On Saturday, August 15, 2015 we started the adventure that we have been preparing for six months; our trip to Hong Kong. We left for Hong Kong to live and study there for no less than five months. This series of travel reports from Hong Kong consists of no less than seven parts.
Arrival in Shanghai
On January 11, we arrived late at night at the airport in Shanghai, from where we wanted to go to our hotel by taxi. Even in this cosmopolitan city, no one spoke a word of English at the international airport, which resulted in us getting nowhere near our hotel by taxi. When we thought we were in the area, we got out and started walking. We then spent hours in the cold in the middle of the night, it was suddenly 4 degrees Celsius instead of the 40 degrees Celsius in Thailand, walking around with our suitcases for hours, which resulted in the wheels of the suitcases wearing down, getting warm and even melting. After a while we arrived at our hotel with a sweaty back but cold fingers and toes. We had a great room. The next morning we put on our winter coats, gloves and hats and went out to explore the city. Again a completely different world than what we had seen before in all the countries we had already visited.
First impressions of Shanghai
On the one side, huge skyscrapers that are among the tallest in the world, wealthy businessmen and mobile police command posts. On the other hand, vagrants who sleep on the ground under thick blankets in the frost, and monkeys with a steel chain around their necks who do flips and dance on the streets for money. Once arrived at the bay, the light from the many brightly lit skyscrapers reflected beautifully on the water. On the other side of the bay, on the side of those skyscrapers, you have a completely contrasting view. Also called The Bund with a European and Mediterranean architectural style. In addition to this mix of architectural styles, statues by Mao and a copy of the Wall street bull, you will find real Chinese architectural styles when you wander through the smaller streets further from the main roads.
Yu Garden and Maglev
One of the highlights is the Yu Garden, which is the Chinese garden par excellence. Completely in Feng Shui style, with elements of water, stone, fire and air, we enjoyed ourselves for hours. Sequentially, we visited and boarded the Maglev. A ticket was expensive, but we (read: Goort) wanted to travel with the famous magnetic hover train that took us to the other side of Shanghai at 300 km/h. The other metro and trains are also ultra-modern, and a striking detail was that in the metro tunnels, outside the train, on the wall of the tunnel, the advertising travels along with the train. The tunnels are equipped with LEDs, so that the advertising videos automatically slide along with the train.
A special encounter in Shanghai
Despite the fact that Shanghai has a lot of tourists and expats, we still stood out. In front of a skyscraper we were approached by a man of our age, who asked Goort if he could take a picture with “Beautiful Blondie”. A striking cultural difference, because although Nadia was just standing there next to Goort, the man only asked for Goort’s approval and not so much for that of Nadia. Nadia was fine with it and so she took a picture with this man who couldn’t believe he was this lucky. Afterwards we were thanked nearly 40 times after which we continued exploring the city.