Jade Buddha Temple and the French Concession

Shanghai Travel Blog

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Jade Buddha Temple

          This morning we awoke at around 8 am and were excited to go experience our first full day in Shanghai. Before embarking on any adventures, we had some business we needed to take care of. Since we would be departing Shanghai on Friday, we needed to purchase our train tickets to Chengdu. Unlike our experiences with the Eurail, Chinese train tickets cannot be purchased in advance from the states. Therefore, I have had numerous sleepless nights worrying about whether or not we would be able to obtain the necessary tickets I had planned on. In addition, I had read that Chinese train stations do not generally employ any English-speakers.

Jade Buddha Temple
In an attempt to avoid a frustrating experience, I opened up my travel guide book and meticulously copied down the Chinese characters for the following words: One Way Ticket, Friday, Soft-sleeper, and Chengdu. I then wrote the train number and departure time on the slip of paper as well. I spent a good twenty minutes on the task, making sure each stroke was identical to the characters in the book. Upon completion of my task, I was quite proud of my work, although I am sure it looked awfully crude to a local.

          Jason and I then began the long jaunt back to Nanjing Lu, where we planned to take a subway to the Shanghai train station. Our first attempt at using the subway system resulted in a failure. We walked around, confused and frustrated, for a while.

This is the view from the rooftop bar we had dinner at.
We attempted to ask for help, but couldn't find anyone who spoke our language. We ended up leaving the train station, losing both our money and tickets. We took a seat outside the train station to clear our heads and calm the frustration. We contemplated taking a taxi, but we reminded ourselves that we aren't the type of people who just give up. We went back down, found our mistake, and are now masters of Shanghai's subway system!

        After changing subways a few times, we arrived at the train station where we purchased our tickets with ease, thanks to my translations. Without that, it would have been a different story since there seemed to be no English-speakers around for miles. By this time, a few hours had passed and we were ready for lunch. The only restaurant that we could find at the train station was a McDonalds. Although we never frequent the fast food chain in the U.S., it was something familiar on the other side of the globe, where little else we encountered was. As we enjoyed the much needed air conditioning, we pulled out our travel guide to determine our plans for the remainder of the day.

          On the way back to the subway station, a man with a suitcase carelessly banged the bottom of his luggage against my thigh. I felt a shot of pain and looked down to discover blood dripping out of a gash on my leg. Luckily, I had a tetanus shot before I left the country! We managed to stop the bleeding, but since we had no bandages with us, I continued on with an unpleasant-looking injury.

         After another subway ride we walked on foot, using a map as our navigation tool, for approximately an hour until we arrived at the Temple of the Jade Buddha. The temple wass built in 1882 to house two beautiful jade Buddha statues that were brought from Burma. The temple also enshrines three majestic, golden Buddhas in its Grand Hall of Magnificence. The temple was beautiful, serene, and worth the long walk to see.

         Exhausted from all of our walking in 98 degree weather, we decided to splurge by taking a taxi to Huahai Lu (Lu means road) and the French Concession. The taxi ride only ended up costing 13 RMB (a little over $2). Exchange rates have definitely been working in our favor! We walked aroun Huaihai Lu for a while, which was packed with upscale fashion boutiques and store, such as Rolex and Burberry. To escape the heat, we stopped in at a KFC for a quick bite to eat and some drinks to rehydrate us. We have been drinking three times the amount we generally require at home to stay hydrated.

          We then walked another couple of miles in an attempt to locate the Shanghai Center, where we wanted to buy tickets for a Chinese Acrobatic show. However, we had no luck in finding the center, so, exhausted, we took the metro and then walked back to our hotel. After a much needed shower and quick rest in our air conditioned room, we took the hotel elevator to the rooftop bar on the 26th floor of the Hengsheng Peninsula. We enjoyed a noodle dinner as we sat in awe of an amazing view and the fact that there we were, sitting in Shanghai.

tvillingmarit says:
Great blog
Posted on: Jul 20, 2008
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Jade Buddha Temple
Jade Buddha Temple
Jade Buddha Temple
Jade Buddha Temple
This is the view from the rooftop …
This is the view from the rooftop…
photo by: spocklogic