Saturday, 15 April 2017

Goodbye Shanghai

It took us until our last day to have McDonald's which isn't bad as usually we like to try the "local Macca's burger". I was glad to see congee and yu char kway (that's what I know them as but they are called many different things!) on the breakfast menu. Best of all, it was only going to set me back 11CNY which is just over $2 Australian dollar. Bargain! The rest of the family chose western style offerings and I am informed that the sausage tasted rather strange. 

The agenda for the day was to experience suburban Shanghai, to the where Will lives. The taxi ride showed us that this newer part of Shanghai was as new and modern as the city centre itself. First up, to the local salon. A wash, blow dry (not style), ear clean, and scalp & neck massage was only AUD$2...if you would like a hair cut as well, the price jumped to a whopping $6. This was thanks to Will's family being a member of the salon where they paid in advance to have credit on a card. If one was not a member, price were approximately double. The whole family, with the exception of Jonah, jumped in for the experience. A hair cut before the start of school was never going to be cheaper than this ever!

Will then showed us his local mall. It was a HUGE American style open air mall which took all of 3 months to build! We wandered around and had lunch with Will's family before taking the metro back to our hotel. The station was right at the mall and it was only 7 stops to the one that we needed to get back to our hotel. Buying the tickets were straight forward and everything was well signed including on the train itself where the stops on the route were written in both Chinese and English.

As Luan was staying on in Shanghai for a few more days, she generously allowed us to store our luggage in her room and let us use her room for quick showers before our trip to the airport. Immigration to leave took much longer than immigration on arrival but we did still have time to stuff some food in before our flight home. Thankfully, our flight home was uneventful. Immigration and customs at Sydney airport were surprisingly efficient and the taxi line was short.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves very much in Shanghai. The last time I visited China was as a 10 year old with my parents. Of course, it was very different back then and unfortunately it was not a journey that was particularly memorable for me. Sadly I did not appreciate the China that I saw and experienced back then. It probably also explained my reluctance to go back to visit. I am glad that I went, even if the card that tipped the balance was visiting a Disney castle! I must say, the people surprised me. I did not experience anywhere near the amount of pushing, shoving, or queue cutting as I expected. Nor did I see any spitting! The streets were clean. The roads wide and modern. This may well be different in other parts of China. Shanghai was easy to navigate, food options were plentiful and it is a gentle entry to China for westerners. In fact, I would say that it felt somewhat like a "generic" big city. Yeah too backward initially and now too modern. Sheesh some people are hard to please! I am sure my parents would be delighted to know that I would love to revisit other parts of China and take the children before it changes too much. I'm not sure where Malcolm sits on this, but I suppose you'll find out if we ever do go back because I'll be blogging about it!

Chicken congee with fried chinese bread. Not bad for 11 CNY!

Haircut anyone?!?

Another day another mall. This one only took 3 months to complete!!

Elliot won 2 soft toys at the skill tester!

One BIG drink

Make that 2 big drinks...

Catching the metro back to our hotel

This is a poor photo but the stops are in both Chinese and English, as are the announcements.

Deciding what to have for our last meal in Shanghai Airport

My favourite. Fish ball noodle soup!

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