And now for Shanghai

After getting in and settled in the Radisson New World, in the downtown area, we went to Xintiandi, a happening night spot combining malls, restaurants and nightclubs into a compact walkable area.  We ended up choosing "Paradise", a stonegrill restaurant, where the food is delivered raw to you along with a very very hot stone, which you use to cook the food to your liking.  I had the sirloin steak, and our vegetarian friends had the vegetable platter, which substituted a large mushroom for the meat.

It didn't take long for the action to start!

A Filipino band had been setting up, and at 9 a large crowd of Chinese businessmen came in just in time for the band to start their first set, made up of mostly pop songs from the 80's-2000's, but they did throw in a few Chinese-language ones. 

Shanghai has some interesting architecture.  It's been heavily developed over the last 10 years and they are trying to make some things striking. This makes me think of something Gaudi might design.

Not everything is so special.

The next night we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant located in a mall in the Pudong area, facing The Bund.  We stopped for some photos in front of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which had been the tallest structure in China until 2007.

A few other miscellanea - a new variant of the international power plug. This has plastic inserts preventing you from plugging things into it until a ground plug is inserted.  It prevented me from plugging anything into it at all.

Got the english-language Shanghai Daily every day, and in glancing through the classifieds, had to read the Jolly Good Massage ad a couple times - did they really mean "Shemale"?

Before going out on Saturday I had a nice lunch in one of the hotel restaurants - this is pork with noodles.  Mmm.

The Radisson has a revolving restaurant in this dome, along with a bar at the top, which features a Filipino band.

I saw a tourist site on my map called the Memorial of the First Conference of the Communist Party and after reading up a bit, thought I'd go see what it had to offer.  So during my walk over there I went through Tomorrow Square, which has your local Ferrari, Mercedes, and Porsche dealerships. 

Last time I was in Shanghai I saw a lot more bicycles - there are a lot fewer these days.

So this is it, the site where in July, 1921, the first congress of the Chinese communist party was held, with representatives from the Russian communist party as well.  Mao was there.  The museum was free, but you had to get a ticket, and the exhibits were pretty good, in Chinese and English.  I tried to take some pictures but was swatted at by a guard, so I can only recall the timeline during which the British Imperialists and foreign aggressors were repelled by the courageous but underarmed proletariat in their effort to bring world communism to fruition, and bring the dictatorship of the masses.

And across the street from where that first congress was held???  The Rolls Royce dealership.  Chairman Mao would have been proud to see how his work turned out.

Took a cab over to The Bund, to see some of the older buildings from the French Concession, but you couldn't see the river because it's all boarded up while they build sites for the World Expo which starts in a month. 

I walked north over the river to see if I could get to Pudong that way, and took a photo of the Oriental Pearl and a monument to the workers who have died in their efforts for the State.

My walk took me past the Russian consulate, where outside they had a recent photo presentation.

It celebrated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia (was Soviet Union) and China.

My routing failed me - you can't get there from here.  So I took a cab back through where I had just walked and nearly back to the hotel, in order to take the tunnel over to the World Financial Center, now the tallest building in China.

Here's some more interesting architecture - this one has more Ionic columns than I've ever seen in one place.

I thought that since I was here, I'd pay my 150 RMB (about $25) to go to the top of the Oriental Tower and see the city.  Fortunately, I am not a ragamuffin, drunken people, or psychotic.

While I got up there, it was an inordinately frustrating experience.  Mr. Lucky gets in line just as 10 tour groups get in and cut in front to use the only elevator in service to go to the top. After 45 minutes of not moving at all we finally start to get multiplexed with 2 other lines they formed during our wait.  After an hour we get in the elevator and go halfway up, only to find we're stuck in yet another line for the one elevator that goes to the top.  That was another 30 minutes.  After finally getting to the top, the view is expansive but cruddy, because they have no way to clean the windows.  Most views I photographed are unusable, but here's a few that through various angles show something usable.

After dogging it at the top, I got in another line to get in the elevator going down to another level in the big ball in the middle, where there are a few levels connected by stairs.  There's a plexiglas ring around this and you can stand on it.  It is unnerving.

For dinner I stayed in and dined at the Epicure, the revolving restaurant on top, in order to sample some New Shanghai food and use my 20% off coupon.  The view is great - here's looking east toward Pudong and the Oriental Pearl, which is dark because it's Earth Hour.

In the foreground you can see Nanjing Road, named for the former capital of China, which has its own history.  This area in Shanghai is a pedestrian-only shopping area about a mile long.

A view south over People's Square, a major subway stop and park. There were street vendors all over when I went through earlier in the day, selling Chinese knockoffs of the mascot for the upcoming Chinese World Expo.  Irony.

After going through the Chinese, Japanese, European, and Indian menus, as well as a specials menu, wine menu and drinks menu (all the menus took up the whole table), I went for something which sounded good - beef carpaccio with shaved parmesan and pesto.  Yum!

The main stuck with the pesto theme.

Dessert was ginger chocolate cake - you could taste the ginger but it didn't overwhelm the chocolate.

After dinner I went up to the bar to hear yet another Filipino rendition of "Dancing Queen" and used my 15% off coupon on some hopefully-authentic Australian beer. 

Your intrepid author taking a few minutes off.

Next morning I took a taxi to the Longyang road Maglev station to take the train down to the airport.  50 RMB for the taxi and another 40 for the train made it a worthwhile trip. Especially since this maglev is the first commercially operating magnetic levitation train in the world.  It only has 2 stops, and has varying speeds depending on time of day, and I was too early for the fastest time, but it was smooth and nice.  Worth the experience.

Ah, Pudong airport.  It's a strange ceiling.

And to all you pilots out there, be sure you update your INS before you leave!

A nice China Eastern A320 flight over the East China Sea, and in an hour we were over Okinawa, whose waters are much more startling than this picture shows.

Okinawa!  Part of the Japanese defence forces.

Haven't found out whose ships these are yet.

Naha has a monorail.

That's it for now, more later!