RSS Feed

4 days at Shangai

So, as you saw on the previous post, we wanted to go to Shanghai after Anna got the visa. Pulpito did not get his visa for China so this time he could not travel with us. We arranged for an extended weekend (4 days) to visit Shanghai and go to the Expo.

Shanghai is just massive (~18/19 million inhabitants, officially). It is the most populous city in China and one of the largest on Earth. That obviously has some side effects on the people that live there. We were already warned by our Taiwanese friends, but we were still surprised to see how rude and impatient Shanghai people are. It is a show to see how they fight to get a seat on the metro or how they ignore the fact that you are in front of them on queue. The service (hotels, cafes, restaurants) is in most cases barely acceptable, specially when compared to the gentle service we get in Taiwan or in most of South East Asia countries.

With so many people and places you need a guidance to know who/where to go. On the taxis for example, they have a license number, a picture and also a number of stars. The amount of stars indicates the length of time the driver has been in the taxi business and the level of positive feedback received from customers, and range from zero stars to five.  (the picture with 4 stars is from Internet, our maximum were 2 stars). Only taxi drivers with 5 stars were allowed to service Shanghai Expo as 5 stars imply that they speak more or less decent English.

A similar visible evaluation system (based on smiling faces)  is applied to the “Food Safety Inspection” on restaurants and “Customer satisfaction” at the hotels.

Another interesting highlight of Shanghai were the number of electric vehicles, specially small scooters. That was  a very positive point when compared to the noisy ones at Taipei. We took some pictures while raining as the drivers wear a full body plastic cover.

Spending these few days at China (with our laptop and Internet at the hotel) we could also experience the Chinese Government censorship on Internet with no access to YouTube, Facebook or Twitter websites. There are technical workarounds if you live there but it clearly shows how information is power nowadays.

Our local guides

Apart from visiting Shanghai Expo, we went to Shanghai to meet with some of friends. They were able to show us this cosmopolitan city (I would compare it to NYC in USA)

On the first day we meet with Joan Lluis Abenza. He has been living in Shanghai for 5 years now! He was an excellent guide to see the Shanghai landmarks (People’s Square, Nanjing Road, The Bund, etc.)  and to party a little bit too. Worth a special remark are the “Dating/Marriage market” we found at People’s Square and the lunch at the Casal Català de Shanghai (it was September 11th, the national day of Catalunya :)). At the Casal lunch we managed to get some Catalan food.  By the way, Joan Lluis was starring at “Balears pel món” TV show when they visited Shanghai.

If you can not see the album (still using Internet Explorer? you can link to Picasa album)

On the second day we had lunch with Gerardo Wang. Gerardo used to live at Taipei and he even joined some of the parties we have organized at home. He moved to Shanghai just few months ago and it was really nice to share some time with him and get an update on his new situation. He took us to a very nice restaurant (Yuan Yuan) focusing on Shanghai cuisine.

12-Sep-2010 15:06, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 4.0, 18.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 720

12-Sep-2010 15:07, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 4.0, 18.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 1000

12-Sep-2010 15:07, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5000, 4.0, 18.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 1400


We also spent some time with Gerardo at the French Concession area. This Concession and other areas of Shanghai (like the Bund) provide a very unique mix of European/American architecture with Chinese houses. As there were so many concessions (designated districts) to Western powers during the turn of the 20th century, at times the city has a cosmopolitan feel. From classic Parisian style, to Tudor style buildings that give an English flair, while the 1930s buildings put you in New York or Chicago.

All the best Gerardo!

Last but not least, Emma Escamilla. She moved to Nanjing, a “town” of 2 8 million people near Shanghai, where she’s teaching Spanish at a university and improving her Chinese at the same time. We could not spend much time together because she had to take the train back to Nanjing. We wandered around Taking Road Art Centre and had a beer at The Bell bar.

If you can not see the album (still using Internet Explorer? you can link to Picasa album)

Tourist traps

Between guide and guide we went to visit some of the tourist attractions at Shanghai: the old street (tourist trap! avoid) and nearby Yuyuan garden (nice place), the Jade Buddha Temple (tourist trap! avoid) and the Shanghai World Financial Center (highest observatory in the world until Burj Dubai was opened on 2010)

If you can not see the album (still using Internet Explorer? you can link to Picasa album)

Shanghai Expo 2010

With the airplane tickets we got also a ticket for 1 day at the Shanghai Expo. We selected to go on Monday 13/09 and it was a very wise (or just lucky?) decision! It was one of the days with less visitors at the Expo … just 296500 people (record days on August go beyond 560000 visitors)

Anyway, it was full of people and long queues (couple of hours) were required to visit the most popular pavilions. We decided to invest our time on less popular options such as Iran, North Korea, African joint Pavilion, Barcelona, etc. (in the morning) and then try to visit the famous ones after the sunset. The strategy paid off and we managed to see a lot on a single day. On the Spanish pavilion, for being Spanish citizens, we could use the back door/VIP area :). Chinese visitors were running crazy to stamp as many seals as possible on their “Expo Passports”… a number of them skipped the visit to the pavilion once they had the pavilion stamp. We also enjoyed some fights among Chinese visitors and security people on the queue to the Japanese pavilion. In short, for us, the Expo looked like a tourist promotion for most of the countries and we could barely see any reference/demonstration related to the “Better City, Better life” slogan of the Expo.

If you can not see the album (still using Internet Explorer? you can link to Picasa album)


    Bon post Webo,

    Lo de l’amabilitat dels habitants de Shangai es algo que vull experimentar algun dia….men han parlat “maravelles” :)

  • A Barcelona trobem que la Rambla està massa atapeïda. Però veient les fotos de Shangai, em sembla que no ens podem queixar.

  • Uhm.. ejem… 2 million??? Nanjing is about 8 million people! one of the ten biggest cities in the country!!!! ¬¬

  • @Emma – Corregit / Fixed!

  • Que fort! m’ha encantat com expliqueu les coses i les fotos dels àlbums,
    per cert que n’hi ha moltes d’artístiques.
    Shanghai una metropoli brutal, amb records de Gotham city.
    Quina passada! records!! em prenc el post com un boníiiiSIM regal d’aniversari. fantàstic. i encara em deixo d’exhaltar la EXPO, que fuerteeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!uauu

  • No paráis!! Un poco de compasión para los que estamos con el ancla echada en la oficina :P Por cierto! no entiendo mucho de fotografía pero me encanta el toque artístico de todas las fotos que subís a la página, cómo se consigue? besosss