Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shanghai Summary

How to get around in Shanghai:

I went to Shanghai for the World's Fair, and all I saw was the back of a lot of people's heads:

I'd like to say it wasn't that bad, but I can't. The lines were hours and hours long; in the evening it was better, especially after 8:00--I did get into the USA exhibition, but when I came out, all the restaurants were closed. Sigh. It was time to go home.

I stood in line for the Korean pavilion for 1 1/2 hours, thinking the entrance would be just around this one corner ... but when I got there, the rest of the line was exposed--at least another 1 1/2 hours of it!

So the Expo was a letdown (the USA pavilion didn't even have a passport stamp!) but Shanghai was awesome. The weather was great the first two days, but after that it rained intermittently, and always threatened. Still, the temperature was mild, and the taxis were very inexpensive, the subway cheaper than Seoul, but just as extensive, and my hotel very conveniently located.

I'm not much of a shopper, but this town had even me scouting around for bargains! Temples and gardens made for nice sightseeing, and Chinese restaurants everywhere meant great eating for not much money!

I put together some clips, added a few still shots and slapped on some labels for the video at top--I'm no Fellini, but it's a good summary of how to travel in Shanghai. (I'm planning to do a sort of Shanghai walking tour next.) You will note there are no buses in the video--this is because the buses are foreigner-unfriendly, moreso than the ones in Seoul.

Interestingly--well, fortunately, really--you must be a Shanghai resident to rent a car, so Hertz is out of the question. This is a good thing, because the traffic is positively lethal. In Seoul, people generally respect the traffic laws, and usually follow traffic lights, pedestrian crossings etc. In Beijing, I thought the cars were pretty good about it, though the bicyclists and pedestrians only loosely followed the lines and signs. The Shanghainese, however, are in open rebellion against the authoritarian pig-dogs of traffic control--the only law at a really busy intersection is that the biggest vehicle, or the one with the loudest horn, has the right-of-way. Every morning I was surprised not to find bodies heaped along the edges of the roads, though perhaps they have an early-morning squad to go round collecting them before most people get up.

Other than that, I found the Shanghainese very helpful and kind, though there was an unpleasantly high percentage of touts or mosquitoes about--especially on the weekend, espeically near subway exits, and especially around me.

Couldn't have put it better even if I knew what it meant!


조안나 said...

That's what I heard from other folks about the expo too. It's too bad, because from the photos I've seen it looks fantastic! Anyhoo, I wish I could go to Shanghai, it's one of my top places left to go in Asia and I'm thinking it's not gonna happen...

Tuttle said...

J-A, why won't it happen? The flight is quick, 2 1/2 hrs, and pretty cheap--I got mine for RT for 357,000 during Chuseok!

You can get lots of tailor-mades for cheap, and actually come out ahead. Of course, you're not hard to fit like I am!

Even without the World's Fair, Shanghai is a definite two-thumbs-up from me!

Chris said...

"pieces of pieces of the heart"? Not sure I want to know what that means...

Tanner Brown said...

Excellent. I feel like I just went to Shangers for a day!

Tuttle said...

Chris: it's a little like that movie, Places in the Heart of the River Country".
Tanner: That is what I was hoping for, thank you!