can walk in the buildings, windows are missing, furniture is still there in some cases, parks are over grown, the decking has holes in it through to the water. It was great!

It is far from everywhere, perhaps somewhat ashamed of what the site has become the subway station nearest has been closed, this doesnt defeat me though, I am happy to walk in the blazing sun.
I was however happy to find a ferry across the water, as walking back again along the same path would have been a bit boring.

The China pavillion. Now closed. Yet tour busses still come to examine the closed. People still try and sell key chains and t-shirts. Perhaps they do better business now than ever, as theres not much else to do!

This arena is right on top of the closed subway station. I think this still operates though, presumably they open the station only when theres an event on.

Its me in the abandoned water front area. You can see one of the holes down to the water below in the foreground. It is a spooky place being there on your own, big ships going past constantly.

The ferry caters pretty much just for scooters, they are not allowed to use the enormous bridge which looms large overhead.

The view from the ferry was impressive. The fare to cross without a scooter, about 9 cents.

The ferry captain likes to get close to big ships going past.

This is looking down from the central atrium of the NEW WORLD ZILAM DEPARTMENT STORE. I dont know what Zilam means.

My lunch, surprised? A sandwhich with the crust cut off. I was starving and this place had seats. I regretted my decision immediately after when I turned a corner and found 20 better choices for lunch with available seats.

Still walking

Last night in Shanghai, this time tomorrow I will be on the plane.
So what to do except go on a giant walk?
I discovered that Chongning road wich changes names a few times but starts near Zhongsan park and snakes around to the Shanghai railway station is interesting and busy for the entire journey.
The start is the excellent cloud 9 mall, which I visited last time I was here. It has at least 50 huge restaurants in it. Last time I must have gone on a weekend as there were big lines everywhere, tonight I could take my pick which was exciting.

Something I forgot from this morning, at breakfast I sat next to a salary man from Japan. He asked me a lot of questions then told me he was jealous that I can freely move around the city.
It seems that due to this island dispute going on between China and Japan, and also another one between Japan and South Korea, he cant function in China anymore.
He has been working here most of the time for a few years, but now no one is prepared to do business with him.
He is very upset with the mayor of Tokyo who has 'bought' the small island at the centre of the dispute. I have been following this story but I dont understand who the mayor has bought this island from.
Anyways Japanese salary man is heading home this weekend.
I am heading home tomorrow, unfortunately. But my flight isnt until the evening, so I have a full day to watch the clock waiting for it to be time to go to the airport. The airport should be fun, I have only ever arrived at Pudong, not departed, so its like going to a new airport for me. One of the most exciting things for me to do.

This building towers above the giant Cloud 9 mall. I dont think it was there a year ago.

For dinner, I had Korean style BBQ. No carbs! I will probably have noodles for lunch tomorrow.
Ordering was fun, the waitress talked me out of more vegetables. She then tried to talk me into more meat. But that was foolish of her because I had no desire for chicken hearts or tripe.

You leave the paper on to cook. Theres a range of sauces you can use but I decided to go au naturale. I left the food un sauced too.

My epic walk home passed many buildings. This is a KTV karaoke bar. There was a similar large place that was apparently a snooker club. I am not convinced these places are constructed just for snooker and singing along to lady gaga.

The only time I have ever seen helmets. On a busy street corner a pop up late night child care roller derby park.

This sign depicts a new subway line under construction. Look how many lines it interchanges with! Now I have reason to come back again.

These guys were pretty good. Especially the girl drummer. She looked absolutely hopeless but actually played really well. Like a hybrid robot / animal from the muppets.

The blue ring of pedestrian overpass blinds oncoming traffic in every direction.

David on 2012-09-11 said:
no, just a rope you swing from. Yank on it twice to go up and once to go down. Theres a horse up the top that walks around in circles on a pulley thing. It takes longer to go down because the horse isnt as good at walking backwards.

mummy on 2012-09-11 said:
Does the department store have open sided lifts?

Day 17 - Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Countdown to deportation

Time to go home, nearly. My flight is at 1945 and I have to check out at 1000. Nothing to do then except wander the city endlessly.
Of course because I have to do this and have no opportunity for a shower, its hot as hell and the pollution has returned.
Not to worry, I get one last meal in Shanghai, followed by a long trip on the subway, followed by a visit to the Pudong airport, followed by 11 hours on Qantas, followed by transferring in Sydney via bus, followed by another 2 hours to Adelaide, followed by a taxi.
I took a lot of photos today of boring stuff, so I will write boring text next to them.

This long line is to buy moon cakes from Shanghai food store. Apparently their moon cakes are best. These are bought for the harvest moon festival which is in a couple of weeks time.
I was in Korea when it was on last year, you can also buy giant gift boxes of spam, which cost a fortune.

Subway sandwhich tv, LIVE!

The pearl tower, through the pollution haze...

This plant is apparently recycling. Another waste management photo!

Towelheads. Its not racist if they are actually wearing towels on their heads.

I rode another ferry across from the bund. This one was meant for people not scooters. But then they dont let you outside. The other one was more fun!

My last meal, noodles and dumplings from 1900. This time the noodles come with pork and chilli oil. The dumplings are 2 normal pork ones and 2 crab ones. All were excellent.

