Hello lovely blog readers. Happy New Years! Those of you following along at home may remember that I spent New Years in Shanghai. Shanghai is bigger than Beijing (nearly double the population), as such it’s impossible to do the city any justice in just one blog post. So, instead of creating a scroll-a-thon of epic proportions, I’m going to try break this up into a few posts.
Flying in China is fun. The airlines here feed you and treat you with some amount of respect. In fact, they even tolerate my horrible Mandarin. I mean, it’s still airplane food (which is doubly mysterious when it’s Chinese plane food), but that’s not the point. Everything about flying, except for the flight, is kind of a hassle. In the lead up to the Beijing Olympics the city built the second largest airport terminal in the world (Dubai is number 1, thanks Wikipedia), which is surprisingly efficient, but still prone to delays. Getting to the airport is a nightmare, even in Beijing terms. 2+ hours by cab is the norm. Now what does this have to do with the approach, you ask?
Why, I took the high-speed train to Shanghai. For slightly less than a plane ticket, I zipped down to Shanghai in the comfort of a nice big Recarco-like seat, with two whole power outlets.
My view at 0 km/h
Nanjing suspension bridge at 300 km/h
After my 5 hour, 1200 km train ride, I made it to my hotel.
Hotel Astor is the oldest hotel in China. And it’s also one of the cheapest places to stay in Shanghai.
Over its storied history, Hotel Astor has hosted many well-known people. President Grant, Einstein, and Chaplin all patronized the hotel multiple times. Aside from well-known Western folks, the hotel also holds some economic significance in China. The first stock exchange opened in Hotel Astor conference center in 1990.
Shanghai is different from Beijing. Aside from location and Mandarin dialect, this difference is also notable in the architecture in the city. Hotel Astor is located just north of an area of Shanghai known as The Bund. The Bund is a mile long park along the Huang Pu river which also happens to feature a number of differing architecture styles.
Next post, I’ll give you a tour of Nanjing Road, People’s Park and the Pudong. Till then, safe travels.