30 August 2015: We made it to Shanghai in China, which is 4 hours behind NZ time. 12 hours seems a long time to fly in a cramped seat with no room to move.
I relive last year’s fantastic holiday by bringing posts over from the trip blog. This doesn’t aim to be identical to the trip blog, but an improvement, with text edits and more / better photos. Find all these posts under the tag: Spain2015.
We had to stand around for half an hour at Immigration while they checked out our claim that we would stay only 2 days and so didn’t need a visa. A mistake we’d made was that we didn’t think to print off the tickets we’d bought online for our onward journey. Luckily we had printed off the hotel’s card from their web page with instructions for taxi drivers.
Shanghai Airport was huge, not just really big, but enormous.
The taxi ride to downtown took about half an hour, almost all of that time on walled multi-lane motorways, so many motorways, packed with vehicles. The motorways passed through whole districts of tall tower buildings that looked like apartment blocks, some finished, some still being built. It all looked very utilitarian and reminded me of when I visited East Berlin before the Wall came down.
After a rest and lunch at the hotel Deb and I went walking in the heat, and it turned out, rain, down Old Shanghai Street which was packed with throngs of people, and bikes, and motorbikes and motor scooters, all over the place. A favourite hobby for drivers is to ring a bell or toot their horn as they go along to clear their way. So many of the scooters were electric, and basically silent. And the two-wheelers, or sometimes three wheelers, would carry multiple passengers, boxes, crates, planks of wood, parcels of all shapes and descriptions.
After a while and a couple of small adventures we were exhausted and headed back to the hotel to collapse for the night.
Street scenes from our couple of days in Shangai. Note the numbers of people, the loads of vehicles and the buildings only a block or two away obscured by haze.
It occurs to me in retrospect, nearly a year later, that perhaps all big cities are like this. Even when we lived in Wellington I avoided the central city, though it was never as packed as Shanghai was. But perhaps those who live in New York, London or Nairobi also deal daily with throngs of people, noise, smoke and unbelievable traffic. I’m so glad I now live in a place where our local daily dog walk is remarkable if I see even one other person or vehicle.