If all days could be like today I would be one very happy girl!
Back in the UK I’m an avid runner and love to explore new cities by foot. So, for my first full day in Shanghai I woke up at 6.30am and went for a run around the city.
Fifteen minutes after leaving my hostel I stumbled upon a sign for an outdoor fitness centre so went to explore. I was not expecting to see what I saw.
Men and women, young and old, filling the park’s open spaces. People were practicing Thai Chi in large groups on the grass, dancing in pairs on the side-walk and practicing calisthenic moves on parallel bars.
And yes, I joined in.
Although I can’t speak any mandarin (I will try to learn the language on my travels), I find that sport helps break down barriers. I ended up communicating with a group of men in their 60’s via working on calisthenic moves together, showing each other variations of moves and levels of progression.
After a great workout in the park I started to make my way back to my hostel. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my phone out on my run, nor a map, so I got a little lost and ended up running around Shanghai for an extra 30 minutes in a bid to re-find my way.
Breaking the fast
Breakfast consisted of mango and bananas for us today bought from a local street vendor. There were lots of vendors out this morning selling what looks like fried bread and pancake rolls but our main mission this morning was to get to see the famous Shanghai sideline of the Bund.
Shanghai’s view of the Bund showcases the architectural triumphs that China has to offer. Each building looked unique, some for their height and facade, some for their gravity defying designs such as the Pearl (pink building to the left).
Never one for a boring design, the tunnel to Pudong was a strange experience which everyone should experience at least once. Zooming along an underground tunnel with flashing lights via cable car, with a strange voice bellowing one the tannoy system, Pudong’s tunnel was something out of Willy Wonder and the Chocolate Factory movie.
Shanghai’s financial district was an interesting experience. Similar to London’s canary walf, Pudong was full of tall buildings and people rushing in between offices, cafes and restaurants. What did surprise me was the vast amount of fast food dim sum restaurants there was.
Yes we gave ‘fast dim sum’ a try.
We ordered at the desk at the front of the restaurant, collected our dim sum from the kitchen after our order number was called (luckily also shown a screen above the kitchen) and tried to find a table to sit at. The place was rammed so we had to perch on the side of a table with a large family, eating our dim sum and slurping our noodles together.
We also visited the Old Town, with it’s high-peaked roofs and wooden framed buildings. The nearby markets were filled with people queuing up for food from street vendors, with a forty person deep queue for the popular food stalls.
Strolling around the streets, we stumbled upon one of the many temples in the surrounding area. It was beautiful to see the care and attention each visitor showed when entering the scared space; lighting incense sticks from a fire in the middle of the courtyard, bowing to the statues in shrines and putting money in the boxes dotted around the temple.
After being on our feet all day, with the high levels of both heat and humidity, we went back to the hostel to freshen before dinner.
Dinner consisted of roasted green beans, mushrooms and broccoli with a huge side order of white rice in one of the cities shopping plazas (The Bellagio).
Instead of dessert we walked back to the Bund to see Shanghai’s famous skyline at night from a nearby rooftop bar. Pudong’s buildings, viewed from across the Bund, put on a fun light show every evening, flashing SH across their facades – both the abbreviation for Shanghai and my name Sam Hill – what a welcome to the city!