We took one of the bullet trains from Beijing to Shanghai, in business class as the economy seats were all full from everyone going home from National Day week holiday. But we got a free lunch pack, which included some tasty and interesting things. One was some peanuts, a rice crispy treat but not, and dried spicy fish which were actually pretty good! They had a speedometer which told us our exact speed which was 306km/hr or 307. Either way, we were zooming past everything!
Getting off the train in Shanghai was much easier that in Beijing and people there knew English! It might make me sound like a stupid, ignorant American, but getting help in a language you know is much easier than trying to mime it out to someone who doesn't.
We again got off the subway fine, but we managed to get lost, yet again. Even asking for directions multiple times. We ended up going to a hotel to see if they knew, and the guy at reception told us the info we had wasn't Chinese.... And it was off Tom's tablet from their website. He was kind to us and wrote the adress an name down in Chinese and told us a cab would get us there easily. We walked outside, flagged a cab and showed the driver. Shaking his head, we were lost again as he drove away. Finally, we asked a well dressed Chinese couple and the boyfriend, who knew English, was determined to help us find the spot. After walking another 20 minutes with them, we made it!! We thanked them graciously and he gave his card to Tom.
Rock & Wood hostel is a very new hostel, with outdoor seating, a koi pond, a bar/restaurant and many beds. Our first night we ate there, met a kid named Simon from Cape Town, S. Africa and Raphael from Germany. Tom met some musicians from Costa Rica and I met some young men from China as well.
Tom and Simon went out for some street food that night, and I went to bed early. The street food where they went ended up being our go to food stop, and they gave us some good discounts in the end. It was an open barbecue, and you could choose what you wanted. So they had sticks of raw meats, vegetables, tofu, bread, seafood including squid and whole fishes. It was sooo good! And next to it was a noodle cart where I got lo mein for 5 RMB which is about a buck.
We ate very well, very cheaply there, I don't have photos from it but I'll steal some from Tom.
In Shanghai, we didn't do too much, but we also found the Pearl Market, where they have EVERYTHING YOU NEED CHEAP! Tom and I bought some jewelry, me for my mom, my sister, and myself (2 pair of earrings, one jade, one grey pearls), and Tom bought a really unique pearl pendant for his mom. The woman was SaSa I believe and she was very nice, straight forward, and very pregnant. I will definitely go back to her and if any of you go to Shanghai, buy jewelry from her too, she's the best.
We also walked around their version of Time square and went to the Bund which is a walk along the water. It was really beautiful and they would synchronize the lights on the building with other buildings. Also the wall on the side were covered in flowers. This very English influenced city also had many old European styled building as well, and with the contrast of the modern and the old style Chinese buildings, it was quite unique.
The only day we got up early to explore was when we went to see the World Expo from 2010. And unlike the Olympic area in Beijing from 2008, this place was a ghost town. Seriously creepy. Everything was gated or fenced up, grass and weeds were over running plots of old parking lots and even construction crews were snoozing. It was the only place in Shanghai where you could cross the street without having to look either way. We walked around, found the Polish building and left. We also triend to get into an art museum that was the only thing that looked alive but it was closed that day to the public.
On the other side of the river is the Chinese building which they are making into "the Tate of China" but that won't be til 2014.
I think that my favorite parts of China was actually the ROCs- Hong Kong and Macau.