Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Days 16-19: Shanghai

Day 16: Shanghai

First, a few words about the location of things in Shanghai (see map below).  Until the 1990's almost all of Shanghai was west of the Huangpu River.  The Bund was the area along the river where Europeans built lots of buildings in the 1920's and 1930's.  Nanjing Road (west of the Bund) was the major shopping area.  In the 1990's, the Pudong area, east of the river, was developed with lots of skyscrapers.

Our hotel in Shanghai was the Bund Hotel, which is actually located about a half a mile from the Bund itself.  
The Bund Hotel at night

Lobby of the Bund Hotel

View from our hotel room

After breakfast, we met our guide Ellie and our driver, and headed across the river to Pudong. Shanghai, particularly Pudong is a world-class city.  If it weren't for the signs in Chinese, you could easily be in New York or Chicago (if New York were 10 times bigger).

Skyscrapers in Pudong

We passed by Shanghai Tower, which is the second tallest building in the world, at 2,073 feet.  (The tallest is in Dubai)

Shanghai Tower

Jin Mao Tower

In front of the bottom of Shanghai Tower

Reflection of Jin Mao Tower in another building

We took an elevator to the top of the Shanghai World Financial Center, the second tallest building in Shanghai (1,614 feet).  We got some spectacular views over Pudong and across the river to the main part of Shanghai.

View from the top--Jin Mao Tower in lower left center

Another view, with all of Jin Mao Tower

View of Pudong to the southeast

View across the Huangpu River

Point of comparison--view from top of our hotel in 1987 (not the same area, but.....)

Oriental Pearl Radio/TV tower in the middle

No fear whatsoever at 1,600 feet

The viewing platform

Back on the ground in Pudong

From Pudong, we crossed the Huangpu River and went to the French Concession area for lunch.   The French Concession (which is off the left side of the map above), was the French enclave (actually owned by the French) until 1943.  It features lots of buildings from the early 20th century.  Today, the area contains lots of shops and restaurants.

A street in the French Concession

A decidedly non-Chinese lunch

From the French Concession, we traveled to the People's Square area, a major commercial area on the left side of the river.

Near People's Square

While in the area, we visited the Shanghai Urban Planning Exposition Center, which sounds dull, but contains a huge, fascinating scale model of the Shanghai area.

Exterior of the Urban Planning Exposition Center

Part of the model of Shanghai

Another view of the model

From there, we headed for the Bund, along the Huangpu River.  From the Bund, there was a great view of Pudong.  For comparison, I'm including some pictures of Pudong and the Bund (sounds like a rock band.....) that we took on our trip in 1987.

View of Pudong (and us) from the Bund

Panoramic view of the river and Pudong

Panoramic view of the Huangpu River in 1987

The building with the hole at the top is the Shanghai World Financial Center, where we were in the morning

View of Pudong in 1987

Buildings from the 1930's along the Bund.  Building with the green tower is the Peace Hotel

View of the Bund behind us in 1987

Peace Hotel and Bank of China

Another view of Pudong with a tour boat in front

Boats in the Huangpu River in 1987

While we were walking along the Bund, a Chinese woman came up to me waving a camera.  I assumed she wanted me to take a picture of her and her family.  After much hand-waving, I determined that she wanted to take a picture of Brenda and me with her family!  (I guess we looked like aliens).  So, below is a picture of us with people we had never seen before and will never see again.

Along the Bund

Along the Bund

After returning to the hotel for a couple of hours, we went to dinner at a restaurant at the top of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, which is next to (and was once part of) the "real" Peace Hotel.  After dinner, we went to the hotel's terrace bar, which had great views across the river to Pudong.

View across the river to Pudong
Another river view

American celebrities in Shanghai

After enjoying the view, we crossed the street to the main building of the Peace Hotel (now the Fairmont Peace Hotel, for a view of the lobby.

Lobby of the Fairmont Peace Hotel

From there, we walked along the Bund, with what appeared to be about a half a million Chinese people.

Along the Bund

Fairmont Peace Hotel and Bank of China.  Swatch Art Peace Hotel on the left.

View of Pudong (and a boat) from the Bund promenade

Swatch Art Peace Hotel on right

From there, we took a taxi back to the hotel.

Day 17: Suchow

Today, we took a bullet train to Suzhou, which is about 70 miles west of Shanghai, and known for its canals and gardens.

Shanghai Railway Station

View from the front of the Shanghai railway station

The bullet train traveled at about 300 kph (about 185 miles per hour), but you don't really get the sensation of speed.

Inside the bullet train

On the outskirts of Suzhou

Apartment buildings in the suburbs of Suzhou

After arriving in Suzhou, we went to  (I think) the Lingering Garden, a few shots of which are below.

