Shanghai, China

We entered the Huangpu river on the 7 km trip up to our pier near the Bund in downtown Shanghai very early to a stunning sunrise. (photo) I am sure the red was due to the ever present pollution.  We are fortunate that our ship has only 9 decks because there is a bridge over the river that we barely squeezed under. The larger ships which call into Shanghai, such as the Diamond Princess cannot navigate under it, and must dock out on the ocean. The passengers have a long ride into town whereas we had a 15 minute stroll to the Bund.  As soon as the ship was cleared, I got off and found a taxi to take me to the Shanghai World Expo 2010.  The site is huge and straddles both sides of the river, some distance from the downtown.  I arrived and got through long lines for security and was lined up at a pavilion just before it opened for the day.   Unfortunately, it was some kind of holiday and that determined what I saw, as they estimated about 750,000 visitors that day.  What I did was note if a line for a pavilion was moving quickly.  If so I joined it.  I also avoided those pavilions for which they were announcing waits of from 2 (UK and USA) to 5(China and Japan) hours.  I started with the ‘stans’.  They were all small and had very little content, the aim being to get you into the souvenir store at the exit.  I also saw Iran which was running a big carpet sale – the expo ends in two weeks and they had a lot of stock left.  Then I went to North Korea which advertised itself as a ‘paradise for people.’  We’ll have to take their word for it.  Amongst the other pavilions I saw were Bulgaria, Tunisia, Brazil,  New Zealand and a theme pavilion called Urbania which followed the lives of six different families around the world.  The theme of the expo was ‘Better cities Better Life.’  Most countries focussed on the kinds of things tourists might be interested in but some, including Canada, focussed on the theme.  The content of the Canadian pavilion, which was covered in wood (photo), was ‘imagined and designed by’ Cirque du Soleil.  They used large video screens quite effectively with music.  One was a large grid on which the photos kept changing to show aspects of Canadian life.  The photo shows one on hockey.  The second display was 6 vertical videos which were powered by bicycles which people were invited to use (photo). It was quite popular. The third was semi circular and in a small amphitheatre type setting where you could sit and watch changing still pictures of cities.   The pavilion had an entertainment area where Cirque du Soleil type performers were entertaining visitors.  I imagine that they could put on a show in that space but I did not see one advertised.  The space was interesting in and of itself because it had a living wall of moss (photo).  It took 45 minutes to get into the pavilion but it was worth seeing as it was quite different from the others that I saw.  My feet gave out after about 8 hours and I returned to the ship.  After dinner I went to the Bund and took some pictures of Shanghai by night.   The next day I got up early and headed off to the Shanghai Museum (photo) which I think  is one of the nicest museums I have been to.  This was my second visit.  Afterwards, I joined the hordes of holiday shoppers on Nanjing Road, a pedestrian mall that runs about 10 blocks down to the Bund.   They had great sales on in the Number 1 People’s Department Store, so I did my first shopping of the trip.  After dinner on the ship, we had a local acrobatic troupe on board.  I think they were students but they were still pretty spectacular.  We are off to Hong Kong and the sea breezes are becoming decidedly tropical.


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