Day 19 – Train to Shanghai/Shanghai

Eccentric / Day 19 of 64 / 28 May

We were woken up by the train attendant as we neared our destination. Even at 7am in the morning, the whole train was up and about. Passengers were trying to wash up as they queued outside the narrow corridor waiting for their turn in the single receptacle bathrooms. The blueberry lady who was persistently trying to sell her blueberries to all the passengers on board had suddenly dropped an unbelievable bargain of “buy one get two free”. Miraculously, through her cunning salesmanship or pity from the passengers, she managed to clear her stock and she thanked everyone aboard the cabin before we departed.

We arrived at Shanghai South Railway Station [上海南站, Shang Hai Nan Zhan] at 8am. We decided to place our bags down at our accommodation (Airbnb, 25 SGD/night) before heading out to explore the city for food and sights. Through a series of trains, we arrived at our place by 9:30am. Though once we arrived we had to wait till 12pm before we could check-in. We decided to drop our belongings off and search for some laundromat services in the meantime.

The elevators feel scary.

Sadly after almost an hour and a half of searching, we realised that Google Maps is not that reliable in China. Many of the shops had relocated or closed and some buildings were missing entirely. With that said, navigation seems to work fine as train and bus directions are still accurate. The locals relied on their own Chinese map app, Baidu Maps.

After searching to no avail, we gave up and went in search of brunch instead. We settled on a noodle house that seemed pretty popular with the locals (and by that I mean there were actual customers inside at this timing). The chef was a half-naked man working the wok and there were two other assistants prepping ingredients. It felt like absolute chaos in the kitchen as the sweaty chef with an unlit cigarette in his mouth got pissed because the cigarette had gotten drenched in his sweat, all the while orders were being shouted back and forth. I’m pretty sure we got some extra ingredients in our meal but it just made it all the more delicious. I then ordered some sort of noodles and gestured towards several dishes laid out in a fashion similar to a ‘cai fan’ store back home. Overall they cost 25 RMB/5 SGD for each bowl. The noodles turned our pretty good with a peanut sauce mixed in, perfectly accompanied by the meats I so carefully selected. 7/10, would recommend.

Hot and steamy meals yum.

We then headed back, and luckily enough, the owner was willing to let us use the washer as long as we bought our own detergent powder. After checking in, we washed up and left the home for our first sightseeing destination — the Propaganda Poster Museum.

It was a ten-minute train ride followed by a 30-minute walk to the museum. The museum itself, however, was simply a loaned out space under a housing estate; despite being the 5th best museum in Shanghai according to Tripadvisor. The space was filled with posters from the Maoist period of communist China and its evolution through the years. Entrance cost 25 RMB/5 SGD. It was not the most engaging of exhibitions as it was relatively small and you would find yourself pretty lost without a guide as there was a lack of context to the posters on display. But with that said, Ryan enjoyed the history behind the posters while I appreciated the artists of the past. We would recommend this place if you are into culture and history. If you’re not so inclined, then this would be the kind of exhibition you can visit when you run out of things to do during your stay in Shanghai.

We aren’t stalking her home, it’s the entrance of the museum.

Next, we headed towards the Nanjing Road [南京路, Nan Jing Lu] shopping district. As much as the street was pretty, it was equally as commercial, a stroll down it felt like a stroll down Orchard Road.

From the street, we walked further down and arrived at The Bund [外滩, Wai Tan]. The entire stretch was filled with people as far as the eye could see. According to Google Maps, The Bund is almost a mile long and yet we could barely find a gap between people to look at the buildings. The haze gave the skyline an almost eerie look, as if it was straight out of a dystopian sci-fi film.

All those white specs along The Bund are people. And it’s a Monday.

With that, we grabbed dinner at one of the malls and headed back for an early night.

– Sam

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