Made in China: Accomodations

We stayed at Li Jing Hotel, a three star hotel in Hankou Lu. I convinced my mom to stay in a cheaper hotel so that we could maximize our money on shopping and activities. So she booked a room, sight unseen, in Li Jing. We were worried about the quality but it has a great location because it’s right where the action is. Nanjing Lu (one of the world’s busiest shopping streets) is less than five minutes away and there are three train stations that could take you practically anywhere in Shanghai. Plus, it’s parallel to Fuzou Lu, where the bookstores and art stores are so I was able to sneak a visit to what is fondly called The Culture Street.

When we arrived at Li Jing, it wasn’t what we expected. One night costs Y398 (P2,786) but the hotel is really classy. We expected a run-down hotel run by shady characters but it looks opulent and expensive.

My brother.

The lobby. It doesn’t look like a third star hotel, doesn’t it? It even has a jade block as a “centerpiece.”

Opulent interiors and objet d’art.

The rooms are standard but I have no complaints. The bed was a little hard but I was too tired every night to even notice. Also, their breakfast buffet was the same. Every single day.

My biggest concern is the lack of English-speaking staff. Because it’s only three-star, all the guests were locals so they didn’t feel the need to brush up on English. Luckily, they understood basic phrases so it wasn’t that much of a struggle.

I would recommend the hotel to those who want a cheap hotel worth more than you’ll pay for. It’s clean, it’s location is convenient, and a police station is right around the corner. There’s also a C-Mart (their 7-11) right outside and some eateries and massage parlors.

And yes, that’s a copy of Smile on my bed. It’s complimentary, okay.

Made in China: East Meets West (Yuyuan Garden, The Bund, Xintiandi and CPC)

Shanghai is a beautiful mix of old and new. They keep temples with elaborate Oriental designs amidst the steel and glass cosmopolitan buildings that litter the city. It is a seamless mix of east meets west and it felt wonderful leaving a new world to enter an old one in just a few steps. It felt overwhelming and just a little schizophrenic.
Yuyuan complex is a leisure and shopping district with a classic architecture. You can buy anything from notebooks to keychains to cheap and expensive knickknacks such as vases, jade rocks and ivory statuettes. Food choices range from tea, dumplings, Starbucks and chou doufu or stinky tofu, a local delicacy (it really stinks). I wasn’t able to try it because I was stuffed but I spent a lovely time just admiring the view. There were so many people and the alleyways were crowded but it was a great journey.

Amidst the brouhaha is the Yuyuan Garden, a 400 year old garden created by a government officer in the Ming Dynasty for his ageing parents. The garden is five acres and comprises six scenic areas with ponds, rockeries, courtyards and the most beautiful pavilions in China. One of the sights to behold is the Exquisite Jade Rock, a 10.8 ft high rock with 72 holes. If you burn a joss stick beneath it, the smoke will float out from all holes. Similarly, when water falls on the rock, it will flow out on all holes. Pan Yuandan, the founder of the garden, built a hall facing the rock so he could admire it. I was not fortunate enough to have seen it in action but it is both formidable and beautiful.

The garden is quiet and serene and it felt great looking around and admiring the culture around. I imagined what it would be like living in such a palace and found myself daydreaming the entire time. It was glorious. Today, it is considered as one of the most lavish gardens in the region.

After we went to Old Shanghai, we went to The Bund, or the Shanghai of the Future. It is a one mile strip which runs along the Huangpu River, the largest river in Shanghai. It offers a fantastic view of Pudong, the Oriental Pearl Tower and the buildings that tower over Shanghai. The best time to see it is at night when all the lights are switched on to provide a magnificent light show.

Pudong at night. Photo from this site.

Xintiandi, Chinese for new heaven and earth is an entertainment complex with restaurants, bars, and malls. It is similar to Manila’s Greenbelt district with expensive eats, drinks, brands and foreigners. The contrast of shikumen (a style of housing unique to Shanghai that flourished in the 1860s) and global brands was just breathtaking.
To add to the architectural confusion of Xintiandi is the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Entrance is free and you can witness the beginning of communism in China, one of the country’s trademarks. It was inspiring.
Unlike its Beijing sister that thrives on the past, Shanghai is that progressive city that looks forward to change without forgetting her past. It is unsettling but beautiful.

