After our high-speed initiation to Shanghai, we enjoyed the remaining time of our home exchange at a slower and more cautious pace. After surviving F1 ticket scalping, the first order of business was the purchase of a prepaid SIM card for my phone, to enable us to navigate more confidently through this city of 24 million 😳.
In the morning, we set off walking from our home in the pretty “Forest Riviera” compound
to the gate at Gaojing Road. From there, we took our neighborhood bus
for the ride to East Xujing metro terminal. We never did find out how much we were supposed to pay the driver. Since our hosts have cars and Ayi rides her scooter, nobody really knew the cost for the bus trip. We observed other passengers as they tossed some coins on a tray next to the driver, which we shamelessly imitated.
Both the compound and the subway station are located near the eastern edge of Qingpu district, a large suburb of Shanghai, home to over a million people. EAST Xujing terminal is the endpoint of the Shanghai metro system to the WEST of central Shanghai. Go figure. Metro line 2 proved to be a great connection because it goes straight through the heart of the city toward the Huangpu river and beyond, to Pudong district on the right bank. Crossing the vast metropolis East to West, line 2 has interchanges with the North-South and circular lines.
Most of the metro stations in and near central Shanghai are unimaginably large. For example, our East Xujing terminal is situated beneath the enormous National Convention and Exhibition Center. Nine different exits lead to various sections of the expo center along divergent roads. If you don’t recall where you entered the subway, you may exit into an entirely different neighborhood upon your return! It also means that you have to add considerable stretches of walking time to your overall travel estimates. This was important for us because the Forest Riviera bus made only infrequent trips, especially in the evenings.
Googling* telecommunication outlets in Shanghai, we found one listed in Nanjing Road East which appeared to be easy to find. We took line 2 to the People’s Square stop and emerged onto People’s Square in short order.
The store turned out to be more difficult to locate than we expected, but while searching for it, we got to see large stretches of Nanjing road and some of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Along Nanjing road, we visited a wonderful antique store with amazing objects, and we accidentally stumbled across The Jewish Club I wish we could’ve seen the interior and learned a bit more about its history! But the guards had conniptions when we walked into the courtyard and ordered us to leave. The Spanish architect, Abelardo Lafuente, who designed the estate became quite fashionable in Shanghai of the 1920s and 30s.
An upscale residential street around the corner from busy Nanjing road. It resembles a traditional Shanghainese “longdang“, a lane with stone-gated residences, at least a little bit – a contemporary, affluent version, one might think.
Nearby, we witnessed some serious rehab along another residential street,
which didn’t quite extend into this street – yet.
Eventually, we reached the immense and western-style mall area around Wujiang and Taixing roads, just off Nanjing.
Despite all the burger places, we eschewed western cuisine in favor of, naturally, bao and such.
*We used a VPN on the computer to be more inconspicuous.
By the way, after purchasing a Chinese SIM card for my phone, I was informed that Google apps aren’t allowed in the PRC. Bummer, it’s my number one reason to buy local internet service to have access to maps with GPS function to guide us to our destinations, and home again, I might add. The sales lady very kindly uploaded the Chinese equivalent for me, which naturally is in Mandarin. We got lost a lot in Shanghai!