Arriving in Shanghai

Arriving in Shanghai and discovering the city by night…

I left Dubai on Tuesday the 11th of April, and landed in Hong Kong for a three-hour layover at 5am. Needless to say that once I made it to Shanghai around mid-day, I was incredibly tired.

It was an easy process to go through passport check, grab my luggage, and go leave the airport. On my friend Rodolphe’s recommendation, I was going to get in the city not using the Metro but the MagLev, the Magnetic Levitating train that goes up to 480km/h.

It was rather inexpensive and very quiet and efficient to get inside the city. And it honestly didn’t feel like it was going that fast if I’m honest.

As I arrived at the station, I found a taxi pretty fast, and despite his lack of English, I was able to show him my Airbnb hosts’ address and instructions.

Once I got to the flat, my host, Rena, showed me around and her mother, whose flat I’m staying in, had made some dumplings.

Because although I’d originally booked a different flat, Rena’s one, she informed me that, considering the longer length of my stay, there was a better place available at her parents’.

The dumplings were delicious by the way! However as a vegetarian I was conflicted – since starting my dietary change, I hadn’t touched meat– that was back in early January. However the food was ready and I didn’t want to offend my host, so I ate it all, and enjoyed it.

To be honest, if I have one or two extras after almost 4 months, I don’t think it’s going to be too big of a deal.

After lunch, I thought I’d try and rest a bit, to make up for the lack of sleep on the plane, as well as the couple of hours of jet lag.

I woke up around 4pm and left less than an hour later, on Rena’s recommendation to check out The Bund, the infamous Shanghai boardwalk.

As I arrived, I noticed more and more people, overall, including a few locals, but mostly a lot of Chinese tourists and foreign tourists alike. On the ground area are global chains like Subway, Costa Coffee and Starbucks.

I guess that's when you know you've hit a central or touristy spot.

I’m not sure how best to describe The Bund. In the evening, between 6pm and 9pm, the lights are on, on all a multitude of skyscrapers and towers, and it illuminates the bay with beautiful lights. You’ve probably seen it before, in movies, pictures, or documentaries. All the people walking around are taking pictures, selfies especially, despite the cold evening breeze.

I walked around the area for half an hour, and it was a great way for me to feel a bit more relaxed after a hectic 24 hours of travelling from the Middle East over to Asia.

As I finished my tour of the area, I decided to walk back to the Airbnb rather than jumping in the same metro I’d used to get here. I had an offline map on my phone, and all around, it took me about an hour and a half. Even though there weren’t a lot of things to do or see, it felt great to unwind, and get a good sense of the different areas of the city.

As I moved away from the city center, the street got quieter, some even dustier as some builders were hard at work on a new metro station, or a new skyscraper. In a similar vein to Dubai, Shanghai seems to be constantly in a state of evolution. Something echoed by a few friends who have stayed there before and learnt that their favorite bars and restaurants had been closed since their last visits.

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