Feeling famous in Shanghai

Shanghai Travel Blog

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The Shanghai skyline

So, finally in Shanghai.

After we checked into our hostel we headed straight back to bed, the lack of sleep and trek getting there had wiped us out so we crawled into bed for a few hours. We woke up a few hours later and headed downstairs to the bar where we got dinner and bought a map to help us work out what we wanted to see over the next few days. We spent a few hours in the bar before heading back to bed, figuring after a good nights rest we would be able to start fresh in the morning. Unfortunately............we found our beds had a few univited guests, yep, BEDBUGS!!! Needless to say we werent very happy about this discovery, and they werent even little ones, but huge buggers that looked liked they'd been feasting on people for a while.

Random girl wanting our picture
We caught a couple and popped them into a water bottle and marched down to reception to show them our catch. We tried to be quiet about telling the two young girls on reception as its not something that needs to be broadcast but all we got was two matching blank looks. They actually asked us what bedbugs were!?! How can you work in a hostel and not know what begbugs are?!? How are you meant to look out for them, to prevent their infestation if you dont know they even exsist?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! We had to explain, several times, what they were, why they were bad, why we needed something doing, and what that something was. We were told there were no spare rooms for us to move into so eventually we managed to convince them the room needed some sort of fumigation, and the sheets changing (this was at 11pm) so they sent a guy with a can of bug spray up to our room.
Statue in Peoples Sq
We went with him to show him where to spray (that would be EVERYWHERE) and actually pointed out a bedbug crawling over Rachel's pillow. He seemed to get the message so we left him to it and retreated to the bar where we bought a couple of beers while we waited for our room to air. Two hours later we headed back to the room, only to find a very much alive bedbug prancing about the bed (ok he wasnt prancing but in my overtired state it seemed like he was doing a defiant dance). We plonked him into another water bottle as reception had kept our first captives and scoured the place for any sign of others. We were rather at the end of our tether, I really didnt fancy sleeping in the bed but it was 1am, there were no other rooms available and I was shattered. Rachel eventually talked me into getting into bed, tucked firmly into my sleep sheet and I managed to get a very restless nights sleep.
Enjoying a drink shortly before our second photo request

The next morning we marched back down to reception with our new batch of bugs in a bottle. There were new girls on reception so we had to once again go through what was happening. They also looked at the bugs in facination and asked to keep them (be my guest, not like I was planning to keep them as pets), but did give us the keys to a new room. We happily gethered all our stuff together and switched rooms but on looking through our bags Rachel found a bedbug. This was bad news for us as they can be hard to get rid of, the only sure way is to wash ALL your clothes on a high temperature. We bundled all our clothes into a bag (except what we were wearing of course) and I took it all down to reception. I told them what we had found and said that under the circumstances I thought it was only right that they wash our clothes free of charge.

Lotus flowers lead up to the Museum of Contemporary Art
They agreed, reluctantly, but said it would be two days as there were lots of other people's clothes already to be washed. I had to agree, not much else we could do, but this meant spending the next two days, and nights, wearing nothing but the clothes on our back. A slight problem when you think we are in 100 degree heat with no towels to dry ourselves after showering.

We then headed out to explore. We walked down to the Bund, which is a walkway that follows the edge of the Huangpu river. The river itself is very dirty, but a busy river with many boats traversing its length. Along the adjascent bank are a line of sky scrapers, which can be reached via a strange neon light filed tunnel under the river (we will be trying it in a few days).

Never did find the 'Bluish Green Lake'
The intense heat had us dripping with sweat within a few minutes and we were forced to seek shade, but that only provided temparary relief and we eventually had to retreat to the hostel. Once the sun had lost its hold on the day we again headed to the Bund, and were met by a huge crowd, all intent on the same thing. We had to walk through an underpass to get the bund, and it took a good ten minutes to get from one side to the other as the crowd was so immense. We walked the length of the Bund, admiring all the now light filled sky scrapers and taking a few photos when I was approached by a Chinese girl of about 12 who asked 'take.you.photo?' I have often been asked by people to take their photo so both can be in it so I of course didnt mind and asked for her camera. She looked at me confused and shook her head, again saying 'take.you.photo'. It took me a couple of moments of staring at her, looking at the hand signals she was making between her, me and the camera before I got it. I looked at her, 'you want to have your picture taken with ME??' She nodded, grinning. *shrugs* Well why not!! I slapped on a smile while she beamed at the camera as if I was someone famous. Rachel found it very amusing and took a picture too, then was just as bemused when the girl asked to have her picture taken with her as well.

Today took a walk down the Nanjing Road, which is one of the major commercial areas. We went in a few shops, window gazed a bit then headed into a restaurant when it got too hot to find some refreshments. We bought a drink and sat down at one of the tables, finding ourselves opposite a Chinese family. There was a girl of about 5 who kept giving us very shy smiles, and her mum and dad kept encouraging her to say hello to us. After a few minutes the dad actually produced a camera and asked if she could have her picture taken with us, so we got her to sit inbetween us and again posed for a random photo. Shortly after we left and walked a bit further on, stopping to sit on the grass in a patch of shade after a while. We had been sitting for a few minutes when a Chinese man and woman sat down a short distance from us and engaged us in conversation. We chatted for quite some time, the woman speaking for the most part as her English was better but we discovered the man had quite the knowledge about Chinese history. She also said that the Chinese dont like the sun, as it darkens their skin and they place high value on pale skin (explains the adverts we've seen for skin whitening creams) and envy English people for their skin colouring. They said the were off to a tea ceremony and invited us to join them. We declined as we were wary of being scammed and they didnt seem to mind so we parted company.

We then headed into the Peoples Park, a nice little park in the middle of the commercial area. We wandered around, walking past the Museum of contemporary art and rockeries. When we got tired again we found a bench in a shaded spot and sat down. Not a minute had gone past before we had a couple of Chinese men come up and start talking to us. They were very interested to learn we were from England, one of them had spent time studying in Bristol, and another had studied a map of England so well he had memorised most of it and knew where places were better than I did! As we were chatting several other people came up, some stood and just listened while other started talking to us too. I had a smart alec kid ask me 'I.Q. questions' which I of course couldnt answer (it was his bad English not my lack of brains honest!). At one point we had about thirty people gathered round us, asking many questions of us, and kept us talking for two hours! before we had to make our excuses and leave. We had booked tickets to see the acrobatics show at the theatre at 7.30, and it was already gone 6. We had to speed walk our way to the theatre to collect our tickets, which was further than we thought and didnt arrive til five to seven. We hadnt eaten so had to pop into a pub that was nearby and order some snack food as it would be the quickest to prepare. We managed to wolf it down and be in our seats with five minutes to spare.

The show was brilliant! It opened with several young girls doing various bendy poses, placing their feet on their shoulders and such. The acts were amazing, such performances were clearly achieved through years of dedicated training and some actually made the crowd gasp in amazement.

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The Shanghai skyline
The Shanghai skyline
Random girl wanting our picture
Random girl wanting our picture
Statue in Peoples Sq
Statue in Peoples Sq
Enjoying a drink shortly before ou…
Enjoying a drink shortly before o…
Lotus flowers lead up to the Museu…
Lotus flowers lead up to the Muse…
Never did find the Bluish Green L…
Never did find the 'Bluish Green …
Shanghai
photo by: Chokk