Jade Buddha Temple
The day before our cruise ship arrived in Shanghai
, our ship's captain made an announcement that our ship will be extending our day in Shanghai and will be docking at Shanghai's new
Wusongkou Int'l Cruise Port for the very first time. We were so excited by that news. Now we would be in Shanghai from 2am until 2am the following morning. We would be able to enjoy some of the night time activities in Shanghai. Yay.
We woke up at 6am for a full day tour that we had prebooked. As we got off the ship there was a celebration for the Diamond Princess' first time in Port. There were lots of people dressed in Dragons, there were people playing drums, balloons everywhere.
Burning some incense at the Jade Buddha Temple
As we walked off the ship they handed us a box. Inside the box was a commemorative pin for being the 1st to dock at this port. They really made it very nice. Apparently it was a huge deal, the press was there taking pictures. It was a pleasant surprise.
Our first stop was the Jade Buddha temple. It was beautiful. We were given incense to burn and made some wishes yet again. We went inside to view the Jade Buddha, it was very pretty and delicate looking. I must have been in awe by the statue that I didn't notice the 'no picture' sign and when I snapped a photo I got yelled at, opps. Sorry. We then all boarded our tour bus and drove over to the Bund. I had no idea that the riverside tourist attraction would be so beautiful. The skyline was gorgeous. They have the Pearl TV tower, a building that looks like a bottle opener and other really beautiful buildings all lined up.
The Bund by day
After the Bund we headed to the Yuyan gardens. Incredible place! Tons of interesting souvenir shops, craft stations, food stands etc, all set in gorgeous Chinese architecture. Our guide Linda was excellent. She took us into the actual gardens. There was a Chinese girl that tried to sneak in with our tour group. She got caught, and I was amused watching her tell the guards that she was with us. Nope sorry girl, you have to pay like we all did. No free rides here. Inside the gardens were AMAZING. The scenery was unreal. Beautiful trees, bridges, flowers. Ponds with Koi fish. Absolutely breathtaking. There is one point inside the gardens where you can see the new side of the city through the older side of the city (so you'd see one of the Yuyan buildings in front of the bottle openner new skyscraper).
"East Meets West"
We were told that is the point where "east meets west." We headed to eat lunch with our tour group. We went to a family style restaurant with a big lazy Susan in the middle of the table filled with food. Chicken with peanuts, beef, fish, vegetables and egg drop soup. We were then served the Shanghai soup dumplings. Mmm, very good. If you eat them the wrong way you could definitely get burned so we were told to eat a small bite, suck out the soup and then continue to eat the rest of the dumpling. They were delicious, they should sell them in the US. I was a little disturbed when the fish came out looking, well, like a fish. Still had all the bones and eyes in... ick. Poor little fishy. For dessert they came out with a dish of Kumquats. I've never had them before, they were delicious little citrus fruit that tasted similar to oranges but sweeter.
The BEAUTIFUL Yuyuan Gardens
After lunch we were told that we'd have some free time to shop but of course the old people on our tour protested. They didn't want to spend any more time there... yet again! I was furious. We are in Shanghai, I want to see everything that I could possibly see. I don't want to go back to the ship. Miserable people. When I put up a fight saying that I wanted to stay and explore they told me "too bad, you are out numbered." Great thanks for nothing. So when the trip ended we took a taxi from Nanjing Road (a large shopping road with lots of high class retailers, Gucci, Prada etc) right back to the Yuyan gardens and explored by our self. We were better off that way. I bought a beautiful silk photo album there, and mom bought a tea set. I was unable to buy a shot glass for my collection there yet again, so I bought a make-shift shot glass.
Shanghai Acrobatic Show at the Centre Theatre
...a tea cup. Haha it will blend in with my shot glass collection. No one will know the difference. The Shanghai Expo was being held there a few days after we left so there were lots of little blue statues of their mascot around the gardens. I wish we were there to see the Expo. I'm sure that would be amazing to see. After some shopping, we headed over to McDonald's for a quick bite. In all of the McDonald's they have a large print out of their food in English to point and order off of. Very helpful when you are in a foreign land. Thank goodness for some junk food. I was growing tired of gourmet cruise food.
We then flagged down another taxi and had them take us over to the Shanghai Cultural Centre Theatre to see the Shanghai Acrobatic Show. It was an excellent show, reminded me very much of Cirque du Soleil.
The Bund by night... beautiful skyline!
I am a huge Cirque fan (I've seen 11 of their shows) so I was very into the show. They even did the Asian string toss thing that I first witnessed in Cirque's La Nouba. Very cool. They also balanced on chairs, did juggling, did acrobatics on a seesaw. Very visually stimulating show. After the show we headed back over to the Bund. We wanted to see the Bund lit up at night, and boy I'm glad we did. Fantastically beautiful all lit up. Felt like I was at Disney's light show. After our long day exploring glorious Shanghai we decided to head back to the ship. Shanghai was one of the most beautiful places that I've ever been to. I'd love to visit there again one day.