Shanghai is definitely one of China's better known cities. Who hasn't heard of Shanghai? But I wonder if those that have never visited Shanghai picture in their mind what this marvelous city is really like. I know that I, for one, did not. Before visiting Shanghai my images of the city were more oriented toward what Shanghai would have been during the colonial era when Britain control it. A mix of the modern with heavy Chinese underpinnings. What comes to mind is the Shanghai pictured in the movie "Empire of the Sun." A mix of cultures with definite separations and class structures. But that isn't modern-day Shanghai at all.

Surprisingly Shanghai is a very modern city much like New York, London, Singapore and Paris. It appears much of the city is new and the old Shanghai is fast disappearing. China's intent for Shanghai is to make it a world-class banking and finance center, the country's economic powerhouse. And, from the looks of this bustling city they are succeeding.

Shanghai is located on the Huangpu Jiang, a tributary of the Yangtze, which provides the city with access to the ocean. Today more than 14 million people live in the city and it is a labyrinth of modern skyscrapers, high-rises and super highways. To visit Shanghai is to see China's future today.

Shanghai ... the surprising city
Beijing city slogan ... Build New Beijing ... Hold Great Olympics
"Build New Beijing ... Hold Great Olympics"
Having visited the Temple of Heaven and had lunch our tour bus headed to Beijing's International Airport for our short two-hour flight to Shanghai. Beijing was a marvelous city and we enjoyed ourselves there immensely. There was so much to see and, unfortunately, we only caught a glimpse of some of it. But we were ready to bid farewell to Beijing and discover something new in Shanghai. Shortly before our trip Beijing had been awarded the Olympic Games and it was obvious that they were very proud of that. Signs everywhere referenced the future games even though they are still years away. Most taxis had a sign in their rear window (left) that read "Build New Beijing ... Hold Great Olympics". I'm sure the city will change immensely between now and the time the Olympics are held and I'm positive the Chinese people will host superb games.

A word about traveling within China: Continuing on with my running commentary on the pros and cons of tour group travel I will add that traveling from one city to another was a breeze. The best thing is that you didn't have to worry about your luggage. Depending on your departure time you would either set your checked luggage out the night before or early in the morning. Bellboys would pick the bags up and they would be transported to the airport. You didn't see them again until you arrived at the destination airport and then you only identified them and assured they had arrived. GCT made all the arrangements to have the bags picked up, transported to the hotel and deposited in your room. What a pleasant experience that was. The only negative thing that popped into my mind was the repeated questions that the airline agents ask you when you're checking in here in the States: "Have the bags been out of your possession?" The fact is we, as individuals, never checked in at a Chinese airport. That was all taken care of by our tour guide. She'd disappear for awhile and return with boarding passes. The boarding passes were handed out based on seating arrangements, for example, Anne and I would be given two seats together no matter what the name was on the boarding pass. We had to show passports at the security checkpoints, but they were never matched to the ticket as they are here in the US.

A word about the Panda umbrella: Whenever you're traveling with a group it's a good idea to have an easily spotted symbol to represent the rallying point for the group. Our tour escort, Mei, had the perfect symbol ... a Panda umbrella. It was the cutest thing and was very easy to spot from a distance because of its shape and white color. You can see it off in the distance in many of the pictures we took. It proved invaluable in airports where you were negotiating crowded areas.

Modern jet fleet for China Airlines
Travel within China was on modern
Boeing or Airbus aircraft configured for coach travel seating

Our rallying symbol ... the Panda umbrella
Alicia holding the
Panda umbrella

Arriving at Shanghai's airport we were met by Julia, our local guide, and escorted to the bus for the short trip to our hotel, the Hilton International. On the road we were briefed about the schedule for that evening (a trip to a Chinese acrobatic show), the next few days in Shanghai and the logistics of the hotel and surrounding area. Arriving at the hotel we would have a couple of hours to acquaint ourselves with the hotel and surrounding area before meeting for dinner and the show. Mei had advised us where a small convenience store was located and John and I immediately set out to buy some refreshments. As in most major cities there is lots of traffic and Shanghai was no exception. However, in the area by the hotel to cross the street you rode an escalator to an upper level that allowed you to cross without mingling with the traffic. That was nice. Within a five minute walk John and I arrived at the convenience store and I almost fell over backwards with what I saw.

Familiar drinks: I hate to admit it, but two of my favorite drinks are milk and Mt. Dew. Two things that are very hard to come by when traveling in foreign countries. In Beijing Coke was the chosen drink and could be found everywhere for a very modest price (about 50 cents for a 20 oz. bottle, less than half the cost here in the States). It seems that Shanghai was a Pepsi town. We would see a street later by the Bund with neon Pepsi signs virtually every 20 feet the entire length of the street. I couldn't believe it when I saw Mt. Dew bottles in the refrigerated case. Of course I immediately picked up a six-pack for the hotel and began anticipating how good it was going to taste and, mind you, I'd only been without Mt. Dew for about four days since arriving in Beijing. As a matter of normal course I then checked out the milk situation and, to my surprise, I found pasteurized and homogenized milk. Again I almost fell over. In all of our prior trips to southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Japan I had never seen pasteurized/homogenized milk before. I bought two pint containers to try, but I really wasn't convinced it would be like our milk at home. Arriving back at the hotel I immediately opened and drank the milk. It was very good and similar to what I would purchase in the States. It tasted a little different, but it was definitely passable as the milk I've grown to know and love. The Mt. Dew on-the-other-hand wasn't very good as it had a metallic taste to it.