Made in China: Acrobats

Chinese acrobats have been around for 2,000 years. They have perfected the ancient art that the one place to go to if you want to see acrobats is China. Historically speaking, Chinese acrobatics (formally known as Chinese variety art) has been around since the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC. It was popular in the Imperial court until it spilled into the masses.

One of the best troupes is the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe. They have traveled around the world from Chicago to Sydney to Rome, showcasing their amazing talents in contortion and movement. In fact, the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe is one of the things you should see when you’re in the city. The troupe is divided into two – one in the Shanghai Center Theater and the other is in Shanghai Circus World. I was fortunate enough to have seen both shows.

We actually discovered Shanghai Circus World by accident. Before heading out on our first day, we asked the hotel concierge how to get to the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe. The concierge couldn’t understand English but I saw a pamphlet on the desk of a girl doing acrobats. I showed it to her and she wrote the direction down in Chinese characters so we could ask around. I found a friendly couple who gave us directions and taught us how to use the train. The Circus World had its own station but we were disappointed to see that it wasn’t what we wanted. Since we were already there (and it was far from the other places we planned to go to), we decided to buy tickets and enjoy the show instead. I couldn’t remember the exact price and it doesn’t indicate on the ticket I kept but it was around P1,200 for third row seats. Prices vary according to seat numbers.

We were further disappointed when we saw the large puppets and the audience filled with children and their parents. It was obviously a kid’s show. I started to lower my expectations.

The troupe surprised me when they started to do their stunts, which left me completely breathless. They started throwing themselves into the air and flying around the arena with only pieces of cloth to hold their chests, arms or legs. These people were just amazing.

My favorite act was the one with the boys who did balancing acts on horses. These guys were incredible. Would you believe that these guys jumped one by one while the horses were galloping at top speed? They would then throw themselves on top of each other’s shoulders until they built this pyramid.

There were acts with animals involved. There were seals that did ball tricks, ponies that danced, parrots, bears, and monkeys that rode bikes. There were even two parrots who played basketball! The lion segment was scary. There were two white tigers and two lions and the lion tamers (a man and woman team) made them do tricks. The felines were obviously in terrible moods and wouldn’t do it unless they were given meat.

The highlight and finale of the show was this large metallic contraption with two circles where a person could stand in. They would rotate this very fast (like a turbine) and do tricks. At one point, one guy went on top and juggled. It was really wild because they didn’t use nets and it was so high.
Closing. The show was really worth it, considering it was for kids. What more could I expect from the actual Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe? Actually, while I was writing this, I did a little research on Circus World and the group is part of the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe. The building, a permanent indoor circus was built in 1999 to house the troupe who were tired of travelling around the world without a theater to call their own. Within a few weeks, it became one of the most popular attractions in the city and was billed as the number one circus in Asia.
The following day, we went to watch the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe in Shanghai Centre Theater. This was what we really wanted to watch and was looking forward to the stunts because of what we saw in Shanghai Circus World. We also had third row seats and from what I can remember, we paid around Y200 (P1,400) per ticket. It was worth every centavo because this was the group that went around the world to entertain millions of people.
You could tell that these people had a reputation because the audience was filled with foreigners. We didn’t see any Chinese locals unlike in Shanghai Circus World. Perhaps it was deemed expensive by locals, or maybe it’s part of their culture and they’re all acrobats.
If the Shanghai Circus World was amazing, the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe was simply divine. Their acts were all gravity-defying and I found myself loudly gasping after what looked like an impossible stunt. Their acts were similar to Circus World but they brought it up by several notches. It was mindblowing. I wasn’t bored with any act.
One stunt required audience participation. It was that classic act where someone leans against a board while someone throws a knife from across the stage. I was casually watching his assistant pretending to look into the crowd, looking for a participant. I remember thinking about how I could learn acrobatics when his steady gaze fell upon me. How could he not see me? I was sitting in the aisle seat of the third row and I was wearing a bright yellow shirt. I was like, holy shit.
He went down the stage and tried to convince me to go up. He was a ‘mime’ and he was just smiling stupidly (as was his role) while he beckoned me. My reaction was “Are you fucking kidding me? No.” I was so freaked out that that was the only thing I could say. He just thanked me and proceeded to the back of audience. One guy went up, but only after his friend and the crowd cheered him on.
Apparently, what happened was the mime put a jacket over the participant’s head, stabbed the board and urged everyone to pretend the man threw it. They did this three times and even did one where the mime stabbed the space between the participant’s legs. He got a prize and a huge cheer from the crowd.
I felt cheated. I’m an adventurous guy who rarely says no to a new experience. I would have said yes but I didn’t want to risk getting stabbed. If I knew the man was only going to pretend to throw the knife, I could have even leaned on the wall upside down. I could have done whatever the man wanted me to do.
I was appeased when I got a card from a lady magician’s trick. Out of nowhere, she managed to conjure thousands of cards from her hands which she threw around the stage and the audience. I swear, she threw over a thousand cards. It was that many.
The Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe (in general) is definitely a must-see. Since you’re watching on their turf, tickets are a lot cheaper than when they perform in other countries. The troupe that performs in the Shanghai Center Theater performs every night at 7.30PM. They change the routines and acrobats every night so the show is not the same two nights in a row.

