Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How many people!

Today I woke up early, too early in fact. I think it must be down to the jet lag.

Lulu arrived and brought breakfast, her Grandmothers Yuanxiao dumplings. They were incredibly tasty sticky rice balls with a filling. We set out for the metro line on route to the Pearl TV tower. Unfortunately on arriving at the metro line we got the first taste of just how Crowded Shanghai can get. The trains were totally crowded. When I say full I mean so full you could not physically fit in another person. In fact we saw two people injured on the trains. One guy got his hand trapped in the opening door, and a girl passed out on the station. In the end the crushed were to bad so we got a taxi.

The taxi took us to the Bund on the wrong side of the river. So Lulu bought us combined tickets for the tourist tunnel, Jin Mao Building and the Oriental Pearl TV tower.

Across the river from the Bund is Pudong, this is the special economic zone which has helped to power Shanghais incredible growth over the last decade. In a total contrast to the Bund Puong is full of new buildings, mostly skyscrapers. The Oriental Pearl seems to be the centre piece to a showcase of huge imposing corporate monsters.

In order cross the river we used the Shanghai tourist tunnel, this is basically an underground car which goes under the river. To jazz it up they have added some weird special effects like you on some sort of weird acid trip.

The Oriental Pearl TV tower is the third tallest tower in the world and the tallest in Asia. It has multiple viewing platforms, you pay more the higher you want to go. We joined the queue, and waited, and waited and waited. After an hour we realised the line stretched all the way around the building and inside. We asked how long and were told at least another 30 minutes maybe an hour. This was too long we were hungry by now so we decided to go for lunch and see what the queue was like later.

We ate lunch in the shopping centre opposite the Perl. Its called Super Brand Mall, nice Chinglish name ;) Inside the mall you could almost be somewhere like the Trafford centre, apart from the odd more authentic restaurant and shop the brands and names are global.

After lunch we went to the Jin Mao building. It has an observations deck on the 88th floor, which includes a post office where you can send a postcard to the people back home. There was a little more more queuing, but nothing like at the Pearl. The view from 88th floor was great but due to the haze (I am not sure if the haze was weather or pollution) it was difficult to take a decent picture. The Jin Mao has a central atrium running all the way to the top its a vertigo inducing look down from the centre of the observation deck.

After the Jin Mao and some time spent gaming inside the shopping mall. We won a pair of chopsticks, which was quiet funny as Lulu was only laughing at me trying in vain to eat my lunch with them earlier. Then went back to the Pearl, but the queue was bigger than ever. They did however have a free outdoor show we watched. Traditional Chinese entertainers, I think they said they were from the circus world troupe, which I went to yesterday. The also had some fantastic Russian dancers from St Petersburg.

We left the to meet up with a friend of Lulu's. Taking took the tunnel back to the Bund and walked along the riverside. It's quite amazing view at night, everywhere lit up with neons the Bund buildings one side Pudong's great skyscrapers on the other side of the river. The only problem was there were so many people it was a like a river of people. Difficult to stop and take pictures you just got pulled along in this big mass. It was also very difficult toto find a taxi then its so busy, eventually we made it back Lulu's friend Twan Twan was even kind enough to shout us dinner.

I will post all the pictures when I get back. Pictures here

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