SHANGHAI IN TWELVE HOURS
STRETCHING THE ADVENTURES TO THE END
My flight lands in Shanghai at 5:15 am almost an hour early. It's really 3:45 am Sri Lanka time. My connecting flight isn't till 11:30 pm at night. Almost 18 hours away. It takes the first couple of hours to clear customs, plan my day, and wait for the day to break. On the flight from Colombo I sat beside a China East Air pilotfrom Shanghai returning from duty overseas. He and his girlfriend share ideas of what to see during my layover. I buy a one way Maglev and a day metro pass. The metro pass costs about $2.75 and allows me to go anywhere. My first stop is the ancient water town of Qibao 18 kilometres out of Shanghai and towards the end of the metro line.
The day starts cool and foggy. It takes me a moment to collect my bearings but soon I join the masses of locals winding through the alleys. Qibao is the smallest Ancient water village but most accessible to Shanghai. It only has two water streets, but is a convenient opportunity to see the ancient architecture. It is Chinese New Year and everyone has the same idea of visiting this site. I am stopped repeatedly by families so they can take pictures with me. I taste wonderful new creations from the street vendors including my favourite - quail eggs fried around a shrimp.
ANCIENT WATER TOWN QIBAO
I POSE WITH FAMILY THEY POSE FOR ME
QUAIL EGG STEAMER
COLLECTING EGGS FROM STEA ER
PREPARING EGGS WITH SHRIMP
A SCRUMPTIOUS APPETIZER
I catch the metro and get off close to Yu Gardens. They are a pleasant interlude in a busy city but nothing really special at this time of year - winter in Shanghai. Nothing is in bloom.
HUANGPU RIVER CRUISE
The next destination is the Bund and I see a cruise boat ready to take off so I buy a ticket and hop on board. A hundred or more locals enjoying the day along with myself. The sun starts to break through the haze and we cruise the river, getting a chance to see the impressive skyline of the city. The oriental pearl tower is particularly striking. The Chinese are photo shutterbugs. Everyone is taking pictures of themselves in the foreground. Soon a young girl approaches me and says her grandpa would like to pose with me for a picture, and soon we are all snapping. Then others want in on the action. Moms wanting me to pose with their young daughters. It's great entertainment for the trip
ORIENTAL PEARL TOWER
WALKING THE BUND
The next couple of hours I walk the Bund, a promenade along the river. It's photo madness and I continue to get snapped by eager enthusiasts and shot a few of them myself. I walk Nanjing road one of the premiere shopping areas but there are no simple little eateries so I catch the metro and head for Tian ZI Fang.
TIAN ZI FANG
This was our destination on our arrival in January but it was so early the area wasn't really open. Now it is buzzing with life. I try some scrumptious curd with ginger. I feast on Thai noodles and shrimp and finish it off with green tea ice cream. Pure decadence after a month of tuna noodles. It is nice to finally sit for a while after walking and standing all day. Darkness comes and the market comes alive with lights and colour. Finally I have had enough stimulation for the day and catch the metro back to the airport to ready for takeoff back to Canada.