Monday, April 11, 2011

ShangHIGH Trip Day 1

At past seven, I was awakened by a phonecall and immediately, I know it's my mother at the other line. I guess she didn't sleep well last night since her two children are two rooms away from her, paranoid again haha. Anyway, I jumped from my bed and checked the weather. Outside it was all gloomy and the locals are wearing their thick jackets. Suddenly the thought  of getting exposed on a six degree temperature send shivers since I'm not accustomed to such kind of weather Add to that, my "winter clothes" is not that durable enough to withstand such coldness. Bahala na nga, I said and prepared myself.

After almost an hour, we went down to take our breakfast at the hotel. Half of the people who were taking their breakfast are in their formal suits so I assume they are there on a convention. We chose the table near the window and waited for my brother and father to get their food first.After a few minutes, they went back to our table and we took it as a cue (me and mommy) to get our food. To my surprise, there's a "scarcity of resources" in their buffet lol Anyhow, we just contented ourselves with whatever food that was left. Bawi na lang sa lunch, mommy said as a consolation.

Our tour guide Joyce arrived before 9:30 and so we're good to go for our tour that day. The moment we stepped out of the hotel, it was really really really cold that we all hurriedly boarded the van.
 Gloomy Sunday morning
Quite unhappy with the breakfast hihi
 And so Shanghai Day 1 officially begins. First destination: Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

The TV Tower during daytime
It was love at first sight for me although I was really intimidated with this gigantic structure. Towering at 468 meters, it is considered as the third tallest tv and radio tower in the world and the second tallest in China.  We were then brought to the 75th floor or the revolving tea house and what can  I say? The tower simply offers a breath-taking view of the city. After taking some snapshots that would document the trip, we headed down to the sightseeing platform wherein guests can take more pictures of the scenery or themselves while standing  on glass floor.The scenario made me reminisce the skywalk adventure I had back in Cebu some two years ago. Despite my experience walking on the 40th floor of  Cebu Regency Hotel with only a harness, I was still a chicken to walk on that glass floor because I'm afraid that any moment it will shatter into pieces because  it can no longer hold the many people walking on it. Paranoid much haha. Joyce told us that the true beauty of the tower can be best appreciated during nighttime when the tower changes its colors ---more than a hundred times WHOAAAAA!--- and recommended to take a HuangPu river cruise. Anyway, here's additional info about the tower:

Going up,up,up: waiting for the "ride"
 The tower includes 15 spheres of different sizes at different levels creating an artistic conception of "large and small pearls dropping onto a jade plate". It has become a symbolic piece of architecture and a favorite sight for tourists in Shanghai.There is a revolving teahouse and a sightseeing platform, which can accommodate 1600 people in the largest ball. Here visitor can get a panoramic view of the Bund and Pudong New area.There are 6 elevators within the tower. Five are installed in the three columns and one runs between the height of 250 meters and 341 meters. One of the five elevators is double-decked. Two medium-sized elevators, accommodating 30 persons each and running at a speed of 7 meters per second, cover the distance from the bottom of the tower to the highest sphere in 40 seconds. (

Here are some top view shots:
Shanghai's Wall Street aka The Bund

View from the revolving tea house

People or ants?

Shanghai's TOWERing prides

Going round in circle

Enjoying the view
Giant bottle opener and Empire State Building in Shanghai?

By the way, the building that resembles a giant bottle opener is the Shanghai World Financial Center while the Empire State look-a-like building is the Jin Mao Tower, both one of the tallest buildings in the city. After our eyes feasted on the picturesque view of the city, we all went down to the lower ground floor for the Shangahai History Museum. I didn't thought that the museum's that huge! It took us more or less two hours before we toured the whole place. I am no big fan of museums although I love every bit of information that I get everytime I go to one. By far,I think this is my most enjoyable museum trip ever. EVER. Luckily, we can take pictures inside the museum despite the presence of wax figures there (although wax museums now allow photo-taking inside).
Travel back in time: Shanghai History Museum marker

Morning at the Museum: Cricket playing
Morning at the Museum: Opium House

Morning at the Museum: Turning Chinese
Morning at the Museum:

Morning at the Museum: Parlor scene hehe

Museum tour
Wedding sedan chair
Scale model of The Bund at night
 After getting acquainted with Shanghai's culture, we left TV Tower past 12.