Made in China: Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower

Shanghai is home to two of the biggest buildings in the world: the Jin Mao Tower and the Oriental Pearl Tower. The Jin Mao Tower is the 8th tallest building in the world and was the tallest in China until 2007 when the Shanghai World Financial Center was built next to it. On the other hand, the Oriental Pearl Tower is the 5th tallest tower in the world. Both are a sight to see.

The Oriental Pearl Tower is a TV tower that broadcasts TV and radio programs. It is also home to exhibition facilities, a shopping mall, a revolving restaurant (at 876 ft.), an arcade and amusement park complete with rollercoaster. There is also a hotel called Space Hotel. Today, the Oriental Pearl Tower is seen as the symbol of Shanghai.

The Tower has 15 observatory levels with the highest at 1,148 ft. We stayed at the next one because we ran out of yuan but it was just as breathtaking. The view was amazing.

The sightseeing floor is at 863 ft. The floor is clear which affords the spectator a clear view of the ground below. My brother and I discovered this by accident (it wasn’t advertised so I suggest you consciously look for this one) and it felt discomforting yet strangely exhilarating.

The Jin Mao Tower is just around the corner. You can’t miss it. It’s an 88-floor giant inspired by the ancient Chinese pagoda. Much of the construction is relied on the number eight, which signifies prosperity for the Chinese. The 88 floors (93 if the spire floors are counted) are divided into 16 segments, each of which is 1/8 shorter than the 16-storey base. The tower is built around an octagon-shaped core surrounded by eight exterior supercolumns and eight exterior steel columns. Three sets of eight two-story high trusses connect the columns to the core at six of the floors to provide additional support (Wikipedia).

Currently, the tower comprises of restaurants, nightclubs, a shopping mall and most interestingly, its primary tenant, the Shanghai Grand Hyatt Hotel. It occupies 34 floors and contains 555 rooms. The five-star hotel is one of the highest in the world, second to its sister hotel, the Shanghai Park Hyatt located next door at the Shanghai World Financial Center (biggest building in China, second in the world). However, the hotel holds the distinction to owning the world’s longest laundry chute, which stretches all the way down to the building’s basement.

One of its attractions is its elevators, which can take you to the 88th floor in 45 seconds or 9.1 m/s.

The view was even better.

Honestly, there was nothing much to see in Jin Mao Tower because it offered the same view in the Oriental Pearl Tower. There was nothing else to see. I did find this interesting, though. The highest ice cream shop in the world.

A view down. You can see all the way down to the lobby. Or the Grand Hyatt. Either way, it was scary.
Since both towers offer the same thing, it would be prudent to pick one over the other. I suggest you go for the Oriental Pearl Tower because it has a the sightseeing floor but the Jin Mao Tower is higher. If you prefer going to both, you get extra bragging rights.

Made in China: Madame Tussauds

A visit to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum should be on every person’s bucket list. Tussaud has made a name for herself (or at least the company) for making wax statues of famous people, all of them so lifelike that it’s as if you were meeting the actual person yourself. Some of them look so real that it borders on creepy.

Madame Tussaud opened her first museum in London in 1835 to feature her collection of death masks of guillotined French aristocrats. Her London branch even has a Chamber of Horrors section where it features murderers, criminals and victims of the French Revolution. Today it enjoys branches in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Blackpool, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New York, Washington DC and Wien. I read about other branches but I only included the branches mentioned on the official site to be sure.

