Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Shanghai Day one and half

My what a lucky boy I am - 10 days in Shanghai with work and got to fly business class as well!

My day started by catching the 8am train to Paddington, hopping off and then straight on the Heathrow Express - House to Airport in less than three hours which can't be bad.

After being whisked through the posh lane in security, I had time to imagine myself as a spy when I spotted Melissa George in the queue (yep, as foxy in the flesh as on the TV!!) - were they filming another episode of Hunted at the airport?

The Virgin Clubhouse

Our A340-600 (or so the brochure says)

The Virgin lounge was very nice - managed a posh burger and a beer before being whisked into my upper class seat on the plane.  Was looking forward to my first experience of turning left rather than right, but alas no - we were given our own separate upper class entrance!

I have come to the conclusion that flying is rubbish no matter what class you go, its just that flying upper class makes it slightly less rubbish than economy.  The food was much better, the seat comfier and yes it did recline to a flat bed, but that's of little use if you can't manage to sleep on the plane anyway!

So, a bit bleary-eyed we arrived in Shanghai and were greeted with a very fast moving immigration queue (Heathrow take note!) and we were soon in our Limo to the hotel.  The scale of the city is staggering.  Where in the UK you would have 2 or 3 high-rises, here you have 10 or 20 all in the same development and more being built all the time.  The high-rises started 30kms out of the city centre and just kept getting taller and taller the closer to the centre we got.

The Howard Johnson Plaza in all its glory!
Our hotel - the Howard Johnson Plaza is pretty nice. A 15m swimming pool which was nice and cool (got raced by a cheeky 4 year old in armbands - he nearly beat me!) and I'll check out the gym tomorrow.  It is also 30secs walk from the equivalent of Oxford/Bond Street in London.  Every other shop for half a mile was selling Omega, Rolex or beautiful Chinese jewellery and antiques (£50k teapot anyone or £98k jade Buddha anyone?)

Of course just outside the real shops we were also offered the fake Omegas and Rolex as well - in plain view of the ubiquitous Police in their little electric golf buggies.  Looks like all you have to do is be able to run fast in China to outwit the police...

Traffic lights also seem to to be more of a suggestion that mopeds should stop rather than actually stop.  It doesn't help that half of them are electric as well, so you have to keep your eyes open at all times - quite difficult when you've been awake for nearly 24 hours..

We walked all the way to the river to get a view of the Bund and the financial centre across the river - including the Oriental Pearl Tower.  That is on the tourist list, especially as I want to try and spot the swimming pool from Skyfall...
The financial district (Pudong).  Pollution is awful.

Back to work in the morning after a 13 hour sleep to try and catch up on things.  I will post some more pics up as I get them.

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