14 May – Our new housesitter John, kindly drove us up to the airport so that we could embark on our next little adventure. An 11pm flight on our national carrier was full the to the brim and cattle class seats are getting even more cramped. Despite that did manage to get a few hours kip, watch two movies (Hidden Figures – a great watch, and our classic Pork Pie for a bit of light entertainment).
Arrived in Shanghai without incident and a little early but someone obviously didn’t pay the terminal fee as we were parked up way out in the cargo area and quite a bus journey from there to the arrivals terminal.
After a little confusion where to go for our visa processing, were directed to the special visa desks. Suprised how few people were taking advantage of their 144hr visa free period. Only about 20 off our flight were staying on. The two officers on the desk certainly took their time to get through us – once we got to the desk, were told that we needed to fill in more forms – so back to the back of the queue again – no worries as we had a nice social interaction with fellow travellers.
When we finally got through immigration – our flight had all picked up their bags and the carousel had been shut down with no sign of our bags. A walk up and down the hall finally found our bags in a roped off area all safe and sound. Out in the arrivals hall and expectations that it would be a seething mass of people was quickly changed – hardly anyone around!
I had previously investigated how we would find our way to the city and my pick of the Egobus was a good choice but a bit of a wait was in store so we finally got out of the terminal 3 hours after arriving. Egobus are electric minibuses – a really smooth ride and we missed the rush hour traffic so it was a speedy 50 minute ride to our hotel.
First surprise was the standard of housing in the outskirts of the city – was expecting masses of high rise apratments, but these suburbs were made of terraced houses in blocks of threes – two to three storeys high, all looking neat and tidy. A lot of greenery and quite a few waterways criss-crossing our path. As we neared the city,then the buildings did start getting higher and of course right in the centre, there is some amazing modern architecture blending in with the colonial buildings.
Fortunately we got straight into our hotel room, nice view overlooking Nanking Road and a welcome rest to recharge faded batteries.
Batteries recharged it was time to head out and see what was around us. The Bund beckoned, accessed down the pedestrian mall that is Nanking Road. A spot of lunch/dinner to bolster the energy was welcome.
The Bund was busy, but not uncomfortably so, great views across the river – a lot of action happening on the river with barges, ferries and tourist boats. Surprise No. 2 – it is so clean!! There is no rubbish on the streets, feels really safe walking around and a shopping mecca for those needing retail therapy.
We couldn’t hang out on the Bund until it got properly dark as we were waning again, so back to the hotel and watch the city lights come to life from our window instead and rest up for some newchallenges tomorrow.