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China Trip: Day 8 – The Trip Home

I don’t remember much. After we boarded the flight from Shanghai to LA…I read a book, then fell asleep and actually didn’t wake up until shortly before landing! We had a several hour layover in LA, then made it home to Dallas. I think it took a little less time than what it took to get there (30-some hours). We were exhausted in the end, but the trip was totally worth it. We’re even thinking of going back now on one of GAT’s other tours. Hope you enjoyed the posts & pictures. Guess now we’re back to regular programming. 🙂

China Trip: Day 8 – Shanghai Transrapid Train Ride

As one of our final experiences on the trip, the tour company arranged for us to ride the Shanghai Transrapid train, otherwise known as the Shanghai Maglev (magnetic levitation train), to the airport. It is the first commercial high-speed maglev line in the world.

Construction began on the $1.2 billion train in March 2001, and public service commenced Jan 2004, so it is fairly new. Made from German technology, the train can reach an impressive 350 km/h (217 mph) in 2 minutes, with a maximum speed in normal operation of 431 km/h (267 mph). It runs from Longyang Road station on the Shanghai Subway line to Pudong International Airport and takes only 7 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the journey. The cost is about $5 USD for a one-way ticket.

Our bus driver dropped us off at the train entrance & began his journey to meet us at the airport. Needless to say – we beat him. *LOL*

Here’s a pic of the inside as we were boarding… (more…)

China Trip: Day 8 – Yuyuan Old Town

To get some last minute shopping done, we were taken to Yuyuan, Shanghai’s Old Town district.

This was the main Chinese district of downtown Shanghai during the colonial era (1842-1949). It was encircled by a wall that came down when the last dynasty fell, in 1911. The old city wall, 27 ft. high and 3 miles round, dated from the 16th century, when it served as a barrier against Japanese pirates. It is considered the oldest district of Shanghai; its shops, the most traditional; its steamed dumplings, the best. (And I had some…so I know that it’s true!) Within this former walled city, the Old Town Bazaar is now a large pedestrian mall and alleyway labyrinth. There are hundreds of traditional Chinese craft & souvenir shops.

You can literally get lost in the alleyways (they all look the same after awhile!)

In one of the courtyards, sits this golden money tree. Each red ribbon has a coin attached and you throw it up onto a branch for good luck.

If you read my tea farm entries, you will recall the “art teas”. Here are some examples of different art teas for sale. (more…)

China Trip: Day 8 – The Bund & Pudong

On the morning of Day 8, we had a buffet breakfast, packed our bags for the last time, & headed towards The Bund.

“The Bund” refers to a historical area of Shanghai that centers along Zhongshan Road on the west bank of the Huangpu River. Most of the buildings here were built around the turn of the century. Formerly the financial hub of Eastern Asia, the Bund once housed banks & trading houses from all over the world as well as hotels, consulates, a newspaper, and even a Masonic Club. When Communism took hold of the country, most of the financial institutions were moved and the hotels and clubs closed or converted to other uses. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the thawing of economic policy in the People’s Republic of China, buildings on the Bund were gradually returned to their former uses. It is now one of the most popular tourist sights in Shanghai. I have been told that it is quite gorgeous lit up at night…but here are some pics of it in the morning.

A close-up of the Customs House clock, the largest clock in Asia. Both the clock & bell were built in England in imitation of Big Ben and shipped to Shanghai in the 1920s.

The flag atop the Merchants Bank Building… (more…)

China Trip: Day 7 – Shanghai

After a nice dinner, we drove to Shanghai and arrived at our hotel in the evening. Here are a couple of pics of our front lobby.

Love the fountains…

And the lily arrangement…

Since we knew we only had one day left before leaving, and we’d acquired quite a few goodies along the way, it was time to do some luggage shopping. There was no way it was all going to fit in the suitcase I brought with me! Luckily, our hotel was only a 10-minute walk away from the main commercial shopping strip in Shanghai. We walked down to a department store since we had about an hour before the stores closed. I went up to the luggage department and was pretty bummed at first. (more…)

China Trip: Day 7 – Lingyin Temple (Part 2)

Here is the landscaping we saw as we entered onto the official Temple grounds…

And an initial ornate sculpture:

The Lingyin Temple consists of five different halls: The Hall of the Heavenly Kings, The Grand Hall of the Great Sage, Yuayan Hall, The Hall of the Medicine Buddha, & the Hall of the 500 Arhats. We visited three of these. Although we couldn’t take pics inside the buildings, I have a few exterior shots I want to share & some comments on the experience: