Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 59 - Shanghai, China

We arrived in Shanghai this morning to a city engulfed in fog.  We can see to the other side of the river and the first few blocks of the city, but beyond that is just haze.  Internet access is sporadic, going in and out, so I don't know how long it will take me to post this or other posts while in China.

Old Soviet Union Consulate, now museum

China immigration wasn't too bad.  They called us by tour again and we were in the 4th group off the ship.  Our tour today was a simple tour of the city called "Shanghai Old & New." 

Carved Ivory Fish

Carved Temple

Ivory Ladies on Black Lacquer Cabinet

This is not a real old city.  It was built up in the late 1800's to provide the British, and later the French, a trading port with China.  Many of the original buildings have been demolished so new high-rises could be built, but they have preserved a few sections.  The tour bus took us through the British section, called the Bund, and across to the French section.  We made 3 stops on the tour. The first was at the Shanghai Museum of Arts and Crafts.  They had a beautiful collection of jade carvings, wood carvings, needlepoint and embroidery.  Of course, they also had a gift shop. 

The second stop was to go up to the observation deck on the 88th floor of the Jin Mao Building.  The building is very impressive. We took some photos but the haze prevented us from getting any really good pictures of the city.

Looking Down Center of Jin Mao Building from Observation Deck

Our third stop was at the base of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.  This was just a photo stop. We decided it wasn't worth getting out of the bus. We got pictures of the tower and other buildings both from the bus and from the ship.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Since we are going to be visiting several ports in China and spending more than one day in each, we thought it would be good to get some local currency.  The ship's crew said there would be a place to exchange currency in the terminal, but we couldn't find it.  After dropping of our cameras & stuff back in the room, we went out again and started asking officials in the terminal where the currency exchange was.  They directed us out of the terminal and to a bank a little ways down the street.  When we got there  we were happy to find an English speaking agent.  She told us the ATM's would not accept credit cards but we could exchange U.S. currency for yuan. All we needed were 9 forms, 3 of which needed to be signed and only one that had an English translation. Plus, they made a copy of Ray's passport.  It took about 15 minutes to get through the paperwork.

I decided to be brave at dinner tonight and order the "Destination Dish" of the day.  This was a prawn dish with noodles and vegetables.  It was very good as long as I was careful.  The first bite set my tongue on fire, but I figured out the culprit green bits to bypass and then enjoyed the dinner.

We will be here 3 days, giving us time for 2 more tours tomorrow and another the last day. 

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