Shanghai, China

Shanghai Travel Blog

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Shanghai, China - Papa John's Pizza!!

So, as we’re part of those with smaller budgets and more importantly those having a bit more time on our hands for traveling, the means of travel was quite easy to choose for us . . .

We’d be taking another LONG train ride to our destination.  This time, however we wouldn’t be riding as comfortably as before. 

Again, being that we were visiting right at the moment when China celebrates its “Golden Week” holiday, things were super busy everywhere. 

Thus explaining the rather large crowds of Chinese all over the place, well, larger than usual!!  :)  And let’s not forget, the reason we ended up having to ride on a sold-out train to Shanghai!!

The good news is that by the end of the journey, it turned out to be a free ride for us!!  Totally lucked out too!! 

At first, we were just dreading having to stay on the train for another long 24 hours, but by the end when we realized the journey was gonna be on-the-house, didn’t hear any fussing out of us any longer!!

Ok so the ride wasn’t the best, nor most comfy for us, but hey, when it’s free, can’t ask for much more.

Shanghai, China - The Chinese are lovin' McD's too!!

It was another never-ending journey for me, but for Arnaud, it flew by rather fast, considering he spent the entire trip, playing cards with the other passengers. 

Still, I was rather thrilled about getting a free ride, even though I had to spend another sleepless night on an over-crowded train, not to mention, have to once again eat instant cup-o-noodles for every meal during the entire ride.

Yes, the train was yet again, packed to the limits, but I guess that’s normal here. 

Thinking back now at the experience, can’t help but smile at the fact that even though communication was quite difficult, Arnaud and I were able to make ourselves understood through basic body language and simple human comprehension. 

Hope that makes sense! 

It’s just really beautiful to know that communication barriers can indeed be brought down, with some basic understanding as well as a willingness to remain open-minded and eager to comprehend.

Shanghai, China - Swoosh!!

Anyway, again an incredible feeling of relief was felt once we arrived in Shanghai and once we could finally get off that bloody train!!  :) 

Upon arrival to Shanghai, along with our pleasant surprise of having gotten out of paying for the trip, we also had another little surprise in store for us . . . But, that one was less pleasant!  :( 

We found ourselves in front of the train station, in a bit of a jam at that moment, because we’d just learned that our host-to-be wouldn't be our host at all!! 

He wasn’t in Shanghai upon our arrival, so consequently unable to host us!!  Uh oh!!  Bad news for us!!  So, now what?!

Well, thank goodness for our life-savers and new-found friends, Xinhue and Hue.

Shanghai, China - The toilet in the Shanghai World Financial Center, aka SWFC
  We made an emergency call to them, and despite the last-minute request, they were willing to help us out in our time of need.

So, a HUGE thank you to them!!  Xie xie, friends!!  Thanks for the hospitality shown, for the great food shared, and for the memorable talks!! 

As for Shanghai, it’s quite a dynamic city.  Very pleasantly surprised, I must say.  Didn’t have too many high expectations, which is probably a good thing!! In any case, sure glad we made it here. 

Shanghai’s a lot less polluted than Beijing, and seemingly has more English-speakers too!  Phew, just what we needed at that point!!  No more charades!!  Yeah!! 

Don’t get me wrong, though it was fun at times, frustration got the best of us too.  So obviously, by then we were ready and could use a good normal conversation!!

And was that a blue sky we could actually see in Shanghai?!!  Yep!!  Quite nice! 

Our stroll around the city was an enjoyable one.

Shanghai, China - The Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center
  Old Shanghai was amongst my favorite, because there was a very interesting and authentic feel to the place. 

We had dumplings and fried noodles in this little family-run place, which was just perfect.  Great experience having fun with the locals!! 

Only drawback was communication, once again.  Yep, had to go back to good old-fashioned pointing and all!!  And as always, worked as a charm! 

Well, with the help of an English-speaker.  Reallly, this chap didn’t speak the language all that well, but hey, had a great willingness to want to understand and come to our rescue!! 

Anyway thanks to our game of charades and the help of this young man, Arnaud even somehow managed to ask this little old couple if he could try a bit of their dish!! 

