Discover China: Shanghai (Concluding part)

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Shanghai is a dazzling city that is sophisticated, novel and modern. While it can’t match the epic history of Beijing or Xi’an’s grander sights, Shanghai is the hotspot of modern China. 


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You see skyscrapers lining the horizon and the hustle bustle of a modern lifestyle.  Shanghai is hailed as the "Shoppers Paradise" and "Oriental Paris". Lined with exclusive shopping malls and rows and rows of shops, each catering to an exclusive branded clothing,  it is a heaven for those looking for high-end goods and the big brands.  Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Lacoste, Nike, Adidas, Polo, Hang Ten, Violet Sasoon,   you name any branded-stuff,  you will be sure to find it here.   It is said to be one of the 5th most expensive cities in the world.


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Jin Mao Tower as seen from the waterfront ?The Bund


Jin Mao Tower, is the third tallest building of the world and the tallest building in China. It was completed in 1999,  is 88-stories (420.5 meters) and architect, Adrian D. Smith ingeniously combined the elements of traditional Chinese culture with the latest architectural styles and made it one of the best-constructed building in China.


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The Grand Hyatt Shanghai, is located on the 53rd to 87th floors and the 88th floor-the highest floor, is the observation deck, which can hold 1000 people at any one time. The view from the 88th floor is absolutely breathtaking;  I have taken a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.


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The tower has the best elevators available and two direct elevators operate at the speed of 9.1 meters (nearly 30 feet) per second that can send visitors from the ground floor to the 88th floor within only 45 seconds. There are also five to six elevators every 10 floors, which reduce waiting-time to 35 seconds even during rush hours.


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The Shanghai TV Tower ?Oriental Pearl Bldg


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Views from the 88th Floor


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People’s Square


MaglevTrain


Shanghai Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) Train is the first commercial high-speed maglev line in the world.  It maiden voyage commenced on 1st January, 2003. 


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The train can attain a maximum speed of 431 km/h, covering total distance of 30 Kms in 7 minutes 20 seconds, from Longyang station to Pudong International Airport.


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There are two trains in operation in Shanghai, however during August 2006, one of the trains caught fire and is under maintenance, as a result only one train is operational now.


Visit to Pearl & Jade Factory


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We visited a pearl farm and factory where fresh water pearls were cultivated.  We were shown a single oyster which had 32 pearls. There was a mad rush at the counter selling edible pearl powder which assured good health {;)},  pearl cream, ointments and cosmetics which promised fair complexion, riddance of tans, blemishes and acne.


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Famed Suzhou Silk Embroidery


Suzhou silk embroidery is so detailed and intricate and looks like a beautiful painting. Only on close inspection you will notice that it is embroidery and the numerous stitches and coloured silk threads used. 


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Cloisonne Enamel  & Enamel Painting


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Chinese Cloisonne enamel is the decorative art of applying enamel of all colours to the surface of a copper or bronze object, which is then fired to become a bright and colourful work of art. 


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An exquisite piece of cloisonn? must have colours that are moist and glossy, fresh and bright, a wire inlay that is neat and well proportioned and gold plating that glitters.


Souvenirs


A treasure trove of souvenirs, you want to buy them all, albeit only if you have a magic bowl giving unending supply of dough ;).


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General Information:


Visa: Easily obtained from Chinese Embassy @ Dhs.100/-
Hotels: Holiday Inn, Shanghai & Presidential Plaza, Beijing(Good location, price & service)


Transport: Taxi service excellent- avoid red cabs as they are privately owned-charge higher than metered rates.


Currency: RMB ? Yuan (1 RMB= Dh.0.500;  1 $= 8 RMB)


Shopping & Bargaining: Nanjing Road- Shanghai;  Wangfujing, Silk Market, Bainau,  Electronic Market-Beijing. Be ready to get ripped when shopping.  You can bargain upto 60-70 % of price quoted.


Fakes: You name anything, the Chinese can fake it, from branded clothing to shoes, bags, pens and electronics.  The ingenuity of the Chinese is not restricted to these items only but has also wandered to their currency.  Don’t be surprised if when exchanging your currency, you are left with worthless paper, which cannot be distinguished from the genuine currency. Unfortunately, many in our group fell victim.


Language: Few people speak English ? sign language & gestures help, not always though. (American wanted to get to Airport, taxi-driver unable to understand. Wise American put his arms out and made signs..landed at a chicken farm instead of airport)


Climate: Warm during August
National flower: Peony
National Animal: Giant Panda
National Bird: Red crowned Crane


Discover China Concluded!

Author: Judith Serrao- UAE


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