During my last video call with my parents, they pointed out that for all they know I'm not even in China. I hadn't taken pictures of any landmarks or had visited any important places.
Well not anymore! Today I went with Charlotte and her boyfriend Andrew to the Pearl Tower. Although it was not an enjoyable experience, I'm still glad I went...which are conflicting viewpoints, I know.
Anyway, I'm going to back up. I met Charlotte and Andrew outside the subway and we went to lunch first. We found an Element Fresh in this HUGE mall right in the shadow of the Tower. I had a tandori chicken wrap that was amazing. Then we headed over to the tower.
The tower is gigantic. It seems like it's larger than it should be, for some reason. At least to me. When I look at it, I imagine it's sort of like a diagram of a molecule that for some reason muted into a skyscraper. The closer you get to it, the more wrong it seems to me.
I don't have a picture of ME in front of the building to prove I was actually there, but here is a picture of Charlotte and Andrew.
So there are different prices depending on where you want to go in the tower. Charlotte sort of made the decision for all of us, since I couldn't make up my mind either way. We were going to spend the 150RMB (about $21) to get package A. That involves visiting the main view deck (the middle bubble) as well as the highest you can go (the tiny bubble at the very top of the picture above) and a ticket to the museum at the bottom of the tower.
They got in line in front of me and got their tickets. I was immediately behind them in line and when I asked for the same thing the woman behind the counter said "No! Too many people!" and refused to sell me the same ticket. She instead sold me a 100RMB ticket, which gets you to the main viewdeck and the museum. Needless to say, I was a little miffed.
As soon as we went into the building, we were split up and I didn't end up seeing them again. That really frustrated me. The main reason I haven't been doing a lot of touristy things is that I wanted to do them WITH someone. I personally believe it's not as much fun by yourself. Here I was out with new friends trying to have some fun and I ended up spending the rest of the day alone. It was no ones fault, but it still makes me angry.
The entire day seemed to involve waiting in lines. I hate lines. And I hate crowds. Chinese people have a different idea of proper line manners and personal space too. Which is fine if you are used to it, but after a month I'm still not. Having at least three complete strangers touching me and pushing me for the better part of two hours while entire families cut in front of me in line is NOT my idea of fun. There was also a small kid in FRONT of me who gaped at me with her wide open mouth and eyes making me feel like a freak and a small kid in BACK of me who delighted in bouncing his head off of my butt (no, I am not joking).
FINALLY I made it to the main observation deck, which did have a pretty cool 360 degree view. It's 263 meters up and the day was pretty clear, so I got some neat pictures. Although most of my pictures were taken pointed downwards, this rather awesome shot of two of the tallest buildings in Shanghai was taken looking straight out of the window.
After walking completely around the inside observation deck twice and once around the half way outside view deck (which was very windy), I decided to head back down. Which meant waiting in a line AGAIN.
Once I got back downstairs I was tempted to just walk out and go home. I'm glad I didn't. The museum ended up being my favorite part. At first is was a lot of exhibits with mannequins showing life in "old shanghai". There were some very cool displays. I'm going to put them up in a facebook album and connect the link later. One of my favorite things was a replica of an old shanghai alley that you could walk through.
The museum showed how much Shanghai has changed over the years, especially in monumental locations like Nanjing Road and the Bund. They also spent time explaining the opium wars and how that changed Shanghai too.
After I got out of the museum my feet and ankles were hurting really badly. It was about 4pm and I had been out of the apartment since 8am. I texted Charlotte to say I was sorry I was leaving, then headed back home. Quick stop at Carrefour then back to my apartment.
Now I said it wasn't enjoyable, which isn't altogether true. I liked the museum and the view. But the waiting in line, the being shoved around and the being separated from my friends severely marred the day. I'm still glad I went because now at least I can cross something off my list. Go to the Pearl Tower? Check!
Next....I dunno...maybe the Bund at night?
This is a picture I snapped on my way out of the Pearl tower. Just thought it looked cool...
Anyway, much love!
EDIT: The album is up on facebook. More pictures from today can be found HERE.