22.06.2005 - 28.06.2005 36 °C
We finished up our time in Xi'an by going to the panda conservation park. it is run by WWF so we thought it was better than going to a horrible zoo. Saw a couple of pandas, mostly just sitting there eating bamboo and sleeping alot. We werent allowed to see the ones in the new enclosure as they were sleeping and not to be disturbed! there were a few other endangered animals there but it was a very quiet place with not many tourists so it was very empty. it rained most days we were in xian and the weather was much cooler than shanghai.
we took the overnight train to shanghai, 16hours long and it was the greatest thing to be able to get off that train. we decided to go hard sleeper this time which was nearly half the price of the soft sleeper. the top bunk which i was in was like sleeping in the luggage rack, i was so close to the roof i couldnt sit up properly. the middle wasnt much better where daniel was. 2 bunks of 3 high in each section and there were about 15 sections, so over 60 people in the carriage- all chinese speaking so loud. i was the object of a lot of staring and pointing so just hid under the doona with my ipod on as the constant chinese music was getting too much. All night long you could hear men spitting, it was really gross.
Arriving at our hostel was great, the hot trip from the station left us running for the shower. we are staying in a really nice hostel, almost hotel quality.
Spent a day sightseeing - went to the shanghai museum, the propoganda poster art museum which was really cool, east nanjing rd which is a pedestrianized shopping strip and took a walk down The Bund, shanghai's most famous mile. it is basically just a promenade along the egde of the river and its best to go there at night when the city is lit up. The contrast from the old heritage sandstone buildings to the metallic, strange sky scrapers is huge.
we went to the Jinmao tower, the tallest building in shanghai and went under the river using the "Tourist Sightseeing Tunnel". Quite hard to describe but it is a tunnel filled with neon lights of every colour, flashing strobes whilst you sit in a little carriage and get to the other end. Nothing touristy at all about it, it was the most bizzare thing, but very asian-they love their lights.
we have met up with some friends that we met in xi'an and have been hanging out with them which is nice.
Back to Beijing next and we managed to find some cheap flights so dont have to relive the train experience!