Monday, March 24
Shanghai is the fourth largest port in the world. It has had very close ties with the western world, being the second Chinese port opened to foreigners. I spent a couple of days there back in 1988 so I have not purchased a shore excursion.
I had another restless night. The first half sitting up on the sofa and the second sitting up in bed. I did not cough as much, however.
I woke up at 8:22. It is overcast with a hint of sun peeking through once in awhile but it cleared up during the morning. Temperature highs predicted to be 63F/17C. The shuttle ride into town is over an hour and I debated whether to actually go. Since I was feeling better than yesterday, I decided to go into Shanghai.
As a chance to have a wander it was not very good. The shuttle indeed took an hour and five minutes (as promised) to get us to the Silk Museum. The Silk Museum, however, is not close to anything. it was more than a mile walk to the Bund or other interesting areas or a taxi drive away. I looked through the silk museum (most things were very expensive). I spoke with some CC friends who had been to Shanghai on Cunard a few years ago and they said the shuttle stop was at the Bund (the waterfront area with many western style buildings dating from the early 1900s) then, which was very convenient.
On the other hand, the hour-plus ride gave an interesting overview of the changes since 1988. High-rise buildings are going up everywhere. The western influence was seen all over. Many names like Gap, Marks and Spencer, Subway, Starbucks, Haagen-Dazs, and McDonalds can be seen. Clothing has come a long way since 1988, too. Back then, even in the cities like Shanghai, you would see many men in the Chairman Mao style jacket and pants and women in the sarong style dress slit up the sides with slacks underneath. Although I'm sure in the countryside these may still be common, Shanghai is definitely 21st century clothing.
Probably the most amazing difference was the number of cars. In 1988 almost all the cars (and there were not that many) were either taxis or government, black, boxy cars. Today, there are many privately owned cars. Yes, there are still a number of bicycles and motorbikes (and there are special lanes and traffic signals for them) but the roads are packed with cars and you can see new parking areas everywhere. Surprisingly, there were a number of Buicks, some Cadillacs along with VWs, BMWs, Mercedes, Peugeots, and the Japanese brands.
Returned back to the ship about 1:30 and went to lunch - my appetite is back! Sat out in the sun on deck nine for some time. Then I was going to take a nap but decided to work on the blog instead.
Bumped into my dinner companion who had to fly home last week for her father-in-law's funeral. She had just returned on board.
Went to 4:15 trivia and did poorly (only 10 out of 23). Went to the library to try to find another book but nothing appealed (I still have about 75 pages in my last one).
Sat on my balcony for awhile until the clouds increased and the temperature fell.
Only four of us for dinner. Afterwards, I went up to deck nine for sail-away (there were about six of us out there). Came back and watched us sail through all of the ships going in and out of the harbor. I then turned on the TV to hear the sad news that Malaysian Airlines announced that MH370 was lost beyond doubt.
Old and new Shanghai
Some of the new buildings
along the Bund
the front of a bank
close up of the decoration on the bank - not sure what the "sweet" has to do with a bank
old style street sweeper
Smooth sailing until next time!