Tuesday, October 4, 2011
We were told to fly into Shanghai and take a train to Nanjing, where my husband would be working. We stayed at the Howard Johnson in the University area of Shanghai. My first impression of Shanghai was just how massive it was. It was huge. Skyscraper after skyscraper after skyscraper, etc. We arrived in the middle of the night, and the area we were staying in was still wide awake. There were people getting their hair done, people shopping, an arcade open it did not feel like it was the middle of the night. I saw a lot of couples on bikes, with the man riding and the girl on the bike behind him riding side saddle with her head resting on his back. Our hotel was "interesting." It was very nice, everything we are used to. The bathroom was encased in glass, and there was certain things in the mini bar that were not family friendly. I am glad we did not have our kids with us because I have not had that kind of talk with them yet, and seeing some of the things in the mini bar would have raised some questions! I did notice the next day that our hotel had, "by the hour" rates. Which seemed odd to me, because it was a nice hotel, not seedy at all. I think I am not a stupid American, but apparently I am still a naive American!
Our first breakfast was exciting, so many options, Japanese, Chinese, American, and European. It was fun. We had a couple of hours to kill before we were to meet a man from the company my husband was working with. So we went to a market, found things like Mango, Grape, and Cola flavored Mentos. A variety of drinks and chips that looked interesting. So we got all of these things and went for a walk drinking our peach juice, eating our shrimp flavored chips, and headed out to explore.
People kept stopping us on the street to look at our baby, take pictures, speak at us in Chinese while we smiled and nodded. We thought all the housing was interesting. There was so many apartments, all of which had ways to hang their laundry out to dry. Shanghai seemed to be skyscraper after skyscraper, but most were housing, not businesses.
The taxi drivers there are a bit crazy, driving in the shoulder like it is a lane of it's own, sharing a lane with another car side by side, and using their horns every other second to tell another car to get out of their way. The ride to the train station was scary and I realized the only reason the taxi driver did not scare me so much the night before was because it was in the middle of the night and traffic was not bad. The train station would have been a very overwhelming experience if not for the man sent from the company to help us. He purchased our train tickets, navigated us through the masses, told us when it was our turn for our train, and also translated for us. If we did not have someone who spoke Chinese I don't think I would have wanted to ride the train. There is a plane that flies into Nanjing directly and I think that would have been easier.