Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday 25th March - We docked at, probably the busiest commercial port we have visited on any of our cruises. Big trucks of all ages queued up for miles. We couldn’t get to the cruise terminal on the river because of the draft of the ship. The air is cleaner than we expected – thank goodness. We took a tour which firstly took us to what is now the 2nd tallest building in Shanghai. The lift goes from the basement to the 88th floor in 19 seconds. You don’t feel any motion and only know you are going up because of ear squeeze and the indicator on the wall of the lift. From the 56th floor it’s hotel and you can look down through the middle from the 88th floor to the reception in the middle. From the windows you can see right across Shanghai – 360 degree views. It’s very flat and in ancient times was actually the sea. Next we went to the Yu Gardens. These were once a private family garden and you pay to go through them. They are not huge but a virtual mountain of rock has been transported to the site to set them out with little lakes full of huge gold fish - your typical Chinese garden with lots of garden rooms. We then had to spend 3 hours in the old town before taking our bus back to the ship. As a result of having to spend more time there than we expected we had to find somewhere to eat. Since they speak almost no English we opted to eat at a McDonalds we found where at least we knew what we were eating. We had no intention of making purchases though you are continually being offered Rolex watches by the street sellers, we did get a bargain on a battery for my camers. We wandered around the old town and found a tea house and had the most expensive cup of jasmine tea we’ve ever had – but hey, the atmosphere was worth it, it was quiet and warm. Shanghai is not an old city in itself and most of the city buildings are very modern and new. The population of Shanghai is almost the same as the whole of the population of Australia. That gives you some idea of the number of people around. Then back to the port. I have a cold so I was glad to have dinner and hop into bed.Saturday 26th March – We took another tour into the city to travel on the train which floats on an electromagnetic field – no wheels. It travels at 431 kilometres an hour from the city to the international airport and back. By any other means it takes about an hour but on this train it takes 9 minutes

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