Our luggage has gone and we caught the fast train. There are 4 main railway stations in Shanghai and a multitude of smaller stations. Our railway station is next a brand new airport and also newly built. Infact it looks like an airport. Unlike our railway stations in the UK, it is modern, spacious, clean, with lots of comfortable seating and plenty of toilets.
We are early, so whilst sitting there in that shiny new railway station, I have time to reflect. Firstly, I can’t help drawing comparisons between China and India – the 2 fastest developing economies in the world. Both countries have a population of over a billion. India is democratic; China is not!! China seems so modern and everything seems to work and run on time. I love India, but can’t help thinking as I sit here in this ultra modern railway station about the filthy run down stations in my second homeland, India. But at least india is democratic and free. Even if the infastructure leaves a lot to be desired and it is so over populalated. As my guide points out -China has no democracy and its people accept what the government decides and do not question it. If the government says only one child per couple then that is how it is. This policy would not work in India.
The train was ultra modern and fast – 300 km per hour.
Hangzhou is a nice city on the lake but I can’t quite understand why we are here. We spend a nice afternoon, having a boat ride and visiting atemple and a tea plantation. Actually, I fell asleep as we were sitting tasting the green tea at the tea plantation. Tomorrow we will fly to Beijing for the real highlights of the tour.
I really need to get a good night’s sleep tonight – haven’t slept since I arrived in China and I am pretty tired. At bedtime, my body just kicks back to UK time and I am wide awake.
Had an early start to beat the crowds. Our first stop was the Yu Gardens in “Old Shanghai”. Peace and quiet within the city. The conrasts here are amazing.
We have to put our luggage out tonight for the porters to take it to the slow train to Hangzhou, while we will take the fast train to Hangzhou in the morning. By the time I had checked all the luggage it was 11pm and I was wide awake – think my body has gone back to UK timing.
Couldn’t sleep and then the people in the room above me started to have a party and were screaming and shouting. I am very tired today.
Arrived in Shanghai this morning, gathered the group at the airport, checked into the hotel and headed straight out for lunch and sightseeing. The group and I are all tired but it is better to keep busy and awake until after dinner. So we hit the floor running.
Our first Chinese lunch. Most lunches are included and are set menus. We sit at tables for 10 or 8 peaople and several Chinese dishes are brought to the table. The food is basic and does not resemble the meals served in Chinese restaurants back home, which is mainly Cantonese.
Shanghai has really grown up over the last 20 years after the reforms of 1990 and for the World Expo of 2010. The city has a real buzz to it and the skyline is absolutely amazing, with skyscrapers with 90 floors. We had a cruise on the river and discovered the famous Bund.
I am embarking on a tour of China today. I have been to China twice and while it is fascinating, I never really feel comfortable there. I think it is the fact that they still have this undemocratic Communist Totalitarian Government over there, although I have to admitt, that things are changing and China has opened up thanks to the economic reforms of 1990. I just feel that I have been to China, but never seen the real China. Lets see what this visit will bring.