At Shanghai’s high-speed train station in the morning, I had the obligatory first croissant of the trip. (Plain, not the standard chocolate.) But it’s not because I was dying for a croissant. It was basically the only thing I could order. All of the major train stations I went to had food concessions on the upper floor. There were many fast-food type options. But I didn’t see any English anywhere. I went to a bakery, and the croissant was the only thing that I could be sure I knew what it was. So, I had the first croissant of the trip.
After my night out in Shanghai, having arrived almost 24 hours late, I was ready to begin my first full day in China. It was also time for my first day trip. I took the subway out to the western part of the city to Shanghai’s ultra-modern station for high-speed trains. Let me tell you, China’s main train stations are like airline terminals. And this one takes the cake, as it’s the largest train station in Asia. As with all high-speed trains I rode in China, the train cruised along at about 180 miles per hour. (This was the same speed as the Maglev train I took from the airport on Day 1.) At about 10 a.m., I arrived in Hangzhou (pronounced “hung-joe”) (formerly known as Hangchow).
Shanghai is known for its dumplings, especially its soup dumplings. Soup dumplings are filled with pork and a soupy liquid. If you’re not careful, the soup will burn your tongue and face when you bite into the dumpling. Everything I read told me that the best place for soup dumplings was Yang’s Fry-Dumpling. So that was the first place I headed to upon arriving in Shanghai. Using extremely limited Chinese and some pointing, I ordered 4 dumplings at the counter. I didn’t see any Diet Coke, just a cabinet with bottles of brightly colored beverages. Having limited linguistic tools at my disposal, I ordered “huang”. In other words, “Give me the yellow one.”
Ancient China Through Song Dynasty
Understanding the (quite long) history of China is helpful in appreciating its fascinating sights. Every week while I’m sending out the pictures of my trip to China, I’ll add a post on Chinese history. In a perfect world, I’d match up the history with the sights for that week. But I don’t think I could quite get that to work, so I’ll just go chronologically. Chinese civilization goes back about 10,000 years. I’ll cover the first [Read more…]