Shanghai 72

Mon 10 Jun 2013

I have spent 4 years travelling in Australia and about 5 years living and travelling internationally. Having this much time on the road and having entered some 70+ countries, I feel when I say Shanghai is a cool city, you can believe me, its cool and I have solid reasoning for saying it.

I've told a lot of friends about this place and my good friend John Nayler came to visit.
Only its not so easy applying for a Chinese visa when your always traveling around so John settled for a 72 hour Transit Visa and hence came the:

72 Hour Shanghai Dash.

- 00.30am 16 June 2013
John Nayler arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport
Its China and visa's are required in advance. However there is now a free 72 hour transit visa. Great, John can stop over on his way to Europe. Unfortunately I didn't relies that the 72 hour transit visa had to be transiting from one country to a different country. John came from Kuala Lumpur and was flying back to Kuala Lumpur and then on to Europe. John got stung with the need to buy a ticket from Shanghai to a third country just to please Air Asia Immigration staff. Anyway, luckily it was done on time and he managed to land in Shanghai with a new Columbian friend in tow. (I think she was trying to pick John up by asking to share a taxi but anyhow)

- 01.30am 16 June 2013
Lujiabang Lu, near my aparment
Mini Mart outside my Apartment Complex in vicinity of Lujiabang Lu, Down Town Shanghai.
The Columbian is still with us. Amazing, she is trying Couch Surfing for the first time and her host is not answering his phone. Luckily she just shared the taxi with one of Australia and Shanghai's most experienced Couch Surfers. We immediately proceed with a simple agreement.
“Well your host isn't answering, we live here, there is a couch, and here (pointing to the shop just outside the taxi window) they sell beer!”

- 01.30 – 4am 16 June 2013
30th Floor apartment, Shanghai
Caught up with John and all the latest. Ms. Columbia or Julie continues to deny any existence of her Columbian hertitage and pretends to be a student in Malaysia. Its a kind of believable story, however the world thinks Columbia is all about Cocaine and trafficing. We find it funny and harass her about it. Julie tells us she and most of her friends have never tried it and we let her off. Needless to say, its interesting story. Not to mention the 3 of us all own properties and like to travel the world without working too much.

- 11.30am 16 June 2013
Breakfast in People Square
Well first breakfast should be Chinese right? Not today. Korean is on the plate and I take Ms. Columbia and John down for a  massive Korean BBQ Brunch. Kimchi, Vegetables, Tofu some BBQ meat and Raw Beef as well just to make it exotic. Its a high class restaurant so I trust and enjoy the Raw beef. After we finished off by BBQing (thats a recognised Australian word I swear) BBQing Bananas and Ice Cream. Complimentary Ice Cream, the staff remembered me well from a previous visit. The most expensive meal. 230RMB or about $35AUD. It was most extravagant though.
Just the other week I spend 240RMB here eating with a vegetarian Girl Friend. Our food bill was actually 60RMB, the other 180RMB was a bottle of wine and a bottle of Soju. No wonder the staff remembered me.

- 14.30pm 16 June 2013
Peoples Square to East Nanjing Station.
360 Degree Iclyck photographs were taken along the famous People Square walking/shopping route. We were continually harassed to buy watches and roller skates however thats a nice change. Normally they harass me trying to sell sex or massage. We meet up with one of our premium Shanghai connections at East Nanjing Station. Mr Liang Sun. Liang works for a Chinese Yachting Company. A very good connection established between Liang and John.

- 16.00 16 June 2013
The Bund
We proceed along the famous Bund. Shanghai's river promenade. A gorgeous place which looks fantastic even through the rain. We head up to a roof top bar, Captains, for an afternoon beer and light discussion on the differences between Chinese and Australian Yacht industries while the rain settles.
Ms. Julie from Columbia is still with us and interested in how much 'luggage' she can hide in the hulls of Yatches so she listens with intent like a deaf man trying to listen to a dog fart.
Coffee 40 RMB, Beer 60 RMB.

-18.00 16 June 2013
We head down from the Captains roof top and catch a 2 RMB ferry across the river to Pudong. The financial part of Shanghai City. We check out some of the amazing skyscrapers. One of which, the Shanghai World Finance Tower, Click
is the 2nd highest hotel in the world. It was the 5th highest Building in the world according to WikiPedia however there is a new building being constructed almost next to it, which has just passed the top of it with a height of over 492 Meters and going. China's tallest buildings next to each other. We head up to another roof top bar called Flair on the 58th floor of IFC2.  
Flair is my favourite roof top bar in the city. However with the weather we find ourselves in the middle of a rain cloud unable to see more than 50 meters.

- 20.00 16 June 2013
Back to my Apartment
We find our way back to the apartment to relax a little and meet my room mate Fred. Fred is an eccentric, totally 'fabulous' fashion designer living in Shanghai. Within moments of meeting the conversation has shifted from sex in Columbia, to sex in Australia and back to Fred's virginity. Its hard being gay in China. Anyway Fred is a superstar and very well known in Shanghai. A truly wonderful room mate. I'm blessed to have lived with him for so long.
Hostels here cost between 40-80 RMB. Hotels from 200-800 RMB. Per night.
My Apartment, 1 room in a shared aparment downtown with Electricity, Cleaner, Internet etc, 3000-5000 RMB per month. Thanks to Fred I pay under 3000 RMB and have the best views in town.  

