China: Best airport layover I have ever had.

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December 24th 2005
Published: January 13th 2006
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Jeff and I at in the old part of the city
Finally...the adventure begins. Thailand here I come! Yet first Jeff and I had a 10 hour layover in Shanghai. By taking China Eastern and having this layover in the Pudong Airport we saved $300 and got to spend a day in China!!!! Jeff and I paired up with two other English teachers in Hiroshima that were going to Myanmar, Larissa and Eric. I was a little worried at first since getting in and out of China usually requires a visa and a bunch of paper work. I mean...what if they never let us out of China once in? Worries aside we went into the city. It was quite interesting trying to get out of the airport. They had a special counter just for us 'transit' passengers and gave us really cool stickers to wear (sidenote: stickers as forms of tickets are a big deal over here in Asia). Getting to downtown Shanghai was one of the coolest parts of our trip. We took the first magnetic train ever that goes 450 km. We went 30 km in 8 minutes. It was pretty neat. Everyone (myself included) was taking photos when the train peaked at 450 km.
Once in central
Magnetic TrainMagnetic TrainMagnetic Train

450 kph ooooh mmmmmmyyyy Gggggoooddd!
Shanghai the four of us were a little lost. I mean, especially as a Westerner, Asians tend to look alike. I still have trouble distinguishing Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. As we started to walk down the streets it was not abnormal for us to be surrounded by's our life in Japan....yet after 5 minutes we DEFINITELY were not in Japan. Styles were different, people were pushier, way more people in Shanghai than Hiroshima, people were loud, and we actually had to look out for pickpockets. It was fabulous, absolutely fabulous. I could not stop smiling. What a great place. The four of us jumped in a taxi and headed to the old part of the city to first wander around there and go to the Yu Yuan Gardens. The Chinese architecture around that area was incredible. There were people all over the streets trying to sell us knock-off rolexes and Louis Vuitton purses. We got to the garden and realized we did not have enough time to go inside and truly appreciate it before it closed, so instead we were happy wandering the little alleyways. Around 4 we decided to head back to Nanjing Road to wander there, catch
Famous Teah HouseFamous Teah HouseFamous Teah House

Beautiful tea house in front of YuYuan Gardens. Very famous for the windy bridges in front of it.
dinner, and then head back to the airport. Getting a taxi from the center of town out was easy. Getting a taxi back to the city center was another story. We walked the streets trying to get a taxi for a good 20 minutes with no luck at all. I must admit, I was starting to freak out that we were not going to get back to the city center and then not get to our flight (paranoid betcha). Then, due to my tenacity and luck, I snagged a taxi for the four of us. Now the demand for taxis in this area is much higher than the supply. I was not the only one who had their eye on this taxi. From about 50 yards out I saw the taxi put on his blinker to let out his passenger, and so do about 3 other Chinese people. As the taxi approached the curb I started to run along the side of the taxi holding onto the door handle and at the same time pushing the Chinese people out of the way. The aggressive obnoxious American was victorious! woowoo! oooh but the taxi stories do not end there. Being
Old TownOld TownOld Town

Neat alleyways
Christmas Eve there were many Christmas lights everywhere. At one point Larissa pointed out a set of lights at a hotel so all four of us look. The taxi driver, mind you who does not speak an ounce of English so we do not know how he comprehended to look at the lights, but indeed he did turn his head too. All of a sudden BOOM! The taxi rear-ended another car! We got in a car accident! After numerous evil glares from the Chinese ladies and some Yuan swapped between drivers, we were on our way again to Nanjing Road. Phew!
After that we encountered more adventures as we tried to order food at a restaurant by pointing at items and fotunately running into a Chinese lady who spoke great English. We spent Christmas Eve dinner eating pork mushu and and rice...high class folks. Next we took the train back, got on the plane and headed to Bangkok. The taxi driver in Bangkok did not crash into anyone/thing/tuk tuk but it was a pretty crazy ride. All of a sudden lines did not exist and curvy roads became 'straight.' Jeff and I were dropped off at Khoa San Road,
Mmmm Chinese FoodMmmm Chinese FoodMmmm Chinese Food

Fried Crab from a Dim Sum vendor. Heaven I tell ya
the backpacker haven of Bangkok, and probably the biggest in all of southeast Asia. Since it was around 2 (4 am in Japan) we headed off to bed. Definitely not enough time in Shanghai and will be headed back someday. At the moment...THAILAND!!

Additional photos below
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Boba DrinksBoba Drinks
Boba Drinks

When in Rome do as the Romans....I don't even like the tapioca that much. But hey why not? It cost nothing! BTW China is super cheap!!!!

4th March 2008

Hi Casey - I have raced through your blog looking for info on China -- but want to take this opportunity to tell you that I like your writing style! I hope I can make mine as interesting. Maybe I raced too quickly ...... did you get to Lhasa? Any tips? Did you attempt a trip to EBC? If so - ....... heck, I'll take anything! Hope to get a chance for a proper read. Cindy

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