The Shanghai branch opened in 2006 and is the sixth in the world. This branch is different in the sense that it has an Experience Area where you can see the actual construction of the models.

The Shanghai branch has more than 70 wax figures in seven themed rooms.

The lady herself, Madame Tussaud. Her first wax figure was created in 1777 and was the figure of Voltaire. Some of the figures she made herself still exist.

Tom Cruise. The room he was in simulated a celebrity-filled party. Some of the other figures were Bill Gates, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman (far away from Cruise, of course) and some Asian celebrities I didn’t recognize. Lady Gaga was there on stage as a performer but I really didn’t like her figure. But it was so lifelike that the makers even included the freckles on Gaga’s chest. There was a ‘VIP area’ for Madonna with mirrors and couches but her figure looked nothing like the Material Girl.

The next room was reserved for the great thinkers. There was a Chinese astronaut and some figures I didn’t recognize. Albert Einstein was there, too. Also, there were interactive trivia games you could try. I wasn’t able to play because there were so many people crowding around it.

The politics room housed the world’s greatest leaders. Unlike the previous room with actors where they were scattered around the room, this one had the leaders arranged in a circle. There were figures of Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama (where he stands next to a podium you can stand in and speak), Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton and one of the most handsome politicians ever, Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The music room was like the actors room where they’re just milling around. This room had Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and some Asian musicians. Of course I included the picture of Kylie Minogue, who I am going to see perform when she comes to the Philippines in July! I didn’t like the room that much because it looked plain compared to the other rooms. It was just white.

My brother with Bruce Lee as Billo Lo from Game of Death. This room was dedicated to famous fictional characters from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine to Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, Marilyn Monroe as The Girl from The Seven Year Itch, and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.

There was a section dedicated to the late Princess Diana and her son Prince Charles, who was recently married to Kate Middleton. I couldn’t get a decent picture of Charles because all the ladies were flocking to him and putting their arms around him. I was one of them.

The sports room had figures of Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, some local athletes and two of the best-looking football players ever, Davic Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. I actually have a picture of me almost smothering Beckham but I’m a little embarrassed to post it here.

One room was dedicated to local celebrities. I didn’t recognize most of them except Jet Li and F4. The room (which was larger compared to others) was sponsored by Pepsi.

There was a room dedicated to show how the wax figures are made. It was very interesting to see how they make the molds and the eyes and the other parts of the body. I found out that each statue takes over 800 hours to mold, measure, paint and sculpt. The process begins when the star is invited for a sitting where detailed measurements are taken. If the star is unable to come or has passed away, the team gathers over 250 photos and precise measurements to work with. Usually, the Tussauds group regularly gives out a poll for the public to decide which celebrity to be made next. Visitors to the Shanghai branch can even order wax models of themselves.

The experience was exciting because it was as if you were standing in front of the actual celebrities. Many of the figures were so lifelike that you would expect them to suddenly move and smile at you. In Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, you can’t really tell which of the people are real and which ones aren’t. In fact, I was surprised many times when a figure I thought was a wax statue would move and talk to the person next to them!

The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is located on the 10th floor of the New World Building on Nanjing Xi Lu. It’s the one with Samsung written across the top floor. I included the directions because none of the locals knew what we were talking about and it’s tricky to find.

Made in China: Shanghai Ocean Aquarium and Insect Kingdom

Before going to China, I had this sudden urge to go to Manila Ocean Park. I haven’t been there but I suddenly wanted to go after I remembered the exhibits in the Hong Kong branch. Shanghai doesn’t have a branch but they have the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium with the world’s longest underwater viewing tunnel at 155m. Part of my desire to go to Manila Ocean Park was to see the sharks and luckily, Shanghai has them!
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is home to standard aquatic creatures like stingrays, penguins, jellyfish, seals and ducks but it also had strange creatures as well. I made the mistake of not getting their names, so yeah. Fail.
The aquarium has a special section housing the unique species that live in the Huangpu River. I like how the Chinese love their culture, it’s inspiring.
The start of the travellator. The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has the longest underwater tunnel in the world. It houses sharks, turtles, and a large number of aquatic species. I was so spellbound that it inspired me to get a religion. Who else could make such beautiful creatures?