Yes, yes, only Arnaud would dare do that!!  Funny thing is that, as they didn’t speak English, this young man who was also eating there, ended up playing interpreter for Arnaud, thus helping him make his unusual request to the couple.

Shanghai, China - Le SWFC, l’autre perle de Shanghaï

Long story short, Arnaud succeeded in trying a bite of this couple’s dish after all!!  Crazy Arnaud!!

In addition to Old Shanghai, the rest of the city was also quite interesting.  The fascinating thing about this city is that one can find a nice mixture of old and modern. 

In fact, the area around the Yuyuan Garden was a perfect example of this.  And the architecture was beautiful.  Simply stunning!! 

Some may say that Shanghai is just another big city.  But I’d say, it’s so much more.  You’ve got a nice combo here, so also a must-see in China. 

And now with time winding down, we’ve got to head for the border . . . Hong Kong here we come!

Après ces journées découvertes à Pékin, notre prochaine étape allait passer par Shanghai.

Shanghai, China - The Shanghai World Financial Center, from another angle

Il fallait de nouveau repasser par la gare. Cette fois, la chance allait être avec nous, tous les billets de train avaient été vendus.

Il restait une option, au lieu d’acheter un billet de train il fallait acheter un billet d’accès au quai.

Cela coûte comme 50 centimes, c’était parfait. Comme il y avait trop de gens qui voyageaient, les compagnies laissèrent l’opportunité aux passagers de voyager debout.

On prit le risque, car rester debout 2 heures c’est une chose mais 24 heures ça n’est une autre. Shanghai-Pékin c’est 24 heures de train. Le pari était risqué.

Shanghai, China - Jin Mao Tower from the base


La Chine est un grand pays, quand on regarde sur la carte, cela n’a pas l’air si loin, il faut dire aussi qu’il n’y a pas le TGV.

On resta quand même quelques heures debout, je trouvais une petite astuce pour m’asseoir, faire des parties de carte.

On avait un sentiment de déjà vu, soupe matin, midi, et soir, nuit sur le matelas et sous les sièges, des gens partout, assis, debout ; c’est à dire que pour traverser un wagon, il fallait 5 minutes.

Enfin à Shanghai, on s’aperçoit que notre contact n’est pas sur place, il arrivera dans 3 jours. On décida donc de chercher une autre personne voir même un hôtel.

Shanghai, China - La Torre Jin Mao, un rascacielos distintivo de 88 niveles ubicado en el area de Lujiazui en el distrito Pudong de Shangai

Cela restait quand même la deuxième ville de Chine et donc les prix des chambres étaient assez élevés. On trouva un couple de couchsurfing en urgence qui accepta de nous héberger 2 nuits.

Ce couple de Chinois était de classe moyenne. Ils avaient une particularité qui mériter d’être notifié.

Ils travaillaient tout les deux avec des occidentaux, et ils s’étaient trouver un deuxième prénom, juste pour faciliter la mémoire de ces occidentaux qui ne peuvent pas prononcer les noms chinois.

Je trouvais cela complètement fou et le pire c’est que tout le monde trouvait cela normal là-bas.

Shanghai, China - Arnaud at the Jin Mao tower, in the Lujiazui district
Pour eux c’était un signe d’intégrité mais pour qui ?

La visite de la ville fut réalisée en 2 jours, tout était concentré dans le centre avec ces gratte-ciels d’un coté et la vieille ville de l’autre.

D’un coté des immeubles modernes avec des toilettes qui vous nettoient vos petites fesses en appuyant sur 2 ou 3 boutons : réglage du jet d’eau, la température, le souffle qui vous sèche tout cela.

C’est sur maintenant quand j’aurais les moyens, j’en aurais un !!

De l’autre coté de la rivière, une ville plus traditionnelle, l’architecture chinoise dans toute sa splendeur.

Shanghai, China - La Tour Jin Mao de Shanghaï

Quel bonheur de voir des dragons sculptés ou dessinés un peu partout, ces toitures chinoises en forme d’éventail déplié, ces jardins fabuleux, par contre la foule était toujours aussi dense.

On prit le temps de goûter quelques plats, tel que des raviolis frits et cuits à la vapeur, des nouilles, des beignets, tous ce que je voyais dans la rue de toute façon je l’essayais.

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photo by: Chokk