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China – Shanghai – 6th December

We arrived Shanghai at around 7am and having being inspired by Rick and Beth (from the Japan to China boat trip) we proceeded to eat our breakfast of oats, banana and raisons out of thermos cups! Really nice! We went straight to The Mingtown Hiker YHA which is based close to The Bund in central Shanghai. The hostels are great over here as we always manage to get an early check in. This hostel is quite large, is in a good location and has a good social cafe for meeting people. The four person dorm was a good size, clean and the shared showers down the hall were steamy hot!

The Bund is a popular attraction in Shanghai with views over the river to Pudong’s famous skyscrapers. We walked from Mingtown to the Bund which takes around 10 minutes and strolled along the paved promenade. We were looking forward to some famous Shanghai heat and humidity after the chilly spell in Beijing however the clouds, wind and rain had moved in and it felt very much like a cold and damp December in the UK. Not happy! We followed The Bund walking tour as outlined in The Lonely Planet and walked by some art deco style buildings and famous hotels that play host to historical stories surround the gang of 4 and other war time events. One such place called the Fairmont Peace Hotel has a pretty impressive entrance way and interior. Following on from here we came across a temple in the middle of the shopping area in Shanghai. It houses a large silver Buddha statue which is quite impressive, but it’s all a little surreal placed in between large electronic ad campaigns and department stores.

The Propaganda Poster Art centre had some good reviews in the Lonely Planet and we were interested to see the collection which is located in a basement floor underneath a 20+ story block of flats. It was a little tricky to find but the security guards pointed us in the right direction. It was a great collection of art and design with some interesting historic information to back up the messages and put the posters in context with the political and social movements of the time.

Traveling for a year has its limitations on budget as you can imagine, so on the lookout for some cheap eats, we wandered around the streets looking for just that. This can be difficult if you end up in the wrong area of Shanghai so we chose a fast-food chinese food restaurant chain which had some fairly substandard food. It was cheap and filled us up but that is all. Back to the hostel we had a couple of beers and got chatting to a couple of Scottish girls who are teaching over here in China.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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