The sharks! We caught them during feeding time. Actually, we arrived when they were about to be fed so we rushed to the tanks, thinking we were the ones who were going to feed them. We didn’t even bother looking at the other displays because we were so eager to see the sharks. They were at the end of the tour and we were disappointed to see that we were only going to watch divers feed them. Horror struck us when we realized we couldn’t go back anymore. The end of the tour went straight to the gift shop, food court and the exit. We explained the situation to the manager and it was a good thing I took random pictures so he believed us. He let us back in and we got to enjoy the sharks again.

One of my favorite rooms in the aquarium was the one dedicated to saving sharks. They included facts and news and a timeline of how people are abusing them. The most horrifying tale is the one about shark finning, or the removal of a shark’s fin for the production of shark’s fin soup, a luxury item in the world of cuisine. According to the information given, the removal of the fin (finning) takes place at sea so fishermen don’t need to carry the entire fish. Most of the time, they would just slice the fin off and throw the shark back to the sea to bleed to death. The demand for shark’s fin has risen dramatically because of the middle class becoming richer and has resulted in the capture of 70 million sharks a year as of 2010. The worst thing is, the fin doesn’t even contribute to the flavor of the soup.

Our next stop was the Shanghai Natural Wild-Insect Kingdom, a short walk from Oriental Pearl Tower and the Ocean Aquarium. The place didn’t meet my expectations.

They did have a cute array of mammals, from the sugar glider to a species of monkey none of us could identify. The sugar glider is a marsupial found in Australia known for their preference of eating sweet sap from species of eucalyptus, acacia and gum trees. I found this out while I was making this entry and all the while I thought they were called sugar gliders because of their wide eyes and constant shaking.

They also had rabbits, hamsters, a goat, mice, and an owl. You can pet most of these.

Their collection of bugs was disappointing. They only had a few and most of them were in little cages in aquariums, making them hard to see and appreciate. The big ones weren’t interesting and I even found one struggling to get on its feet. It was sad. The Butterfly Garden in Sentosa, Singapore was far more interesting.

The turtles and reptiles were more fascinating and extensive. The lizard exhibits had the right amount of freak in it so it compensated for the lack of insects. The turtles were okay but there has got the something wrong with an insect museum with more turtles in it.

The best part of the museum was this man-made lake teeming with carps. For Y10 (P70) an hour, you can rent a net and bucket where you can try to catch the fish. You can keep the ones that you catch but it was really tough. These fish have been abused so they know when and where to hide. Most of them would swim to the bottom of the bridge where no human could access them. I guess that was why they allowed guests to keep the fish they caught – if you can catch them. My brother did manage to catch one but put it back because he had no idea where to put it. Besides, we had two other places to go.
There was a room where you could custom-make your own insect but it looked too kiddie so we skipped it.
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is a must-visit if you like underwater creatures or would want to marvel over the wonderful creations of God. You can skip the Natural Wild-Insect Kingdom.

Made in China: Food

My friend Nikko once told me that the food in Shanghai is delicious. Boy, was he right. The gastronomical delights were endless and there were so many cuisines that even those with discerning tastes would give up.

Generally, food in Shanghai is a mix of Chinese cuisines. Technically, there are 16 major styles but Shanghai is distinct because of its sweetness. Called benbang cai (local-type cuisine), it is sweeter, less spicy and oilier than its Chinese counterparts. In fact, when other Chinese dishes come to Shanghai, chefs need to adjust their flavor in order to attract customers.

The Shanghainese are less adventurous as their Cantonese cousins, who are known to eat “anything in the sky with wings but airplanes, anything in the sea except submarines, and anything with four legs but the table.” That means you wouldn’t find anything as exotic as the balut or fried grasshoppers. I was a little bit disappointed with the lack of exotic eats because I believed in the “when in Rome” saying but I was soon appeased by the edible delights of Shanghai.

Shanghai is home to the xiaolongbao, a dumpling with soup inside served in small bamboo baskets. I don’t have a picture of the actual dimsum because I instantly wolfed it down (It was that delicious) but luckily my mom wanted to take a picture of me and my brother with a poster advertising it. Don’t ask me why. The xialongbao kind of looks like the Japanese gyoza.

A larger version of the xiaolongbao. While the xiaolongbao looks more like siomai, this one looks more like siopao. We had this at a joint in Yuyuan Garden. It was incredibly delicious. I didn’t catch the name of the restaurant but they have an extensive collection of dumplings of every size and color. And they all looked scrumptious.

