Last leg and home!
Farewell to Asia
Shanghai: a very big place
We are here to report that our time in Shanghai was very satisfying. We arrived in port around 7am and all 3100 of us eventually put our feet on Mother Earth again. We were booked into 'Regal Shanghai East Asia Hotel'. We were travelling with Don & Ann-Maree who had foreseen trouble and had a Chinese crew member translate the name of the hotel and the address into Mandarin: very smart. However, we seemed to manage to hire a taxi driver who couldn't even read mandarin so it was a rather anxious trip. We had all booked a day tour beginning at 10am so when we were still driving around the bleak, busy expressways of Shanghai at 10.15am, we were getting a bit edgy. Good news: we eventually arrived safely at the hotel (which was built as part of the massive, amazing Shanghai Sports Stadium: how did the taxi driver not know this hotel?) and met our respective guides and set off to see the sights.
Ellie was our English-speaking private guide and we even had our own personal driver. We were determined to spend quality time in this huge metropolis of 25 million people (more than the number who live in all of Oz!) it was a grand day, except it drizzled but we managed to see the sights and even do a little shopping in Nanking Mall. The highlight had to be the iridescent, radiant lights on the amazing buildings and the reflections on the river at The Bund. This stretch of promenade has to be seen to be believed. Traditional-style European design buildings down one side of the river and the most modern striking buildings on the other side.
There is SO much wealth in Shanghai. We didn't shop at the 'fake fakes' markets (too hard basket) but we had a Designer Outlet 'real fakes' Complex near our hotel and the prices were mostly more expensive than Australia. We did manage to find a couple of bargains and keep warm and dry. We were sad to have to farewell our English friends, Simon, Sue and dear 80 year-old Mary. We have accommodation in Cambridge next time we go to England! For something completely different, we travelled to the Shanghai airport on their very fast train.. it got up to 432kms/hr and took 7 minutes to go 70 kms.. hair-raising!!
We had an overnighter from Shanghai to Sydney: another great flight. The A330 is a comfortable plane made even better with good service and noise-cancelling earphones!
Best bits: Singapore, Shanghai, meeting new friends... and returning to this beloved country we are blessed to call our homeland!!