I remembered my first visit to Shanghai was back in 1999. It was also my first visit to China. I landed on the old Airport (虹橋機場) in Puxi Shanghai area. It was not the airport in Pudong area, which is available today. I have many “first” experiences during my first visit. I in fact changed my perception toward China immediately during my first visit.
I, first, discovered China was more Capitalism than Communism. I, first, discovered Shanghai was many step ahead many city in South East Asia. I, first, discovered Shanghai is a beautiful city. I, first, discover 上海灘 was really a place in Shanghai city (I thought it was only a scene in the movie). I, first, discovered the real Chinese Food. I, first, discovered queue-up was not necessary in the country. I, first, discovered people talked as loud as they could in the public, the people communicate each other sound more like fighting than talking. There were many more, but those were my unforgettable experience.
It was my fourth visit to Shanghai on November 2011. One thing that Shanghai never changes is the weather, as cold and windy as before. It could be my age getting older. I could not stand on the cold weather any longer. I bought additional clothing. I wore 4 pieces of clothing, 2 pieces of pants, and 2 pairs of sock. I was even thinking to wear a hat and glove.
In 2011, I saw people started to queue-up in the line, but not quite up to the expectation yet. I again saw people were talking as loud as they could. I saw traffic jam as bad as other country during rush hour. I think traffic jam is a problem in many countries. I saw people were being “pushed” into the MRT cabin. Can you imagine that? I felt the rhythm of pushing from the door into the MRT cabin. 1,2,3 push! 1,2,3 push! I was one of the victims being push into the cabin. I could not think of how a little boy and girl traveled in the MRT during rush hour.
I found people in every corner of Shanghai city. I saw many Police patrolling and standing on the road in the city. A lot more compare to my country. I saw beggar everywhere in the city. I think the beggar was not the homeless people there. They were the entrepreneurs in their territory on the street. I also met many solicitors on the street, they asked me to buy them some bread. Some bread? Or they wanted to take my wallet? Some solicitor even offered fortune telling for free. They wanted to predict my future. I told them I done the same for free. I accurately predicted they wanted some money.
I saw many modern tall building and historic building in Shanghai city. Pudong (East side of Huangpu River) is a modern business and industrial area. Puxi (West side of Huangpu River) is a mixture of the modern and old business area. The night scene near the Huangpu River is magnificent. I found Puxi had more entertaining places than Pudong area. So, please chose the right side if you want to hang out late at night.
My visit this time was mainly on business. I visited a few factories and some friend, and ended most of the time with food and drink. Dim Sum in the morning, Shanghai Chinese food in the afternoon, and Western food and beer in the evening. As a matter of fact, I like to have the meeting in this way. I felt more productive with many agenda completed. Shanghai is a good place to eat and drink, but it could be a place where you burn a big hole in your wallet. I checked on the price before walking into the restaurant or bar.
I was impressed by the train service in Shanghai city. It was a busy train station connected to many cities in the country. A high-speed train equipped with modern facility in the cabin. I took the high-speed train to Hangzhou from Shanghai. It took only 40 minute. I enjoyed very much along the way with coffee and light breakfast served in the cafeteria. I found the high-speed train even connected to Beijing with only 4 hours ride.
Hangzhou is another nice place. I stayed one night at the hotel in West Lake. I think I will visit Hangzhou again. It was too rush for me to really enjoy staying there this time. I visited a factory and a supplier, checked in late to the hotel and left the place to Hong Kong in the morning. Thankfully, I managed to take some nice West Lake photo.
Bottom line, I like Shanghai. Beside the people there was not so happy to queue-up, talked loudly, being push, and watch out your wallet, I enjoyed every moment while in the city. The have good food, beer, historic places, very nice local people (I met in the bar), and convenience MRT link to every part of the city. I will visit Shanghai again. I have two-tour tickets for 5 days 4 nights Shanghai and Hangzhou area to use before March 2012. I hope to visit again as a tourist, not for business.
More photo here. iPhone/iPad user, please click here Shanghai & Hangzhou.