Part 15 - Shanghai, China
Part 15 - Shanghai
When we woke up the next morning, we were surprised to see no land. On closer inspection we even noticed that we weren’t moving at all. An announcement by the captain later on explained why. During the night, the port of Shanghai had finally been closed completely, so we couldn’t’ even enter without a pilot. So we had anchored and were basically stuck.
Interestingly enough, the weather was a lot better than they day before. Some people read their books on the deck of the Ocean View Café and enjoyed the fresh air.
On board, entire machinery had been put into motion. Obviously, we were allowed to stay in our cabins and use all the facilities of the ship, plans and arrangements were made … The crew did everything to make our wait as pleasant as possible.
In the theater they showed the movie „Memoirs of a Geisha“ which we enjoyed watching. Afterwards we returned to the buffet for lunch. Thankfully we didn’t have to worry about missed flights like many other guests, who were waiting in a respective line at Guest Relations.
During lunch we got the relieving news: the port had been opened again. With a delay of approximately 7 hours we finally reached the port of Shanghai at around 2.00 pm.
Unfortunately, another cruise ship, which had been equally delayed, was just being cleared. Although the first guests were able to leave the ship shortly after 2.00 pm, the clearance in port was very slow.
We made ourselves comfortable in the armchairs behind the elevators, read a book or watched a film on the iPad and waited for our number to be called. But only very slowly did the numbers progress… Around 4.00 pm we didn’t want to wait any longer and left the ship.
The backlog from the terminal went back as far as the gangway. Since the majority of the passengers had used the option of the 144-hour visa exemption policy, a first inspection checked whether all forms had been filled in correctly and whether proof of hotel bookings and return flights could be provided. Only then were people admitted to the immigration officials. Also, you didn’t really get the impression that the authorities were making a particular effort. Only two or three desks were staffed.
After about 1 ½ hours we had finally reached the exit of the terminal, where we found a line for taxis. At the very front of this line, a few young helpers were ready to take your destination in English so they could translate it for the driver of the next available taxi. A printout of the hotel address turned to be quite helpful.
Due to the rush hour traffic on the ring roads, at times several lanes one above the other, it now took us about an hour to get to our hotel directly on the Bund. However, the fare of approximately US$ 25.00 was really affordable.
It was already dark when we finally arrived at our hotel for the next two nights.
The entrance of Les Suites Oriental Shanghai appeared modern but also cozy, and we liked it immediately.
There was a little bar next to reception where guests could get a complimentary drink for happy hour.
But all we wanted was get to our room. I was already curious because to end this trip in style I had booked us a Shanghai Suite
The suite offered a modern-cozy living room and a bedroom with a very comfortable looking bed. Muted classical music with Asian sounds filled the room from concealed speakers.
The bathroom didn’t leave anything to be desired either. In addition to a spacious shower it also had a large bathtub at the end of which a flat screen was imbedded in the marble wall.
There was another flat screen in front of the bed, which could be sunk by remote control into the dresser.
But all these were minor matters, as the real attraction was to be seen from a lower sitting area a few steps down.
It was this view…
This sight was overwhelming. Directly in front of our windows we saw a sea of ever changing lights. LEDs had transformed entire buildings into screens, the Oriental Pearl tower with its huge balls sparkled and flashed, and colorfully lit boats slowly floated by.
First of all we sat down and enjoyed the view from our comfortable couch. But soon we also wanted to throw ourselves into the fray at the Riverwalk.
The viewing platforms on the Bund were very popular and there was a hubbub like at a funfair. Like us, countless people enjoyed the sight. On the Waitan side of the Riverwalk, called “The Bund”, we admired monumental buildings from the colonial era…
... and on the other side of the Huangpu river the special economic zone Pudong with its futuristic highrises.
It all seemed like a look from the past into the future.
We walked along the Bund and couldn’t get enough of the view.
At the end of the promenade we reached Huangpu Park with its "Monument to the Heroes of the People“.
From here, the view of the Pudong skyline was just as amazing.
On the other side, the beautifully illuminated Waibaidu Bridge was reflected in the water of the river.
Built in 1907 by Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, this steel bridge is the only bridge of its kind left in China.
Many bridal couples used the beautiful backdrop of this bridge and the buildings for photo shoots.
Finally we turned into Nanjing Road, home to many prestigious hotels as well as the city’s huge and luxurious temples of consumption.
By now it was almost 9.30 pm, and we finally hunger kicked in. Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy to find a restaurant that was still open at that time. When we finally found a place in a small side street we had to smile: befittingly we ended this day in Japanese restaurant.
Even after just one evening in Shanghai we had to agree with the gigantic message on one of the skyscrapers:
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