Sunday, March 30, 2014

Shanghai #China2014

In my post about Beijing here, I left out one of my favorite experiences. So I have to share that real quick.

The night after we hiked the Great Wall, we had massages. We paid about $20 a person for an hour. So these two woman came to our hotel room. (30 minutes early I might add, so we had to change and they just watched). But it was great! The massage was fantastic, but they spoke no English, and we spoke no Chinese. Yet still, my lady wanted to talk to me! She kept hitting me on the arm and yelling, "Hello! Hello!" and then rambling in Chinese. I wouldn't understand then she'd start acting it out. The acting out included her writing in my journal and hopping around our room like a bunny. Yes. It was confusing, hilarious, and somehow still relaxing. Such a great experience.

After we left Beijing, we flew into Shanghai late at night and had some time to get settled into our fantastic hotel the next morning, we were off!

Day 1 (in Shanghai)
In the morning we ate our delicious hotel breakfast and were off on another group tour. Again, I'm so happy we did a tour because we had no idea where to go or what to see, and all our transportation and food was included. We started the day by visiting the Oriental Pearl Tower, which is a rather iconic landmark of Shanghai. We were able to go to the observation floor and a sky bridge. This would have been AMAZING, had it NOT been cloudy. It was so sad, because we couldn't see anything.

From there we went to the first floor to walk through a museum, and for us, we stopped and got some gelato. Best decision we made.

After the Pearl Tower, we went to the Pudong area. This is the riverfront area of Shanghai, it overlooks the skyscrapers and the water. It was beautiful and a nice large boardwalk. We enjoyed some time here. Again, it was really cloudy, so all the buildings just disappeared into the clouds, but it was still neat to see.
What our view was that day
What our view should have been
That night, we went to the Shanghai Acrobatics show. A lot of the acts were to cheesy music with weird costumes on a small, cheap stage, but it didn't stop the performers. They were amazing! There were a lot of acts we had seen in Cirque du soleil.

Day 2- Shanghai
This was by far my favorite day in Shanghai, and one of my favorite all around days in China. I am SO happy we got to experience this! Suzhou was our first stop. We went to a cute little garden. We just walked around and explored. It was really nice. I loved walking around this town too because of the great alleyways and unique architecture.

Before moving on, we stopped by a silk factory and watched the process of them making the silk. It was a straight up sweat shop. But so cool to see!

Next we went to Tongli. This city was built on canals kind of like Venice. It was such a beautiful and quaint little town. We were able to take a gondola ride through the water ways, and walk around on our own. I could have spent days here. I absolutely loved it.

That night we went with a cute couple from our group to get food. By this day we COULD NOT eat anymore Chinese food. We ended up at Pizza Hut. Pizza has never tasted so good.

Day 3- Shanghai
We were signed up for another group tour this day and decided to cancel. They were going to a Buddhist Temple, shopping, and on a cruise alone the Huangpu River at night. I'm sure it was great, but we were just so tired of tours and were a little burnt out on this last day. We decided instead to go around on our own which worked out great.

Our main focus for the day was shopping, which we did plenty of. We went to the "knock off" market first. I'd been looking forward to this the entire trip. Fake Prada, Rolex, and every other brand you can think of? We had found a shopping area in Beijing like this and LOVED it, but didn't buy much because everyone told us to wait for Shanghai. So naturally I had high expectations. We eventually just left without buying anything because we couldn't stand the pushy vendors with ridiculous prices. They were all SET too. We'd been told we could bargain a ton, but they wanted way more than we were willing to pay. But, other people were willing to pay their prices, and that's why it wasn't working out for us. I'm sure we could have found deals or made some good purchases, but we weren't willing to pay much, so it didn't work out.

We went instead to a kind of souvenir market and city bazaar. We found lots of great and unique shoes for Jake, unfortunately they were all about 5 sizes to small. We got a few things and just walked and looked around. It was beautiful, crowded and so fun! Jake searched and bargained for 3 hours while we were there for a terracotta warrior statue for a price he wanted. He finally got it, and I broke it within 5 minutes. I still think this was my favorite part of the day. He's still upset with me.

We went on a few dirty backstreets as well. It's funny that China is as advanced as it is, but when we went just off the flashy streets it was just dirt and poverty. It reminded me so much of living in Peru.

Day 4- Shanghai
This was our last morning here and we just got ready and headed to the airport for our 1 and a half flight to Beijing, 14 hour flight to Houston, and 3 hour flight to Utah...

Shanghai was great to us and it was a beautiful city. We loved the surrounding areas in Beijing, but Shanghai beat it as far as the city goes. This was such a great experience and I'm so happy we were able to do all we did. Mostly because, that flight is not worth making again.

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