Shanghai, China Day 1

April 1, 2010

Shanghai welcomed us with a rainy day that was not good for the tour we had planned.  Nonetheless, we had a good time.  The excursion we had chosen first gave us a ride on the Maglev train, which runs out to the airport.  The trip took about 8 minutes each way, and the train speed got up to 431 KPH.  There are two trains and they run every 15 minutes, in opposite directions.  That means that they approach each other with a closing speed of 862 KPH, which surprises the rider with what might be described as a mini sonic boom.  You hear and feel a thump, as if someone had punched the cars.  Apart from that (and the frustration of being unable to take photos of the passing scenery), the ride is very smooth.  It is an amazing experience.  There is a sign at either end of each train car that details both the time and the speed of the train.  At a price of $10 US for a round trip, this is an experience not to be missed when in Shanghai.

The blue figure shown in the inset at the top of the page is Jai Bao, the mascot for the 2010 World Expo which will be held in Shanghai, starting in May.  You can find him everywhere in the city, either on posters, as large sculptures and even stuffed animals.

Our next destination was the Jin Mao tower, currently the second tallest building in Shanghai.  The 88th floor is dedicated to observation, and we understand that the view from it is spectacular on a clear day.  We were told that the city below looks more like a painting than a three-dimensional city.  We were very much at the mercy of the weather, and only occasionally could we glimpse anything below us.  Then it was only for an instant.  We could, however, look down the center of the building to the lobby of the hotel, located on the 55th floor.  The elevator to the observation floor is also an incredible ride.  The elevator travels at a speed of 9 meters per second, and is so smooth that you hardly realize you are on an elevator, except when your ears pop from the altitude change.

Despite the rainy weather, we enjoyed this tour and would recommend both experiences to anyone visiting Shanghai.

In the afternoon we took the shuttle bus to the Friendship Store (what they call their government stores) because a friend had told us about the silk embroidery they had.  We learned about the whole silk-making process as well as about the Zhou embroidery.  The embroidery is a dying art, as it takes a four-year apprenticeship to learn the art, and the work does not pay well because it takes so much time.  The embroidery is done entirely freehand, and appears identical on both sides of the transparent silk it is done on.  Sometimes the design is different on both sides, but within the same outline, and there is no front or back to the design.  Both the fabric and the thread used are incredibly fine.

We do not have still photos of the evening’s entertainment, which was an acrobatic show.  All the participants were between the ages of 9 and 18, and they could do incredible things with their bodies.  They were both very entertaining and very talented.  Hopefully we’ll be able to put together a video for the gallery before too long.  These children must be seen to be believed.

                                                            Jin Mao Tower Entrance

© Susan L. Stone 2015