Life in the Fast Lane


August Travel Diary: Shanghai

By 11:06 AM , , , ,

Hello, dear reader! I'm alive, and finally, I can blog again.

August has been a busy, crazy month — like one season of The Amazing Race condensed into several days.

For one thing, I was told on the same day that I would be flying to two different countries for two different projects, each for a week at a time.

The first country would be China. And since I had never been to China prior to this trip, I would have to rush my visa application.

That was, needless to say, stressful. I had to collect all the necessary paperwork (which included a bank statement, certification of employment, my ITR) plus visa pictures within two days. Plus follow up with our Shanghai and Mumbai offices for the invitation letter to prove that I would be going there for work. That left just two days to process my visa before the August 9th holiday (which was when I needed to fly out). I was anxious because I heard that they don't just automatically approve all visas; the embassy has gotten stricter and stricter, especially for first-timers like myself.

By God's grace — and yes, I do believe that it was His grace alone that did it for me — my visa took only one day to process! I was more than ready to fly out for my first project.

Here are some snaps from my week-long stay in Shanghai; nothing work-related, because you don't need to (and can't, for confidentiality purposes — teehee!) see those.

My first impression of Shanghai after leaving the airport: HUGE. And this was confirmed when we would drive on multi-level highways. I noticed that this minimized traffic because there were so many roads to pass. 

I arrived late in the afternoon (it was a long drive from the airport to my hotel), and it was too hot to walk around for dinner. At around 7pm, the temperature was still 38ºC, I kid you not. So I decided to go for room service. The hotel's dumplings weren't bad at all. They were of the melt-in-your-mouth sort, and I was a happy camper.

Shanghai's roads are mostly tree-lined, which I liked a lot. Manila's streets (at least not all) don't look like this anymore.

Another thing that I liked (which we in Manila don't have): huge sidewalks! Lots of joggers, bikes, and motorcycles would pass here, which also helped minimize traffic on the road.

Of course there were a lot of bikers. I got to practice my panning technique on some of them (whether or not they liked it).

Huge roads. And this wasn't even a major intersection — just a side street!

The Shanghainese seem to be dog people. I saw several smaller dogs with shoes. Then there was this Sheltie. Of course I went over to play with him. Couldn't resist!

There were lots of parks, and people would just congregate there to sit and chitchat, or exercise. I wish we had more of these in Manila as well.

China's elderly seemed to have found the elixir of life: exercise. Along with the wushu and taichi crowd, some of them looked to be in their 80's, but they were still doing pliés on handrails like they were in their teens.

At night, I would see stalls selling random stuff scattered around the different side streets. Scenes like these reminded me of Bangkok's night markets.

Xiao Long Bao. Asia's equivalent of the "best thing since sliced bread". MORE, MORE, MORE.

Shanghai architecture still has touches of its European colonial days. So pretty.

I had to make sure I wasn't in Paris.

A lot of people head over to The Bund for pictures. So touristy, but so worth it.

Because I just had to.

Here's where people take pictures. You'll find lots of locals and foreigners hanging around after office hours.

More Shanghainese Euro-inspired architecture.

And again. In that hour I spent walking along The Bund and looking back to see this street, I had a hard time believing I was in China and not Europe.

The famous Nanjing Road: lots of shops, bars, restaurants. Its other Asian counterparts would probably be Orchard Road in Singapore and Nathan Road in Hong Kong.

Okay, one work-related photo. Here's from our last dinner as a team before we (at least the ones not based in Shanghai) flew back to our respective countries.

I wish I could've seen more of Shanghai, but since we had a lot of work to do (also, it was really too hot to walk as they happened to be experiencing a heat wave the week I was there), there weren't that many opportunities to go around. I hope to go back when the weather's cooler — and maybe for leisure this time.

Stay tuned for the next post: my next week in Singapore!

P.S. All photos are © me, using my point-and-shoot camera. Unfortunately, I was too frazzled to think about bringing my DSLR, which I normally bring when I travel, so I had to make do with what I had. If you're interested to use or link to any of these photos, kindly inform me. Thank you!

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  1. wow, these are great photos. and to think digicam lang ito. :) i love the streets of shanghai. there's always a lane for bicycles noh? i loved that shot you did of the lady riding her bike.

  2. Hey, Rose! Yeah, their sidewalks are huge (and utilized properly, haha!).

    And thanks, I'm fond of doing panning shots. There was a time that was all I did: practice panning shots. LOL! :D

  3. I love your photos! Shanghai looks so beautiful. Kung ganun din sa Manila, I wouldn't mind walking and commuting!

  4. Exactly, May! Hayyyyyyy... I wish our beloved city were more commute- and walk-friendly. :(


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