So our first stop was Shanghai. We arrived at our hostel at around midday after an 11 hour flight, tired and disorientated, but managed to explore a decent amount of the bund and dodge the annoying little people trying to sell us strange luminous green pig things that splat on the floor and wheels for our shoes (as opposed to actual skates), amongst other technological marvels. Jacqui decided to buy some fried squid on a stick and nibbled the end before declaring it was lovely and throwing most of it away.
We took the metro under the river to Pudong and wandered around skyscrapers of the business district for the afternoon. There wasn't a huge amount to do so we decided to go up to the viewing platform at the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower (you'll see once we get some photos up), which was something like 330 metres high and gave us an idea of exactly how huge Shanghai is. We then decided to eat in the tower's revolving restaurant, which is 250 metres above the city, and the food was completely average.
On our second day we went to the People's Park where hundreds of locals were gathering to advertise their children in the hope of marrying them off. It must have been the same place Paul Merton went to on that programme he did about China... they were all intermingling, swapping details and looking at photos... very strange. Anyway, in the evening we went on a river cruise which was an interesting experience. After buying our tickets at a suspicious looking booth we were bundled into something resembling Neill's British Gas van in size, along with roughly 500 other people, and whizzed off to a dingy dock at 100mph. Then we were shoved into a queueing area which looked as though it had been segregated into seperate sections for foreigners and chinese, and around the time we started to think we may have possibly been conned, we boarded a pretty fancy boat with a bar and leather sofas, and the cruise itself was really good. That evening we ate at a restaurant on the Bund which had great food, and the waitresses clearly thought we were rockstars or something. They kept taking photos of us with each of them and even wrote us a note welcoming us to China. It took them over half an hour and about five attempts but it was nice of them to make the effort!
On our last day in Shanghai we visited the Yuyuan Garden in the old town (Jacqui's favourite part so far). It wasn't very big, but at the time we went there wasn't a huge number of people there, so it was peaceful an all round beautiful place. Outside were lots of shops in tratiditional style chinese buildings and the streets were lined with stalls selling all sorts of... chinese stuff. We stayed around there until it decided to rain BADLY, at which point all the millions of taxis miraculously disappeared. After the nightmare of walking to the metro carrying all our stuff in torrential rain (although I was shielded by a fetching bright yellow poncho kindly offered to me by one of the hostel staff... great stuff), we got the maglev train to the airport in eight minutes at 301kph. After the worst, most nerve wrecking, bumpiest hell ride of a flight I have ever experienced (Jacqui says it "wasn't that bad but a bit bumpy") we somehow made it to Beijing...