- 21.00 16 June 2013
Street food
We have a local style dinner to show John what its really about. We eat at a small shop which is actually in the garage/entrance way to some apartment. Dinner consist of 3 bowls of Wanton's, something that resembles Beef, a few dishes of vegetables and 2 large Tsingtao beers. Total 70 RMB.

- 23.00 16 June 2013
Fancy Italian Bar
Departed the street food to get Ms Columbia to her real CS host. Its been an event full 24hours. We meet her host Stuart in fancy upmarket Italian Bar. Real Imported Italian Beer. About 70 RMB each. The Tsingtao is 4RMB in the shop so I know what I prefer. Still, its the atmosphere. The Atmosphere was viscous. Stuarts friend was there trying to pick up a Russian girl who with her other Russian girl friend liked to yell at me for some reason. Unfortunately my Russian joke is considered funny to Russians with a light sense of humour, its not so funny for Moscow women. They leave soon after and Stuart falling asleep at the table takes Ms. Columbia home leaving John and I crewless, and also tired.

- 00.01 17 June 2013
Calling it a night.

- 11.30 17 June 2013
We eventually woke up and started the day. Through Wechat, a messaging application like Whatsup, and Fred who was at work, we managed to order breakfast. 30 minutes and 35 RMB later 3-4 dishes of Chinese take away appear at our doorstep. We proceed on catching up however sight seeing plans are on hold as the weather continues to let us down. 1 hour later we are about to leave the house anyway despite the weather. Suddenly there is a nock on the door and a cheerful Frenchie called Remy is there. Remy is a Couch Surfing Guest of Fred's who just arrived. We didn't expect Remy however his enthiusiasm is enough to clear the weather for us all to enjoy the city. (I have a feeling Fred may have told me however I forgot thanks to the 4 RMB Tsingtao beers the night before.)

13:30-15:30 17 June 2013
Shanghai sights
We cover a couple of tourist sites and do quick video shots of the famous Tians Zi Fang where old school Shanghai meets Boutique bars and Restaraunts. A place to be seen and to watch. No one selling watches and roller skates here. However western prices for almost everything.

After we proceed to TaoBao City, 580 West Nanjing Lu. If your going here, download the China Fake Market Application available on Iphone and Android. Yes there is an application for the fake markets. The Fake markets is a bit of a viscous place though, the Chinese here can be a bit ruthless on soft hearted soulds. See this is where Chinese offer glasses at 80-120 RMB yet slowly come down to 20 RMB. However if you were to say to them straight away that you wan them for 10 RMB they maybe abusive to you and claim your being stupid or unfair. This is not such a pleasant place to buy. Perhaps its the Australian culture though, we are not used to it. Not finding what we want here we proceed to the IT buildings at Xizang South and HuaiHai Road. Here John quickly and pleasantly scoops up a good deal on a quality tripod. Go here for any IT required gear.

16:00 17 June 2013
Yuyuan Gardens
This area is very popular for its heritage architectural. Ming Style built around 16th Century. Gorgeous place well worth a visit. Being a public holiday it is crowded with tourist however we manage to shoot a short video or 2. A Chinese friend Elaine and Mr Liang Sun joined us. Additional note, today we used Taxi's between each location with an average cost of 16 RMB. All taxi drivers spoke minimal English however our google maps worked sufficiently.

19.00 17 June 2013
Peoples Park, Barbarossa
Mr Liang Sun takes us to a bar called Barbarosa. Turns out this place is on numerous lists as one of Shanghai's top bars and its immediately clear why. Despite being smack bang in the middle of the city, Barbaosa is located next to a miniature lake in Peoples Park. Its Moroccan style yet we look over the water, and above the tree line we see a clock that resembles the Big Ben and my personal favourite building, a skyscraper that looks like some evil structure from a Transformer Sci Fi film. And here we are under a ceiling which is hidden by a Moroccan nomadic tent style roof. We join Liangs friends, 3 beautiful women from France and Spain and quickly joined by another gorgeous Chinese girl who happens to be a doctor. There we are, 2 French, 2 Spanish, 2 Australians, 3 Chinese in a Moroccan Restaurants, over looking the Chinese Garden and Big Ben. Needles to say the half price happy hour cocktails, normally 50-80 RMB go down quiet well.
Barbarosa immediately becomes our favourite location in town.

20.30 17 June 2013
Near Peoples Park Restaurant hunting
Since we are in Shanghai, and since Happy Hour is over we decide to go for some local food and find ourselves in nice little restaurant with plates and plates of food, and a collection of empty beer bottles. The bill, less then 50 RMB each.

