We arrived in Shanghai after dark and it was about an hour drive from the airport to the port where the MV Explorer was docked. While we were hiking and seeing Beijing, the ship moved from Hong Kong to Shanghai. Since we had no classes between these two ports, you could choose to take the ship or travel over land on your own to Shanghai.
When we got back to the ship we were told that we had to turn in our passports so that they could be stamped by the port immigration. We had to do this even though we had already been through immigration in the airport. Well, that kind of ruined our dinner plans because they took our passports at 6:30pm and didn't give them back until 9:30pm because they had to take them somewhere off the ship. Either way, we got them back at 9:30pm and although we had already eaten dinner, we decided to walk toward the Bund which is this beautiful mix of sky scrapers on one side of the Huangpu River and on the other side is colonial architecture. We took a lot of pictures of the skyline and then walked around until we found a nice outdoor restaurant to have some drinks and chill with some friends of ours. We got back to the ship about 1:00am and we were worn out.
The next day we learned a valuable lesson: NEVER go out with your type A spouse without a plan. We wandered a little bit and found a tourism center. When we went in they didn't even look at me when I asked them where the "hop on, hop off" bus was. They also neglected to tell us that we could purchase tickets with a credit card in their office. Needless to say we finally wandered enough to find the bus stop but when we tried to board they didn't take credit cards and we were 20 yuan short to get both of us on. Our temperatures were rising then. Luckily, there was a group of SAS staff walking by and we asked them where we should go and they told us about Old Town which was just about a 5 minute walk away. We are so glad that things worked out the way they did, because we saw the most interesting shops and architecture and had the best dumplings EVER!
The Old Town was like a maze full of little shops where you could bargain for souvenirs and food, etc. We were told we should brave the long line for the dumplings and we did. It was about a 20 minute wait and we knew we were in the right place because it was all locals there getting the dumplings. We had no idea what we ordered; you just go to the window and hold up one finger per serving and then hand them some yuan and hope for the best. These were definitely the best dumplings we have ever had.
Although we had to be on the ship again that afternoon we felt like we got a feel for Shanghai. We wish we could see more of this city.
-We were invited up to the Dean's cabin tonight for drinks with the Dean and the Captain - how did we get so lucky?
-Our little friend Griffin (the 8 month old baby) had a fever in Beijing and his parents had to figure out how to get to the hospital with people who spoke very little English. Luckily, he's doing fine now.