Speaking of familiar things found when traveling. From our previous travels we've learned not to be surprised to see familiar sights in foreign countries. For example, McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Wendy's are just about everywhere you go. You can't hardly escape them. But, in Beijing I saw something that really took me by surprise ... a Popeye's Chicken. For those of you who don't know Popeye's offers a spicy fried chicken based on a Louisiana recipe. We have them where we live, but they are difficult to find in many of the US cities I visit for business. To find a Popeye's in Beijing certainly sends a message that China is very much following the western model for its growth and expansion.

Anne boarding the bus to the Chinese acrobat show
Anne boarding the bus
for dinner and the
acrobatic show
At the appointed time we all gathered in the lobby of the Hilton for our ride to dinner and the Chinese Acrobatic show. I don't think we were looking forward to the show because of the lingering memories of how bad the Chinese opera was, but we would soon learn differently. After dinner we filed into the theater and took our appointed seats for the performance.
John snoozing in the theater
While we waited for everyone to filter into the theater and the show to begin we spread out to some of the empty seats nearby. Within a few minutes I heard someone snoring away and when I turned and looked it was John. He'd moved to the row of seats behind us and was enjoying a short catnap.
Chinese Acrobats
Seat anyone?
Balancing chairs
Chinese Acrobats
An overcrowded
Chinese Acrobats
Not sure?
Chinese Acrobats
The finale ...
five motorcycles in a
steel cage

We couldn't have been more wrong in making a comparison between the Chinese opera and acrobatic show. The Chinese acrobats were absolutely superb and very entertaining. The finale to the show was amazing. Five motorcycles in an enclosed steel cage, each traveling 35 to 40-mph and crossing paths with one another. It's beyond me how they could manage to do such a thing. One or two, maybe three, but five simultaneously!?! Amazing!!!

Leaving the theater we traveled back to the hotel and were mesmerized by the beautiful lighting in Shanghai. An elevated highway runs through Shanghai right next to the hotel and, at night, it is bathed in a pastel blue/purple lighting. It was beautiful.
Lighted highway, Shanghai
The elevated highway by the hotel
Now, time to get a good night's rest in preparation for visiting Yuyuan Gardens, one of the most beautiful example of ancient Chinese gardens in Shanghai. Join us on the next page to enjoy this wonderful garden ...
Links to all China and Anniebee's Web site Pages
Previous | Next

Direct Page Links

Welcome to our China 2001 Photo Album
Planning and Getting there: Grand Circle Tours and Northwest Airlines
Beijing : Arriving in Beijing | Tiananmen Square | The Imperial (Forbidden) Palace (1) | The Imperial Palace (2) | The Nine Sons of the Dragon
The Imperial Palace Garden | The Summer Palace | Summer Palace (2) | Summer Palace (3) | Summer Palace (4) | Local Beijing Market
Local Beijing Market (2) | Hutong | Bell Tower | Hutong Family, Dinner and the Opera | Cloisonné Factory | Ming Tombs | Ming Tombs (2)
Great Wall of China at Ba Da Ling | Temple of Heaven
Shanghai : Arriving Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden | Yuyuan Garden (2) | The Temple of the Jade Buddha | The Bund | Day Excursion to Suzhou
Silk Process | The Administrator's Garden of Suzhou | Shanghai Museum of Art
Cruising the Yangtze River : Yangtze Cruise, Day 1 | Yangtze Cruise, Day 2 | The Xiling and Wu Gorge | The Lesser Three Gorges
The Lesser Three Gorges (2) | The Qutang Gorge | Wanxian | The Last Day of Cruising | Regal China Cruise Lines
Chongqing : Chongqing
Xi'an : Xi'an and Emperor Qin's Terracotta Warriors | Emperor's Qin's Terracotta Warriors (2) | Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Xi'an City Wall
Quilin : The Limestone Peaks of the Li River | The Limestone Peaks of the Li River (2) | Guilin and the Childrens Park | Children's Park (2) and Reed Flute Cave
The Hotels: Hotels, rail and air travel in China
Hong Kong : Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay and Aberdeen Fishing Village | Hong Kong at Sunset | Hong Kong Bird & Flower Market
| New Territories Fishing Village | Hong Kong Farewell Dinner
Bangkok : Jim Thompson House and Golden Buddha | The Flower Market | The Food Vendors | Grand Palace | Mystical Figures | Brightly Painted Masks on Mystical Figures
Golden Mystical Figures | Buildings of the Grand Palace | Lunching at the Shangri La Hotel | Loy Nava Rice Barge Cruise | Ayutthaya, Ancient Capital of Siam
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol and the Reclining Buddha | Bang Pa In, The Summer Palace |

Links to other Anniebee's web site pages

Anniebee's Home Page | Annie's Kites | Drewry Family History | Vacation Paradise | Web Design Services

E-mail questions to :