Generally, the rule of thumb is, the dirtier the joint looks, the better the food tastes. It’s the ones hidden in alleyways run by noisy women who shout orders and with cooks dressed in clothes stained with sauces and with greasy hair. These can be normally found in the alleyways in Nanjing Lu. Food is cheap and the number one rule is to always bring your own chopsticks. I’ve been told that it’s easy to get hepatitis here so we took extra precautions. But when you have a bite of the hongshau rou or braised beef, you know you’re in heaven. Be prepared to do a lot of pointing because a lot of the menus don’t have English translations.

Of course, we also tried the fancy restaurant scene. This is at Nan Xiang, one of the popular restaurants in Shanghai. It was more expensive than the alley cafeterias and there was just something about it that didn’t taste as good as the joints on the streets. This is where I tried the hongshau rou (pork braised in brown sauce), a local delicacy favored by Chairman Mao himself. It must be popular because when I asked for this in a cafeteria, the waitress nodded and laughed.

This particular tea seems to be like the Chinese version of Coke because I see this and posters of it everywhere. If you’re a tea lover like myself, I suggest you buy a can because it is filled with awesomeness. I’m not sure what kind of tea it is, though. Oh, I do. It’s awesome tea. I switched assam to awesome, get it? No? Right.

As for their coffee, Costa seems to reign supreme with multiple branches. I seem to see it everywhere until I realized that the branch I went to was practically empty, considering it was Nanjing Lu. There were more people in Starbucks and Coffee Bean. The hot chocolate was average.

A coffee shop along Nanjing Lu. How communist can the name get? I love it.

Yes, there is McDonald’s and Starbucks in China. I didn’t even bother trying the Starbucks (I very rarely go to the branches here, favoring the quiet atmosphere of Coffee Bean) but the McDonald’s taste exactly the same. They did have burgers there that we don’t have here such as the spicy chicken burger. I had the classic double cheeseburger and fries.

For all your one-stop needs, there is always C-Mart. It’s their local version of 7-11 complete with the colors, but there are also branches of 7-11 around. You can buy candy, drinks, snacks, noodles, even copies of Vogue and century eggs. Or what looks like century eggs.

They also have single-serve Bacardi Breezers! I’m not sure if they have it here in the Philippines, though. Do they? I don’t usually frequent convenience stores.

Made in China: Transportation

Shanghai’s main mode of transportation is the train. Before heading to China, I read a book on Shanghai and it said that it is so congested that even CEOs use a combination of bus, train, cab, and walking to get to certain destinations. Of course, I believed this because I was under the impression that China is overpopulated (Shanghai is the country’s most populous city) but I didn’t experience any traffic at all.
The Shanghai Metro has 11 lines that connects the city. As long as you know where you’re going, you can take the train to practically anywhere in Shanghai. Tickets are roughly Y3 (P21) and it’s kind of like the Philippines – it’s crowded, but not to the point where you’re squished against each other.
Tickets are bought on a machine that accepts both coins and bills. Isn’t it so high-tech? Thankfully, there is an English translation so we didn’t struggle that much. And yes, it’s touch-screen.
The tickets are cute. This is my favorite, for obvious reasons. I like communism.
A normal day at the train station. It’s not as crowded as the trains in the Philippines, considering that the Shanghai Metro is the fourth busiest metro line in the world.
Each doorway has this to guide commuters, which is really helpful especially to foreigners who have no idea what the next station is. The PA also had English translations so we never missed a stop or got lost. The only problem we experienced were the exits. There were so many that led to different places so it can be a little confusing for first-timers.
Inside the train. Like the ones in the Philippines, seats are offered to ladies, the disabled and the old.

They also have buses but we couldn’t figure out the route because they spoke in Chinese. There are also tourist buses that will take you to key places in the city. You can just hop on and alight wherever you want. However, you need to buy a ticket somewhere to avail of the service.

While walking in Nanjing Lu, I saw a Barbie bus. There was a six-floor Barbie museum in Shanghai that closed down a few weeks ago. Perhaps this will take me to a new one?

Cabs are everywhere, too. They’re not like the cabs here that charge a fixed fee; they all rigorously follow the meter system. Rates start at Y12 (P84) but most of the time, we pay the flat rate. That’s how slow it moves, so getting a cab isn’t a bad idea if you’re tired, lost, or carrying tons of shopping bags.