The Bund and Pudong
The Bund is Shanghai’s famous riverfront row of historic buildings built by foreign powers to house their financial and trading institutions. It is the symbol of old Shanghai. Shanghai was actually a minor port until the foreigners moved in as a result of rights gained after the First Opium War. The foreign powers moved in, made Shanghai their own, and made it grow quite quickly. You may recall the spectacular nighttime view of the Bund from high atop the Shanghai World Financial Center.
Before I was done on the Bund, a teenage girl asked me to take her picture, which I did. Then she offered to take my picture, which I rejected. Then a woman came over–I was guessing it was the girl’s mother–and they started getting very friendly. I wondered why the girl needed me to take her picture if her mother was 15 feet away. Yup, it was scam time again. I quickly moved on. It was time to cross over from the Bund to Pudong. And what better way to cross over (well, under, actually) than the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Shanghai’s tackiest tourist trap! The Sightseeing Tunnel is a ride under the Huangpu River with the cheesiest of light shows and voices spouting out nearly random phrases in Chinese and English as you cross. How could I resist!
The funny thing is that as the “Sightseeing Tunnel” is subterranean, there are no actual sights to see.
Once I ascended from the netherworld that is the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, it was time to do some daytime exploration of Pudong, having explored it by night soon after my delayed arrival in China.
At this spot I began to get ruthlessly harassed by merchants who were desperate to get me to go shopping at their subterranean market. I coldly turned down their come-ons.
I collected my things at the hotel, took the subway back to the Maglev, and took the 2-hour flight to Beijing. I had been annoyed by the humidity in Shanghai, but I figured once I got into the bitter cold in Beijing, I’d be missing the humid warmth of Shanghai. Turned out not to be true. Oh, it was bone-chillingly frigid in Beijing. But it was a dry cold! I didn’t miss the humidity at all. Must be the hearty New Englander in me.
I was so pleased that everything worked as I had planned once I arrived in Beijing, even with my flight being delayed over an hour. I took the appropriate shuttle bus from the airport to the direction of my hotel. (As in Shanghai, the Beijing subway shuts down ridiculously early. I ended up, taking the shuttle bus was easier anyway.) I was completely shocked that announcements on the bus were in both Chinese and English. I had been concerned about how I would know when we had arrived at my stop. This wasn’t a fluke. All buses I rode in Beijing had announcements and route maps in Chinese and English. Heaven! When I got off the bus at my stop, just as I had hoped (but hadn’t confirmed), my hotel was virtually across the street. And there was a handy pedestrian bridge to get me there. What a great start to the second part of my trip!
[Factual information is primarily gathered from Wikipedia, so you know it must be true.]