22.00 17 June 2013
M1nt and M2
We go to one of China's most popular clubs M1nt. Only because of the holiday only its lounge area is open. Still the nice staff let us in for a quick video. Shortly after we duck out, jump into 3 taxis and head to M2. One of the biggest clubs in town. It is quiet fancy and totally full of party goers. Super loud music, flashing lights, even a performance by some overweight dark guys pretending to be celebrities. Here you really need tables and space to enjoy so we decide to bail out for salsa. Departing the building John lost his ability to speak. There was a line of Porches, Lamborghini's, Ferrari's and a Rolls Royce or 2 to say the least all parked around the building. China's elite, rich and party goers where certainly here not at M1nt tonight. For Shanghai's best venues, it is often best to call ahead to book a table for entry or have special contacts. Regularly popular ExPats here get invites from promoters to join various clubs with the lure of free tables and drinks. Often its real to. They make money from the Elite, and the Elite want to see ExPats in their clubs so ExPats often get lured in with free drinks.  

01.00 18 June 2013
Mural, Hengshen Lu
Normally people go from smaller club to bigger club however we went from the biggest to smaller. Mural is a Salsa bar and we have some Salsa fans. Here we have a better time than the previous clubs as we have room to move, to dance and a little easier to talk with each other. A couple of drinks outside on the street followed by finishing the night here. Home to bed to sleep.  

09.00 18 June 2013
Waking up in the morning, too early as usual although Johns time is almost up. With Remy, remember Freds guest, and the Doctor, ahhh she slept on the couch I swear. Unfortunatly their wasn't enough room for the lovely Spanish girls. Anyhow we all got in Synch with our Smart Phones, Emails, Photographs, Messaging Apps and much needed Coffee.

11.00 18 June 2013
Cool Docks
I have heard about this Cool Docks for sometime and never been. Its close to the apartment and on way to the Airport so we head there for Brunch. Now in China Copy Write and Advertising is kind of unrestricted. Its great for buying DVD's 5-15 RMB each. However the Cool Docks is a prime bad example. I don't know how or why anyone would call this place cool. Its the most unimpressive thing I've seen in Shanghai. Even the 50m view of Rain from the Pudong Roof tops was better. So we quickly get back in a taxi and head to the Magalev station for a Brunch closer to the Airport. Top tip, eating at the Train Station or Airport is always better then eating at home and rushing to make it on time.

12.00 18 June
We have Brunch of Chinese Fast Food under the Magalev. Brunch cost a total of around 70RMB for 4 of us. PS. John I still have your change.

The Magalev is the Fast Train experience. 431Km/hr in Peak hour. Quiet a thrill. 300Km/hr in off-peak or bad weather. We say our good byes here as John races off at Peak Hour speed to Pudong Airport.

That ends Johns 72hour dash. Or more like 60hours. Areas covered.
My fabulous 30th Floor Apartment and surrounding shops/restaurants.
Peoples Park, People Square, East Nanjing Lu, YuYuan Garden, Pudong, Tian Zi Fang, 1 x Fake Market, IT Building, and a few of Shanghai's best bars and clubs.

Biggest expenses, a beer or drink in upmarket establishments, 70 RMB per drink. If you were to buy in Convientant store.
Large Chinese beer 4 RMB each.
Bacardi, Breezer, Jack Daniels 15-24 RMB

Biggest expenses, meal in upmarket establishment, 80 – 120 RMB per head, less if one meal, more if a variety of shared meals or courses. If you were to eat on street:
Without minimal risk of Diarrhoea 20-40 RMB
With small to medium risk of Diarrhoea 7-14 RMB

Taxi, we use taxi almost everywhere,
14 RMB base cost, most short journeys.
This is 18 RMB after 10pm.
Our longest trip was 30 RMB.
To either of Shanghai's Airport from Down town would cost 200-250 RMB.

3-4 RMB per trip. Some trips up to 7 RMB, all ours 3-4 RMB.

My recommendations:
Do China on the cheap. Don't risk Diarrhoea however eat at medium establishments 20-30 RMB meals. If your really watching your health like I do, stop in at Family Marts frequently. Here they sell Salads and Sushi for 4-10 RMB. There is an abundance of Fruit stalls as well. Eat healthy and frequent small meals. Do not drink water from tap. Carry water from Family Mart, 2 RMB. If going to fancy places, have a water or 2 on hand because if you buy a water in a fancy place expect to cost 10 or so times more the price of Family Mart. Also if you eat the Family Mart way, when you go to fancy establishment you can be comfortable eating much less. Water served to you by classy Restaurants is fine, water from taps is not.
Be careful of thieves however many people feel Shanghai is safer then Paris and Barcelona. Be careful of Tea Ceremonies, if strangers, particularly young students invite you to Tea, that is a common scam. If you find your self in that situation, take a good look at yourself, your being scammed.

I feel you can touch a Chinese city in 72 hours, although you can't get a feel for China in such limited time. China is a great place. Hope to see you here.

Related Links:
   Youtube Shanghai Secrets
   360 Panorama in Shopping Street
   360 Panorama Roof Top Bar
   360 Panorama at waterfront

Story by:
Adrian Cahill
Expert traveler, Adrian has been in over 70 countries, stayed in mud huts and was once caught smuggling Vegemite in his trousers. Now he is on the speaking circuit and writes about his adventures.

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