Authentic Shanghai silk
It is said that silk was first discovered by the Chinese. "For more than two thousand years the Chinese kept the secret of silk altogether to themselves. It was the most zealously guarded secret in history" (credits here). The quality of Chinese silk can be considered, if not the best, one of the best in the world. So for our next destination: Tian Hou Silk Company. Again, I enjoyed staying there even for a long time because : 1. I've been wondering looooong ago how a single thread or a fabric can be made and 2. the guide was an eye-candy ♥ ♥ ♥ After that, we took our hearty lunch at the nearby Tian Hou Tea House
It was already almost two in the afternoon when we stepped out from the said tea house and OMG it was freakin' cold! No change in temperature yet huh?We were really freezing and hurriedly went to the van.
We then headed to the Jade Buddha Temple. By the way, Joyce told us that April 3-5 is declared a holiday in Shanghai since they are celebrating the Tomb Sweeping Day, the counterpart of the All Souls' Day celebration. She explained that during these days, the locals go back to their hometowns and pay homage to their departed loves ones by sweeping their tombs, thus the name of the celebration. Anyway, when we got inside the temple, many people are indeed, praying and holding their rituals. I also saw some group of monks but wasn't able to take pictures of them as a sign of respect. Mind you, these monks have porcelain-like skin and have rosy cheeks too haha! I did a research on the temple:
Giving their respects to the dead
 In 1882, an old temple was built to keep two jade Buddha statues which had been brought from Burma by a monk named Huigen. The temple was destroyed during the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Fortunately the jade Buddha statues were saved and a new temple was built on the present site in 1928.The two precious jade Buddhist statues are not only rare cultural relics but also porcelain artworks. Both the Sitting Buddha and the Recumbent Buddha are carved with whole white jade. The sparkling and crystal-clear white jade gives the Buddhas the beauty of sanctity and make them more vivid. The Sitting Buddha is 190 centimeters high and encrusted by the agate and the emerald, portraying the Buddha at the moment of his meditation and enlightenment. The Recumbent Buddha is 96 centimeters long, lying on the right side with the right hand supporting the head and the left hand placing on the left leg, this shape is called the 'lucky repose'. The sedate face shows the peaceful mood of Sakyamuni when he left this world. In the temple there is also another Recumbent Buddha which is four meters long and was brought from Singapore by the tenth abbot of the temple in 1989. Furthermore there are many other ancient paintings and Buddhist scriptures distributed in the different halls of the temple.
We were able to see both the sitting and reclining buddha. Between the two,  the sitting buddha is more beautiful. Pictures were not allowed this time, well it's understandable. Aside from the sitting and reclining buddhas, the temple also houses the happy buddha. The happy buddha is popular among us Filipinos: the smiling buddha that has I think 12 children around him. According to Joyce, the said buddha is considered as a lucky buddha also.  

Buddha  bless us :one of the buddhas in the temple
Replica of the reclining buddha
Next in our list was the Nanjing Road or Shanghai's shopping haven. Measuring 3.4 mile long, you can find designer clothing shops such as Zara, Mont Blanc and Tiffany, fastfoods chains like Yoshinoya, KFC, and Mc Donald's, and shopping malls where local products are sold.  Before leaving us, Joyce reminded us that local products are la lot cheaper than designer clothes---of course, that's a give-away tip hehe.We ended up buying thick jackets  since it's the most practical thing to buy that time. Nanjing Road is far from the  "shopping mecca" in Hongkong and Bangkok. While I can compare HK and BKK bazaars to our very own 168 mall and divi, Nanjing Road is similar to that of Greenhills and Market! Market! Anyway,we didn't explore the whole road since it's cold (how many times did I mention cold in this entry alone?haha) and besides Joyce's not with us so we decided to just sit on one of the benches to rest. As agreed upon, Joyce met us at 5:30 for the grand finale.

Lovers in Nanjing Road

In the middle of Nanjing Road


For the last leg of our tour that day, we availed of the Huang Pu River Cruise which is a must for visitors. Huang Pu is said to be Shanghai's mother river and separates East Shanghai and West Shanghai. Anyway, It was almost dusk time when we arrived at the port and managed to get good seats since there's only few people inside the ship. After five minutes, guests started flocking in. We decided to stay on the covered area of the ship since it's too windy outside. Few more minutes and the ship started sailing. The cruise lasted for 45 minutes, I think following this route: Ships depart from the Bund (Zhongshan Road), sail to Huangpu Bridge in the south, turn and head north towards Wusongkou, and return to the Bund.
The girl with a bangs at The Bund ;p
 As the ship sailed smoothly, I can't help but be more amazed with Shanghai's beauty at night. The Bund, the skyline, the calm river, it's perfect! Too bad, dinner is only served among locals BOOO haha. After some time, mommy and I decided to go to the deck to have our pictures taken there hehe. We arrived back to the port before 7pm and was shocked of the long queue of passengers waiting outside. Whew!Good thing we're a little bit early. After the cruise, the driver drove us back to the hotel.
It was such a tiring yet memorable day for us.
Night shot of The Bund
Shanghai skyline
Shanghai at night

Beauty isn't it?

Family picture is a must!haha

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