My observations from Shanghai

As I am getting ready to leave the city that I lived in for the past 3 weeks, I began reminiscing some of my daily experiences during my stay here.

Approximately 25 million people live in this city. Regardless of where are, it is pretty crowded. I heard that life style in Shanghai is somewhat comparable to living in New York. I have only visited NY a few times, never have lived there for 3 weeks!

residential 2

Residential buildings
Check out these residential buildings

A local resident told me that a unit in these buildings (these are located right in the center of the city) costs about 2 Million US dollars. Living space could be anywhere in the range of 950 – 1200 sq. feet.

Traffic is very hectic between 7 and 10 am in the morning. Subway network connects most parts of the city and is a convenient mode of travel. Least expensive too!

Inside a subway
Inside a subway, it is rare to see a train that is not crowded

On a particular day, we worked late and could not get a taxi back to the hotel. We decided to walk to the nearest subway station. I was privileged to see some real crowds that evening.

People leaving work
People leaving work
Crowd 3
People waiting to cross the road to get to the subway station
A long line waiting outside the subway station
A long line waiting outside the subway station

If you buy a cup of coffee, it always comes with a bag. I wondered about the purpose of this bag. I quickly observed a lot of people travel by motor cycles, bikes etc. There is a hook in front where you can hang the bag and take a sip from the cup during the stop at traffic lights. How convenient! Really customer friendly!

Coffee bouquet?
Coffee bouquet?

As I travel by taxi in the morning, I notice some roadside shops selling various foods. It ranges from hot breakfast items to live chicken, meats, vegetables and fruits. People living in nearby apartments come out and buy these items. I have also seen some office goers stop and buy some breakfast before rushing through the traffic again. People walk and eat at the same time, it is a common sight here especially during the morning rush hour.

Street Markets
Street Markets
Roadside 1
Roadside Cafes

We had a fun experience with local breakfast as well. My team was scheduled for a field visit to Wuxi (pronounced as “Wushi”), a city that is 3 hours from Shanghai. We started the trip at 7 am in the morning. Around 9 am the driver stopped the car and gave us a restroom break. After a few minutes, he hands over to each one of us a local breakfast item that he purchased at a roadside cafe. It was a brownish (soy sauce) rice pudding with meat filling. Those of us that don’t eat meat were provided tea eggs. It was really delicious!

My team mates enjoying the local food
My team mates enjoying the local food
A close-up shot!
A close-up shot!
Restaurant that served our breakfast items
Restaurant that served our breakfast items

One thing that I have to come to appreciate about Shanghai is the safety factor, especially during night times. It is absolutely safe to walk on the streets even during mid-night. It is normal during these times to run into fellow strollers and even police men on their night rounds. Taxis are available in great numbers as well, if you need one in the wee hours of the morning.

Never leave Shanghai without experiencing the night lights. Almost all sky scrapers are adorned with colorful lights, some change patterns and colors as you gaze up and admire their beauty. This is probably the best I liked about this city!

 

Standing in front of the oriental pearl tower
Standing in front of the oriental pearl tower

 

Sky scrapers at night
Sky scrapers at night

Night 4 Night 3

Although it is hard for me to say good bye, I am ready to go to Columbus and connect with my family again. I had so many good experiences, some challenging ones of course, as expected. But overall, the whole experience was undeniably good for my growth – both intellectual and emotional. So, with a heavy heart and bitter sweet emotions I bid farewell to Shanghai, the city I called home for 3 weeks.

Zhujiajiao – Shanghai’s Venice

With our final presentation behind, we had 2 full days for shopping and sightseeing before getting on the plane to Columbus. Most of Thursday was spent on shopping. We walked around Nanjing road shopping mall purchasing sundry items such as purses, compact make up mirrors, sports jerseys, scarves etc.

Friday, the last day of our stay, we decided to do some last minute sightseeing. We took a bus to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town that is about an hour away from Shanghai. The trip was well worth it, the view was scenic and breathtaking.

A view of the water town
A view of the water town
Water canal that runs through the middle of the town
Water canal that runs through the middle of the town

Zhujiajiao means “Zhu Settlement” or “Zhu Family Corner” in mandarin. This town also has another elegant name called “Pearl Stream”.  This little town is the best-preserved among the ancient towns in Shanghai. From the pictures posted, you can view unique old bridges, small rivers shaded by willow trees, gondolas gliding on the canal and houses with courtyards. The whole environment magically transported us to a new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquility.

Ancient bridge
Ancient bridge
My friends standing over a covered archway
My friends standing over a covered archway
backyards
Backyards
with trees
Scenic view of houses
water town (2)
Boat docking station

While we were in the town, we visited another local tourist attraction –                             The City God temple.

The Main hall of the City God Temple
The main hall of the City God temple
CGT3
A closer view of the main entrance

Pictures below are from the interior portion of the temple –

The City Gods
The City Gods

Inside CGTCGT4 CTG5

Another portion of the temple was dedicated to Buddha

Buddha temple
Buddha temple

My friends were very happy with the trip and we all returned to Shanghai well satisfied. I sensed the trip to Zhujiajiao appeased my thirsts for sightseeing and I was ready to pack my bags to come back home.

 

 

A Weekend in Beijing

Last week was a busy one for our team. With our final presentation coming up in just a few days, we had a lot to do. Still somewhere between preparing PowerPoint slides, gathering final information, and polishing our work, we managed to steal some time and head to Beijing for a great sightseeing trip.

Our plan was to catch the fast-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing on Friday evening and take the 5 hour trip North.. Since there were trains leaving every half an hour, we thought buying a ticket on the spot at the train station would not be an issue.  This just shows that even after 2 whole weeks here, we managed to underestimate the size of Chinese population… After spending four hours traveling to the station and waiting in huge lines, we got a mocking laughter from the salesman at the ticket desk once he heard we’re trying to buy tickets for the same day…

With our hopes crushed, we decided to venture out again early next morning and not give up until we set foot in Beijing.

Thus, Saturday morning started at 4am and looked more like an episode of “The Amazing Race” than a regular sightseeing trip. In just 36 hours we managed to see Beijing’s city center, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall, spent 10 hours in a train, and catch up with the other Shanghai team, who was also on a weekend trip there. Needless to say there was not a lot of sleeping involved and time for meals was nonexistent. But it was absolutely worth it!

Here are some pictures of our experience:

The Gate Tower at Tiananmen Square
The Gate Tower at Tiananmen Square
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City

Inside the Forbidden City
Inside the Forbidden City

The Great Wall
The Great Wall

The Great Wall
The Great Wall