I found another shopping centre roof to climb out onto. Its amazing that theres no one here, the shops below were packed out at lunch time. I think its because you have to take a flight of stairs to get up here and everyones too lazy.

In the middle of all the big buildings is a sizeable park, with no one in it. Just me, the cleaners, and a couple of office people with no work to do.

And the 3 biggest buildings overlooking the park. I was up the very top of the bottle opener building a couple of weeks ago. If it fell over now it would hit me. I wasnt overly concerned though.

Second lunch, purely to spend my last remaining Yuan. It was ok, but expensive! Cost nearly as much as lunch.

Mush! Old people are pulling this cart like dogs pull sleds. Its valuable cargo is worth the effort apparently.

Dude, wheres my train?

I eventually found myself at what is supposed to be the stolen goods market.

There were indeed a lot of ancient mobile phones no one would want, as well as a heap of SANY, SOMSANG etc clones. Also masses of karaoke machines, including huge PA speakers and amps.

Later I found this endless tunnel to nowhere. It is supposed to connect two subway lines, but one end was now closed as best I could tell.

After many semi delusional hours wandering in the sun, I arrived at the airport. The departure hall is expectedly large.

Qantas has no lounge of their own, they use some bullshit VIP lounge which has no desks, nowhere to eat, terrible food, no showers. I stupidly ate sandwhiches out of boxes and plain salad and a banana....

Stupid because right next door is the Cathay pacific lounge which I can also get into which has great food! Dim sum buffet, noodle bar etc. Too bad I was already full.
This update was rushed, as I have to board soon. It will have mistakes and I reserve the right to fix it later!

Day 18 - Thursday, 13 September 2012

No legroom photos

I am back in Sydney.
Still have to get to Adelaide.
The 10 hour flight was uneventful, largely thanks to the wonders of Xanax, which puts me to sleep but doesnt make me tired. I have no idea how it works.
Here I am typing this now just minutes after getting off the plane and I am typing at full speed without making any errors.

I was really rushed in Shanghai airport, normally I get to airports many hours too early but as Qantas only has one flight a day to anywhere in China, I heard you can only check in 2 hours before the flight and that the lounges are crap, which indeed is true.
However worse than that, the internet in the Cathay pacific lounge was so slow that I couldnt even upload my photos from the day.

I cant remember much about the flight, I declined dinner and watched parts of the movie Dark Shadows, I was asleep before it finished and remained asleep until they came with breakfast, then went to sleep again until the wheels hit the ground. Virtual teleportation.

As for my trip in general, I delcare it best trip ever! I say that in my Juan Antonio Samaranch voice.
All locations visited were great, Nanjing and Hangzhou warranted more time. If I had my time over again as I think I mentioned elsewhere, I would spend less time in Shanghai as I had been there before, and more time in the surrounding locations.
I could easily go to Shanghai again and go to other nearby cities I havent visited yet, such as Ningbo, Shaoxing, Heifei just to name a few. Bullet trains are great things.
Highlights were climbing hills in the soaring heat. Admittedly that may have been better a month or so later. But I never really suffered from the heat.
Strangely my feet blistered up after about 2 days, but then after I drained them of fluid (which is great fun), they never really hurt again. Same goes for my back, it hurt for 2 days and since then its fine. The morale of this story is, just keep walking, once you have done that initial 100km or so you get into the zone. Or something.

I probably wont type anything else unless theres an epic drama getting to Adelaide, enjoying free coffee in the Qantas lounge in Sydney now.
Pictures below are pointless, like most of those above!

Riding the bus in Sydney between terminals. I am as dumbfounded as ever that we persist with this nonsense in Australia.

Second breakfast is delicious, mainly the candied walnuts.

One last picture of me, typing this. I already put my contact lenses in because I suffer from extreme vanity.


Latest Update

Day 1 - Monday, 27 August 2012
  Time to go
  Getting here
Day 2 - Tuesday, 28 August 2012
  I forgot my passport
  My bag arrived
Day 3 - Wednesday, 29 August 2012
  Wuxi, the dusty city
  More canals, far canals
Day 4 - Thursday, 30 August 2012
  There is no museum
  Bottle opener
Day 5 - Friday, 31 August 2012
  No train pictures
  Bed turn down service
Day 6 - Saturday, 1 September 2012
  Sombre please
  Twice as lost
Day 7 - Sunday, 2 September 2012
  Purple haze
  Sleep now please
Day 8 - Monday, 3 September 2012
  Panda dead, again
  Cool weather is cool
Day 9 - Tuesday, 4 September 2012
  Wet, lost and confused
  Rivers of mud
Day 10 - Wednesday, 5 September 2012
  The lake in the fog
  Best meal ever?
Day 11 - Thursday, 6 September 2012
  The great buddah scam
  Somehow no pollution
Day 12 - Friday, 7 September 2012
  My own personal cave
  Almost missed the best bit
Day 13 - Saturday, 8 September 2012
  Back to the start
  American TV advertisements
Day 14 - Sunday, 9 September 2012
  Mao's plane
  Its raining but thats OK
Day 15 - Monday, 10 September 2012
  Humble administrator
  Bike crash
Day 16 - Tuesday, 11 September 2012
  Expo of urban decay
  Still walking
Day 17 - Wednesday, 12 September 2012
  Countdown to deportation
Day 18 - Thursday, 13 September 2012
  No legroom photos