Shanghai, China PT 1 MAR 7 2024

After a day at sea, we arrived at Shanghai, China for an overnight stay, giving us two  days to explore. There would not be any independent exploring here. We did not have a visa so we could only leave the ship if we were on a Holland America excursion. Fine with us. We had no desire to go off in our own in China. These are early morning photos before we docked.

Fog or Maybe Smog?

With 9,010 miles of coastline, China has a population of over 1,409 billion. Shanghai has a population of over 24 million making it the second largest city in China. Shanghai has the largest seaport in the world. Chopsticks were invented here 5,000 years ago.

Some interesting facts given us by our tour guides:

  • Country’s biggest problem is how to feed over a billion people
  • Two generations ago, Chinese families were very large. Our generation was limited to one child. Now that the birthrate is shrinking and is at minus one, the government is encouraging young people today to have more than one child and give the parents monetary supplements for additional children. 
  • Current problem is young people today do not want to marry and have children. They know life is very hard if you marry and have children to be responsible for. They have to work harder to get a bigger apartment, pay for schooling, etc. They want an easier life with less responsibilities and more time to relax and be with friends.

Security was tight getting off the ship with Chinese officials checking our passports at two different checkpoints as well as scanning bags twice we were taking off the ship. On the first day we took an excursion that including a short train ride and tour of Shanghai. Our guide was a young, energetic guide who spoke good English with a heavy accent.

Unique Buildings Everywhere

The first stop was at the Maglev Longyang Road Station to ride a Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) train. The Shanghai Maglev is the world’s first commercial high speed maglev with a maximum cruising speed of 186 mph. The line uses German Transrapid technology. The driverless powerful electromagnetic train floats on an electromagnetic cushion over guideways using the basic principles of magnets to replace the old steel wheel and train tracks. The trains can reach high speeds because there no rail friction. The trains float, rarely if ever touch a track. As we turned corners there was definitely a feeling of flying. There is less noise and vibration than a train on a track which also means fewer mechanical breakdowns or weather related delays.

We rode the train round trip from the Longyang Road Station to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

We Whizzed By this Church

The 19 mile mile trip takes eight minutes and ten seconds each way. We rode one way, waited about ten minutes on the train, and then rode back to our starting point. Think of all the road traffic jams we avoided. We know it well because our ship is located 17 miles from the city center and it is an hour bus trip ride from the ship, more time in heavy traffic. 

After that exciting ride we went to the new area of Shanghai, the Pudong area. We saw the Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower. Completed in 1994, it was the world’s first steel antenna. At 1,535 feet, it is the fourth tallest in Asia and sixth in the world.

The Jin Mao Tower is an 88 story building and is the third tallest skyscraper in Shanghai. It was completed in 2001 and is 88 stories because the Chinese think the number 8 is lucky and symbolizes wealth. So a building 88 stories high would be doubly lucky and bring wealth. The design blends modern and traditional technology. We rode a large elevator to the observation deck on the 88th floor. The ride took 45 seconds and we could feel the fast ascent in our ears. There was a great view of the “Bund” or waterfront area and Huangpu River which surrounds the financial district.

Well, the view was great except for the smog. The captain had told everyone that he received a poor air quality alert for Shanghai. The smog was not that noticeable until we were at a high level.

Shanghai Tower, The Tallest

You can pay to walk around on the outside ledge of the tower. None of us took them up on the offer. The Jin Mao Tower also contains a shopping mall, offices and the Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel.

Looking Down into The Hollow Area of the Hyatt Hotel

We had time to go to a bank on the third floor to use the ATM and get some Chinese yuan. 

Along the Jin Mao Tower is the 128 story Shanghai Tower, the tallest in Shanghai, this area has the world’s first trio of adjacent super tall skyscrapers.

Next up: more Shanghai

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