A 4.30am wake up, a long taxi ride to the airport, and a pleasant 2 and a half hour flight saw us begin our adventure in Shanghai. My only complaint about this leg of the journey was the in flight breakfast, some form of boiled sweet rice, tinned apricot and what I swear was a fermented egg! Gross!
We took the Maglev train, a high speed monorail type thing...kind of like a roller coaster, it was fucking amazing, to the metro where we needed to take 2 further underground trains to our hostel, the Shanghai Old West Gate. I pissed and moaned the whole way, it was hot, it was busy and somehow my bag magically weighs 3kg more now than it did at Manchester airport! I mean, come on how is that possible when Kyle won't let me buy anything?
Anyway, we found our hostel easy enough after what felt like about 10 years of walking. It's located in the Old Town, filled with old style buildings, men playing cards and mahjong, fruit stalls and food markets. When you look up, you can see the tops of all the skyscrapers, a little reminder that you're in Shanghai and not some little village in China.
On our first full day we decided to explore the Old Town, filled with Chinese houses where people sell art, crafts and jewellery from the downstairs rooms of their homes. In the midst of the stalls and food vendors is Yuyuan gardens. Founded by the Pan family these gardens took 18 years to nurture, and are filled with pavilions, rockeries and fish ponds. It's just a shame about all the tourists, were quickly learning that Shanghai is filled with westerners and has a more artificial feel than the other cities which we've visited.
Day 2 took us to the People's Park, Shanghai's old horse racing track. Here we saw people doing Thai chi and gambling. There was even an umbrella market which took over half the park! We then walked up the pedestrian street, this made us feel like we were in London. Filled with shops, m&m world and a Madame Tussaud's...not what we've come to China for.
Next we visited the Bund, which is a spectacular site and I'm looking forward to returning on an evening to see it all lit up. However, on this day I was more distracted by the models in beautiful wedding clothing being photographed. Some wore the traditional red, and others the more western white.
We did something really wrong on day 4. It wasn't quite a McDonald's, but after that first bite of papa johns I started to feel really guilty. You have to forgive us though, there's only so many noodles a person can take!
Feeling sick of the rain on day 6 we took a trip to the Shanghai science and technology museum, it was hilarious! Everything looked like it had been there since the 60's, from the stuffed animals to the robots solving rubix cubes!
We followed this with a walk through the market, all you heard were shouts of "lady, you want bag" "sir you want watch?" Feeling like a cheeky shit, Kyle decided to barter for a Hublot watch...the woman first quoted 780yuan, Kyle said no more than 100. We had her down to 250 before we left, and as we were walking away she shouts, "ok sir, 150yuan". Kyle decided to leave it, he probably lost that poor girl her job! The market was filled with middle age + women dragging their poor husbands round and filling their bags with shite! So if your nanas got a new Michael Korrs bag and has been to China, you know where she got it from!
On our 7th day we took a trip out of the city to a little water village called Qibao. It was refreshing to be away from all the noise and shops, and be back in with the street food vendors and riverside walks. It was here Kyle found his dream snack, as advertised by Ainsley Harriott, the Jian Bing, which is kind of like a Chinese taco....I was happy coz it kept him quiet for a good 10minutes.
We returned to The Bund on the evening, and whilst it was a pleasant sight it was again filled with selfie sticks and peace signs from the posers! Although we did join in with the selfies when our fans requested them!
On our final day in Shanghai, and China, we went to Century Park. Shanghai's biggest park, unfortunately we didn't see any singers or dancers but it was nice to escape the city once again and relax in the sunshine. We even saw a man walking his pet turtle!
Tomorrow morning we'll leave China and catch a flight Tokyo. Although I'm exited to see what Japan has to offer, I'll be sad to say goodbye!
Love Carrie xxx