Well we arrived in Shanghai Friday 8th June after a 13 hour train from Beijing! We booked a middle bed and a top bed on the train and the amount of room you had to sit up was about half the length of your back so we spent most of the time either lying down or bent in half! I was being quite the wimp on the train and was paranoid that everyone was going to steal our bags which of course they didn't! The train was ok in general as it was an overnight train so we slept through most of it!
The directions to our hostel weren't so great, they said get off the train and walk 300m (they didn't say in which direction) so we walked around aimlessly with our heavy backpacks for about half an hour till we eventually came across it! We booked a dorm room which was great the beds had room enough for 2! On the same day we arrived so did our room mates, john and sophie, so we decided to spend the afternoon and evening exploring Shanghai together which was great fun!
Saturday we got up very late and decided to go to the Jade Budda Temple, as we got there some musical instruments began to play and we wondered what was going on, it turns out it was their praying ceremony. The ceremony went on for at 45 minutes, and it was the most amazing thing we have ever seen! It bought a tear to my eye to watch and hear them praying, the beilief they have is incredible and that was clearly displayed in the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony the paper flowers that the monks had carried and the gifts that were given to the temple were set alight. There was tons of gifts, not sure why they set them alight but it was obviously a common ritual. Take a look at the videos you might be able to see a little of what we experienced!
Sunday 10th we went to whats called the bund, which is a term for muddy embankment. Here is where most things take place, ie all the big business's like epson,nestle, the tv tower, etc. On the opposite side of the bund is all the old architecture which was where everything had previosly taken place, seeing the old and the new brought together like that was amazing and it was even better at night time when all the buildings were lit up! To get to the other side of the river we went through a tunnel in a cart type thing, in the tunnel was a light show, each section of lights represented something different, and there were these very scary blow up people which flew into your cart, i didn't like that very much! lol!
Sorry this is such a long blog haven't been able to update it for a while!
Anyway, the next day we went with John and Sophie to Shanghai Museum, we somehow ended up at the exhibition centre first but that was just as interesting as it showed the furture plans for Shanghai and the massive development thay have planned for the next 5 years! The museum was great, it had 4 floors and 2 or more sections on each floor, so there was alot to see! The museum displayed all the old chinese statues, pottery, wood work, art and caligraphy, dating back to 6000 B.C and earlier. Alot of the artifacts were in excellent condition, so much so that i kept telling adam they were lying to us and putting in new pots that had just been made (adam has a brain so obviously he didn't believe me!). On the way out of the museum we bumped into 3 Chinese teenagers who spoke a little English so to be polite (as it is such a rarity that anyone talks to you in English) we spoke to them for a little while, we had a laugh they mentioned that the Chinese call Peter Crouch a chop stick as he is so long and thin! hahahahahahaha! They told us they were visiting the area but knew of a tea festival we could all go to, we went for something to eat and said we would meet them later (much to their dislike). When we did meet them we followed them to a tea room not a festival or anything of the sort. The tea room was at the top and back of a shop in a mall, and when we alked in we all made the same first impression (that it isn't tea that is in the pots we could see). We hastily made an exit by saying we needed some money, when we got downstairs funnily enough John said he noticed a marijuana leaf on the floor! They were probably very nice normal people but we didn't feel like risking it!
So overall Shanghai has been quite an adventure, again we didn't stay long as the trains are always fully booked so we can't pick and choose our days quite so much! There are much less people here and the weather is loads better as there is little smog compared to Beijing! The traffic is just as bad and you fear for your life if your crossing a road or in a car! When the green man lights up to walk the cars that are turning right and left into our crossing are still allowed to go, so its much more like a game of chicken (seeing if you can make it across without getting hit by a car or bike) when you are crossing! We have booked a 20 hour hard sleeper to Hong Kong so lets see how that one goes! O and by the way the day we went to the bund we also went to hooters for dinner which pleased adam alot! He got to see lots of bums and boobs and dancing, it was so funny, take a look at the pictures, all is well we ended up with the ugly waitress! lol!