02.07.2013 - 02.08.2013 28 °F
First of all Shanghai is not what I expected at all, there are tons of farmland and factories, no huge urban buildings. We landed and I turned my phone on, it worked! This was a huge load off my chest. I made it through security which was great! I was mostly worried about my visa, but everything went smoothly. I grabbed my bag from the baggage claim, which led to a lot of staring. I got in the customs line, more staring. Managed to get all of my things through their security conveyor belt and carry my backpack out the exit. It was only then I had a security guard running after me yelling "your passport your passport!!! I have to see your passport!!!" Oops. Oh that definitely enticed more staring. I waited right outside immigration for misty to arrive. I say next to three old Chinese men. I could tell they were curious about me, and would glance at me every so often. But I'm sure they didn't speak English and assumed I didn't know Chinese. I should've rambled off a few 您好's just to see their shocked faces.
Misty's flight was an hour or so after mine. I spent my time reading the second book in the game of thrown series. So good. So happy I have it with me, 1000 pages and all. We met up without a hitch, and used my phone to call the hostel for directions. Take metro 2 to Nanjing rd, take exit 6. Sounds easy enough. First thing I learned about China, be prepared for anything on the metro. We had to buy our tickets, I wasn't willing to trust my Chinese to get us to the right stop so we found our stop in English and bought our tickets, ¥7 a piece ~$1.20. Then we had to put our bags through security again and I caused a compete traffic jam at the end, not being able to put my bag on quickly, there were angry shouts and pushing and for a second I thought I was to be trampled. I'm ok though, I dragged myself out of the mess and recouped and headed to the metro.
You know what you've always learned as a kid and especially prominent at 4 way stops is "let others go first." Ok I want you to take that, put it in a box in a locked closet and ignore it. You have to be in full survival mode, you have to have the mentality as I want on or off the metro as much as you do, and push your way through. Chances are you won't get a seat unless you push, although some very nice old man kept saying "坐，坐" (sit, sit), but our bags were too awkward to sit and he was old and deserved a seat, so we returned with a polite 不坐. Only later did I hope I used the right word to negate 坐.
If you ever plan on going to shanghai and taking the metro, I have one very important piece of advice for you. You have to transfer, or you go back to the airport, so when the announcer says next stop "世纪大道" and everyone starts heading for the door, don't think it's because they all live there, they don't. Thankfully some nice man told us when he saw us starting to get comfortable on our seats. "It's transfer, you go back to airport!" He yelled at us in broken English and misty and I had to fight our way through the crowd of oncoming people. We followed the mob and got on the parallel train and we were on our way again. We got off at Nanjing road E. made our way up the escalator, and we had to use our tickets again. Important piece of advice #2, keep your ticket. Thankfully I found mine after frantically searching for a few minutes and we made it out of the cattle gates and to a map. Let the wandering begin. We found our exit and had to ask multiple security guards where exit 六 was. The metro had originally started above ground, but for the last 15 min of our journey it was underground. We were nervous of the city that was awaiting us, as when we were on the metro there were only very run down farm houses and old crumbling buildings, we were hoping we weren't staying in the wrong area of shanghai, but Asa we made it up the escalator we were greeted with a 5 story forever 21. Yup we were in the city. We tried asking a few security guards where jiangxi road is. I didn't understand their Chinese response and they didn't understand English. S we winged it and headed down Henan road. I eventually found an older gentleman and asked him in Chinese where to go, he must've lived nearby because he knew the name of our hostel and exactly where it was, and told us the way. I'll be honest, I was nervous. The streets we filthy, trash everywhere, pee in the road, etc, and we were getting further and further from our urban little center. We however, were pleasantly surprised when we were greeted by a lobby filled with plants and a dark wooden floors and interesting booths. It sounded like I heard a pool table when I walked in, but to be honest I have been sleeping and recuperating in our room, so I haven't explored quite yet. We are on the third floor.
I can't help but think of memories of a geisha walking to our room. If Yu have read the book or seen the movie, the inside of our hostel looks like that.
More pics and stories to follow! <3