Shanghai is the probably the â€˜New Yorkâ€™ of Mainland China, and thereâ€™s not much to see except for the Jade Buddha and the Shanghai Museum. So after seeing the Bund last night, I thought Id try my luck and get tickets for an overnight train to Xiâ€™an that night. Train tickets as Iâ€™ve read from reviews and blogs, can run out pretty fast especially with the Spring Festival nearing yet I got a hard sleeper for 357 CNY for that night going to Xiâ€™an. Yay, felt a bit glad actually about getting out of the city.
Spent the rest of the day walking at Nanjing Road, one of the best and busiest shopping streets in Shanghai. While sitting on one of the benches eating my favorite roasted chestnuts, I got amazed by a lot of the vendors and what they were selling. A few Chinese young and fortyish vendors were apparently selling rollers for shoes that enables you to blade through the streets in half the time as you were walking. And the best thing was, you wouldnâ€™t look silly in them as they are detachable, and may be attached just to any kind of shoe. Another amazing innovation from the Chinese, Iâ€™d say. There were also those carrying around their plastic bags selling plastic tops, which when spun, emitted laser lights from its body.
All sorts of Chinese food and delicacies also lined the street and for 2 Yuan, I got to taste my first â€˜sio paoâ€™ in China.
(Sio Pao is that traditional white bun with pork of whatever filling inside.) Everything looked tasty yet I preferred to take my first lunch at Yoshinoya, a famous Japanese fast food chain.
This was my first and last real day in Shanghai since im to leave through the T168 train at 8pm, so I again revisited the Bund before actually going back to the hostel to collect my stuff and then to the train station.
Shanghai has two train stations, â€˜Shanghai South Railwayâ€™, and just the â€˜Shanghai Railway Stationâ€™. I prayed that the taxi driver would lead me to the right one when I showed him my Chinese train ticket. Thank God he did as I would die if I got lost again. Lol. Wanted to give him a 2 yuan tip on top of my 20 yuan cab fare but apparently, its not in their culture to accept tips as he cheerfully refused my offer.
Ucool Hostel in Neverland
The station was packed with people (almost all Chinese). There were separate waiting rooms for different trains, and there were only 2 foreigners in my room, me included. Surprisingly, Mark, who was from the same hostel I stayed and whom I talked to this morning, also got fed up of the city and was able to get tickets for the same train I was going to take. We boarded the train at around 7:55 and was relieved that the train left as scheduled: 20:08 â€¢ on the dot.
I was on a hard sleeper (yes, on the uppermost bed), meaning 6 beds in one cabin with a shared toilet at the end of the carriage. The train was pretty clean and new, I later realized that this was the same train going to Lhasa, as there were oxygen vents on all bed compartments. Itâ€™s funny how the Chinese do actually prepare themselves for long trips. The woman who was on the lowermost bunk started to bring out all her stuff on the small side table beside her. I was silently laughing as she brought out a roll of tissue paper, 2 apples, an orange, 3 unopened no-cook noodles, a tumbler and a mini air pot. This was hilarious, all I had for my 16 hour train ride was a pack of Oreoâ€™s and a bottle of water!