We woke up bright and early to take a taxi to the airport so we could continue to Shanghai. Unlike in Beijing, we were not able to take the metro to the airport. Upon arrival, we had a very smooth check in and the flight to Shanghai was only approximately two hours.
Shanghai is the nation’s largest city and has a population of more than 23 million people. Meaning “above the sea,” Shanghai was made one of the fastest growing cities in the world after an explosion of economic development.
The Treaty of Nanking allowed free trade between China and the British and the city became a settlement of glamour and high living. Today in the area called The Bund, you can still see the buidlings that were split into “concessions,” where foreign nationals lived when Shanghai was the third largest financial center in the world.
We arrived in Shanghai in the afternoon time, where we were able to take the metro to where our Airbnb was located. Despite being kind of a far walk, our Airbnb host was really nice and had a printed guide with everything we ever would had have to ask her ready for us to flip through.
She recommended a few restaurants to us, then left us to our own devices. Jonathan and I were really tired from the flight, and lounged around while his mother and sister went to eat lunch.
When we finally felt rested, we ventured out by metro to the People’s Square and looked around for a street our Airbnb host told us about. She told us to be on the look out for a street full of stores. Specific right?
Eventually we found it, and I was reminiscent of Times Square in New York. The whole roadway is blocked off and people are swarming like bees in and out of stores. Jonathan’s mom and sister went off to shop well Jonathan and I grabbed some food. After, we ventured out to the market street to look around.
We saw many American stores you would see in your average mall and some stores I think you would only find in China. For example, we went into a store that exclusively sold scissors. Shelves and shelves displaying scissors in bronze, silver and gold, others with special carrying cases made out leather or wood. What was even crazier was this store was packed, full of people browsing the selection of scissors.
When we finally catch up with his mom and sister, it’s almost dark. We decided to head to The Bund to see the city’s lights and buildings. Shanghai is own to some some of China’s most modern architecture. The city is home to the infamous Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower and the International Financial Center.
Shanghai is also home to the world’s second tallest building, the Shanghai Tower. This 128 story building stands 2,073 feet high.
However, the best way to see the city’s skyline is from the Jin Mao tower. While it doesn’t have 128 floors, it does have 88 and you can go all the way to the top in under two minutes using an elevator. The elevator moves so fast you can feel the pressure building in your ears, and you have to do one of those forced yawns to pop them. This elevator also had this picture of the building, and while you are traveling up there is a light that shows where you are in the building.
Atop Jin Mao tower you get a 360 degree view of Shanghai. You can see The Bund, Pudong and the old city. There are those little binoculars where you insert the money and get to look around. From above, views of the city lights twinkled and you can see the lights from the traffic on the nearby highway. With China’s normally terrible air quality, I was surprised to be able to see everything so clearly. I could see for miles out atop the tower and it took my breath away.
When you walk around the tower, there is a window where you can see straight down into the lobby of the tower. If you ever want to get vertigo, this is the best way. We also saw this wild service that lets you walk around the tower outside… OUTSIDE! You strap on a harness with a strap and it’s attached to a metal bar that wraps around outside and you just walk on the edge of the building. It was closed when we went, but that wasn’t okay… you couldn’t pay me to walk on an 88 story-high building.
While looking out we took a second to plan the rest of our night for the next day. We were headed to Disneyland, and we thought it best to head back to the Airbnb for an early night. We wanted to “open the park and close the gates,” as Jonathan’s family says.