China is one country I wanted to visit from a long time. The thought started when I was in the design school, for getting easy and cheap prototype for my brilliant idea. The same persisted in 2008 August when I wanted to go to watch Olympic live. Finally, the same materialized in December 2008 as I got the chance to travel with one more country added to the Places-I-Have-Traveled map.
The Shanghai city
Shanghai, the largest populated metro of world is somewhat similar to Mumbai. Busy fast life and tall buildings and so much lost in that fast pace. Maglev is just one example- a magnetic train runs from Shanghai’s Longyang Road subway station to Pudong International Airport at the maximum speed of 431 Km /H. Here cab system is also good, as long as you are careful to be able to explain to them that they have the meter on and running.
People are very colorful in all senses – right from their clothes like colorful jackets, wrapped mufflers and colorful shoes to their colorful actions. One very interesting fact was to see the young people and teenagers holding their favorite gizmo (PlayStation mainly) and playing while having a 10 min ride either in metro train or bus.
Getting vegetarian food is a challenge and I don’t count leaves as food. The problem gets compounded because of the language barrier – explaining something is real hard task. Even for non vegetarians, if you don’t eat beef or pork then choices are limited. But one must try Hot-Pot, it’s very nice especially on a chilly day.
Be careful of timing- here dinner starts getting served from 5:30pm and get finished by 9:30 or so.
Bargain, bargain and ask for more Bargain.
Being a foreigner in their land, you must master this art else you will get cheated (that you will anways, but you can avoid the extent of it). And yes, don’t expect original or all stuff working when you come back home. The idea of bargaining is to master the art faster as compare to martial art.
So much to explore that words would be few so check the picture gallery.
The Beijing City
China’s capital that recently hosted the Olympic 2008, is really a city with a difference. On one hand, you have great structures like Great Wall of China, Forbidden Palace and Temple of Heaven and on the other hand, smell of awesome tea and herbal medicines attracts many to visit this city. This city has better signage system as compared to Shanghai. Of course lots of development happened in recent past to make it bit tourist friendly.
You would definitely like the old monument and new structures like Water cube and Bird nest. For night out, you could try Kung Fu show at Red theatre. Its worth watching if you don’t have great expectation.
If you are taking guided tour, she will take you to tea house, pearl market and where not. And if you don’t buy anything, be prepared for a cold look.
I will end my blog with a line about The Great Wall – it’s really a wonder. We were awestruck with the grandness that it offered, it has taken humongous effort and has been well worth it – possibly more.