Trans Siberian Railroad: Shanghai
Oct 17-20, 2011
The flight from Chicago to Shanghai takes 14.5hrs. I had a middle seat in coach and no, international coach isn’t much roomier than domestic. Shanghai is 10 time zones from Chicago and there definitely is an adjustment period. Everyone is different but a rule of thumb is half a day for each hour of time zone difference. From experience I’ve found the key to the fastest possible adjustment is to force yourself to stay awake, take few or no naps, and go to bed at a reasonably normal hour for the local time zone. Easier said than done. Yeah, I was tired. But this was the beginning of a huuugge adventure, one that I had dreamed of doing for the previous 4 years. And I wasn’t going to let a little thing like jetlag spoil any part of my dream trip.
Shanghai is crowded, fairly westernized (big business), big and sprawling, and it doesn’t have too many ‘must sees’ (other than the beautiful Bund area.) Shanghai experienced rapid growth in the last 15yrs and today it boasts a beautiful skyline that rivals even that of Hong Kong. Like most of China very little english is spoken in Shanghai, although the signage is in both Mandarin and English. Wandering the streets gives you a feeling of a sort of “old newness”: You’ll smell the scents of street food while navigating skyscrapers and modern buildings. It’s an interesting juxtaposition – that of old Chinese style houses, markets, and food vendors… all in the shadow of one of the most modern skylines in the world.
I found early morning to be the best time for pictures. If you make it to the Bund before the sun comes up you will be rewarded with an amazing light show. The light can really be quite dramatic, and there is a lot of activity along the Bund which makes for pretty interesting subject material. I found one guy doing Tai Chi, and I framed some shots to make it look almost as though he was dancing around the sun.
Shanghai was just the first stop of what was to be an epic trip across China, Mongolia and Russia. Interested? Read on!