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Published: December 26th 2012
A City of Superlatives
Everything's bigger in Texas. I think most Americans have heard this claim before. I was in Texas briefly once, but I don't particularly remember anything that left a large impression. I mean, the Grand Canyon is in Arizona and the Sears Tower is in Illinois so... I don't know. None-the-less, apparently Texans like their "everything" bigger. If there's one place I know that's mastered this Texas mantra, it's Shanghai.
After backpacking for three months and getting sick more times than I had planned, I was feeling the dire need to bunker down in a "safe place" for a bit. I wasn't ready to end my travels, but I wanted to be somewhere familiar. So I found myself once again flying to Shanghai, a place where I had friends I trust and a place to rest my head for awhile.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger...
After arriving at Pudong international airport, I hopped on the world's fastest train (the Maglev) and blasted into the city on the train's magnetic elevated track. The Maglev can reach speeds of 501 kph (311 mph).
I always feel like I'm on honeymoon each time
Yu Gardens area
I go to Shanghai. The unavoidable allure of this city captivates me over and over again. The grandeur of it is mesmerizing. The largest city in the world; a place fond of the saying "bigger is better." Three of the world's five tallest buildings tower into the clouds on the same major intersection here. They create what I like to call the "triangle of giants."
In a city of 24 million people there's no choice but to build up and up and up (and under too). Entire shopping malls filled with high-end brands and dining can be found underground located strategically near one of the many subway gates. After all, Shanghai does have the largest subway system in the world.
The city fades into a desolate ghost town in most areas during the nightly hours despite its excessively bustling day traffic. During the late night hours it's certainly the sleepiest metropolitan I've been to. Despite its massive size, somehow Shanghai has mastered the art of nightly hibernation.
If you want to experience what I refer to as "real China" you will definitely need to hop a train out of Shanghai. This isn't difficult
considering Shanghai is a central hub of the largest high speed railway network on the planet. So why is Shanghai not real China? Let me explain...
Of course Shanghai is still China and there are plenty of foreign delectables, and eye-popping sights to tantalize the feverish wanderer. With one of the fastest growing economies, Shanghai has blasted its way into international recognition and it encompasses every Western comfort you can imagine. In my opinion and experience, Shanghai is a crucial stop on your China adventure for a look into China's future, but you'll need to choose at least one other city for a deeper look into China's past.
"Everything's bigger in Shanghai" seems to be a more accurate saying. So to those 100,000 or so Texans that signed the petition to secede from the United States after Obama was reelected, may i suggest a move to the Far East! I can't help but chuckle to myself thinking about going to the rodeo in downtown Shanghai.
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