Shanghai, China; March 5-7, 2010
Mar 7, 2010
| Mehow (sounds like me-ow) to Shanghai, Welcome to Shanghai Day 1,2,& 3. Our arrival on day one shouldn't count as a day because of our 18:30 (6:30 pm) arrival and consequential 2 hr. registration, picture taking, thermal imaging of each person on board (& crew) before we were cleared by 21:30 (9 :30 pm). Most of the time was spent waiting to be called before we could go to dinner and we were not about to go out in the cold, almost freezing, rainy weather. We somehow lost our "twin sisters" of the Indian Ocean and found their complementing twins & bitter cousins of Asia: Wet & Cold.
Really, our 2 days of Shanghai (& 3 nights) should have been broken up to 4 nights and 5 days, even if we had to omit a port of call. It seemed like we were rushed to get as much in as possible and the cold, wet weather did not help (even though the rain tapered off by midday Saturday). Regent provided a complimentary event for the World Cruisers (a ethnic fashion show & followed by private fireworks display on the Pudong side of the Huangpu river (mouth of the Yangtze river) opposite the Bund (that is under major reconstruction for the World Expo in May, 2010). Journal entry & photos are exciting as the Shanghai experience was.....................but those will be entered later...........
Day 2 of our Shanghai experience started in the early morning hours of 07:00 for room service breakfast to sleepy eyed travelers (some travelers stayed in bed until 08:00) for our early morning readiness (by 11 am) for : SHOPPING! Ellie & Debbie (more Debbie than Ellie) had the unsatiated desire to shop, shop, shop......the accompanying "mule" (me) just did what it was told: get this, carry that, see if you can get a better price but don't buy it (yet), help me carry this, find a bathroom for me! No, really it was some fun watching the wide eyed look on those two, like children waiting for Christmas morning to see what gifts Santa had left. I knew both of them wanted to shop but neither were ready for the onslaught of vendors & hawkers that we had experienced on our previous visit to Shanghai. Ellie should have been ready and was a little more prepared and finally just sat on her rollator & just said no until they left her alone. Debbie on the other hand, got distracted by the first: "lady tell me what you want to pay" & the first vendor that had XXXXX (stuff of any name or description).
By 13:30 (1:30 pm) we were all tired and thinking of returning (or at least I was) to the ship but the girls decided not to waste too much shopping time at the "fashion market" (located on Jing Jang Rd & also called the "knock off market") by having lunch of noodles & soup (too bad we couldn't speak Mandarin Chinese) but got something like lo Mein & soup with hot tea to warm us up. We cleverly did this by pointing to the pictures on the lunch menu & to the plate of food on the table next to us. We got something like what they had (but not exactly because we were looking at the dinner menu). The noodles in the bowl were at least a mile long (or it seemed like that) because they never ended! Our food was good but we really didn't know what exactly we got and really didn't care because all that shopping time was going to waste! (at least was for them). Debbie went out on her own & we told her to meet us back in 30-45 min and we went on another few floors to just casually look at all the "stuff" for sale.
Finally, after looking for Debbie for about 30 min past our appointed time (she really must have been shopping hard) we found that she had gone back to the agreed meeting spot. It was about 15:00 and taxis would be getting harder to come by (and it was drizzling & misty raining by now). I went to the curb to get any cab to stop but it took about 30 min because everyone had the same idea & cabs were being snatched up as fast as they stopped at the curb. I had a little more difficult time in attracting a cab, having it wait, signaling to the ladies to come get in the cab and prevent someone from getting in the vehicle and it driving off (which happened more than once-made me think of New York but less polite, if that can be).
We got our taxi to take us to the Arts & Crafts building, so we could get our shuttle bus back to the ship because our driver did not understand where the ship was located or could figure out on the map (even though we pointed to the spot on it). Finally, our journey ended when we drug ourselves up the gangplank while getting the ever so gentle sprinkle of misting drizzle but what the heck; we had gone shopping in Shanghai!!! (and survived to tell about it)
But the FUN doesn't stop there! Regent planned an afternoon show of the Chinese acrobats & an evening for us "World Cruisers" that included an ethnic fashion show & fireworks (exclusively for Regent World Cruisers).
All that wanted to attend the Acrobats show (about 300+) loaded the 10-12 buses to the Convention center at the Ritz Portman center on Jing Jang Rd. (in the "exclusive" upscale section of Jing Jang Rd.). The awe of the agility, skill, timing & limberness of the performers was just amazing & gave all of us many minutes of amazement. All of the attendees seemed to appreciate the show & after about an hour, we all were glad to get back to the ship for our evening of entertainment & fireworks (& maybe a quick nap).
After a quick dinner the attendees loaded up the buses (about 8) to the upscale part of Jing Jang Rd where REAL fashion is displayed in private stores with Beverly Hills, Rodeo drive store fronts (& Paris, Rome, New York prices as well). We were greeted with a glass of champagne or wine as we entered and a colorful Chinese pair of dragons to entertain us for the Chinese New Year.
All the models were beautiful and Ellie's granddaughter, Emma Kate would love to have seen them in person. So, please be patient, for all the model photos were for her viewing & pleasure. We were entertained for about an hour with various regional costumes (each with a separate model) and acts & acrobatics in between to keep it interesting. By the end of the entertainment our crew staff sensed our tiredness & unwillingness to get out into the cold elements (light mist & blustery cold wind at times) and asked for those who wanted to see the fireworks to get on the first buses and the rest of those who wanted to go back to the ship, to be patient & load up after we had left.
Ellie, Debbie & I went to see the fireworks (Ellie & Debbie stayed on the bus & got as good a seat as could be for fireworks out of the elements). The officials of the harbor walk had cordoned off a section of the Huangpu river for about 500 +/- Regent guests (maybe 30-40 of us came to the riverside) to see, firsthand, the firework display. There were 2 firework displays. One, for a private wedding a few hundred feet up the river on a private boat and one for us just a few minutes later. So, we had about an hour & half of fireworks and were thoroughly "frozen" (or at least chilled to the bone & shivering) by the end of the show. Our firework demonstration could have gone awry by the floating firework boat shooting off its initial salvo within 50 ft of a passing gasoline tanker (this is a really busy commercial, industrial part of the Huangpu river as it changes to the Yangtze river just a few miles upstream). We were never so glad to see the end come as we did tonight.
Our beds welcomed us as we were late, "chilled," comers to a warm ship and another adventure awaiting us in the morning: The Maglev train & Hyatt Observation tower!
Day 2 (really 3 & our sail date tonight at 19:00-7 pm):
Early morning rising for the Maglev train & Shanghai observation tower was not easy because Ellie didn't want to go out in the cold & overcast day again, instead rest for the upcoming trips to Hong Kong & Viet Nam. Debbie & I went on the tour but was very uneventful. The Maglev train was just what it was supposed to be: a quick 20 min & back trip to the Airport so we could say we went 431 kilometers (about 140-160 mph). As usual, the shock wave of the the 2 trains passing each other (@ 308 km/hr-or less) was the highlight of the ride each way. Those who had not been on the train wondered what was going on and somewhat startled with the noise & shock wave vibration--it was still fun to feel it & know what was happening.
The Observation tower was a fair site for pictures, in that the haze was gradually lifting and the sun was trying to come out by 11:00 am. The pictures were still amazing to see the growth of the World Village (Expo 2010) development & all the plans Shanghai had made for their expose' into the World as a "developed, progressing nation." We returned to the ship in time for our lunch and quick exit down the Huangpu river & on to our journey's to China & beyond! (Buzz Lightyear, anyone!)
"Our World, Our Way, No Regrets!"