At the Lingering Garden

Lingering at the Garden


From there, we headed to Ruiguang Pagoda.

A street in central Suzhou

Ruiguang Pagoda, built in 247 A.D.

Gardens at the pagoda complex

Another view of the complex

A temple in the complex


Pan Gate, part of the original city wall, dating from about 500 B.C.

Next to the Pan Gate is the Wumen Bridge.  The current structure was built in 1870, but the original bridge dates from the 11th century.

Wumen Bridge

View down the canal

Next we went to a silk factory, and the obligatory silk showroom.

A mess of silkworms

Silk cocoons

Extracting silk from the cocoons

Weaving silk

From the silk factory, we went to lunch, and had one of the better meals on the trip.

Inside the restaurant

 After lunch we headed to the Pingjiang Road district, for a ride on a canal boat.

Along the canal

Our boat "captain"

We were apparently a tourist attraction

A shop on the street paralleling the canal

 Finally, we headed to the train station for our trip back to Shanghai.

Inside the Suzhou rail station

Our bullet train arrives

When we arrived back in Shanghai, Rodger our friend and Shanghai tour guide on our 1987 trip, met us at the station.  We then drove with Rodger to Pudong where we met his family for dinner (another outstanding meal).

Pudong at night

View from Pudong across the river to the Bund

Rodger, his wife Shirley, his daughter Annie, Brenda, and Carol

All of us in one shot, thanks to our waiter

For point of comparison, Rodger and Brenda in 1987
More of Pudong at night

Shanghai Tower

Day 18: A Day With Rodger

When we planned the trip, we had arranged to have a day with Rodger (as we had with Rick in Beijing).  So Rodger met us at the hotel and took us to see the sights.  Our first stop was the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum.  As you may not know, in the 1930's a large number of Jews escaped Germany by going to China, as China was one of the few countries accepting refugees.  About 20,000 of them settled in Shanghai.  The museum is located in the former Ohel Moshe synagogue.

The entrance to the museum

The main museum building (Ohel Moshe)
Part of the neighborhood around the museum

Inside the synagogue

Outside the museum was a wall containing the names of Jews who emigrated to China.  On the list are several members of the Weinbach family, who are cousins of mine.

Weinbachs are 6th line from the bottom

Rear of the synagogue/museum

The museum exhibits are in a set of buildings behind the synagogue.

From the museum, we drove out to the suburbs.

Our destination was Zhujiajiao, one of several "water towns" in the suburbs of Shanghai.  These towns are similar to the canal areas that we saw in the center of Suzchou the previous day.
Enjoying lunch on the canal

We didn't take a boat ride, but instead spent our time walking along the canals.

Rodger the photographer

At the back end of the canal were some more modern buildings.

We continued along a side street.

Along the way, we stopped for a drink

Eventually, we headed back to Shanghai

We did not stop at Shanghai Disneyland

We need this in the United States

We said goodbye to Rodger at the hotel, and had a quick dinner at the hotel bar.  Ellie, our guide came by and took us to Shanghai Circus World to see the Shanghai Acrobats. The acrobats put on a show called "ERA: Intersection of Time", which was spectacular.

Shanghai Circus World

In the lobby

Day 19:  Nanjing Road and Heading Home

Today was our departure day.  Carol had a noon flight to Detroit, so she had to head out at about 9:00. Our flight was not until 5:00, so we had a free morning in Shanghai.  We took the opportunity to walk from the hotel to Nanjing Road, Shanghai's main shopping street.

Outside our hotel

Moore Memorial Church, smack in the middle of Shanghai

Inside Raffles City Mall

On Nanjing Road

Shanghai Number 1 Department Store

Most of Nanjing Road is a pedestrian mall.

Nanjing Road in 1987

We dropped in to Shanghai First Food Hall, which contained 4 stories of food shops.

We then continued along Nanjing Road.

We then headed back to the hotel, along some back streets.

Mmmm--pig foot noodles!

I have no idea what this is about

In a side alley

After lunch we headed to the airport.  Our guide Ellie accompanied us to the Longyang Metro station in Pudong, where we got on the Maglev (magnetic levitation) train to the airport.  The Maglev train travels at speeds up to 267 miles an hour, although on our trip it only got up to about 180 miles per hour.

At the Longyang Road Maglev Statoin

Farewell to Ellie

The train arrives

On the Maglev train

Out in the sticks in Pudong

Arriving at the airport

Maglev train in the airport station

A fleet of international airliners

And thus, our journey ended.....

Thanks to Rick, Rodger, all of our guides (Baaska, Ben, Lhamor, and Ellie), and Echo at China Odyssey Tours for making this a great trip!