I highly recommend all who travel internationally to follow the guidelines for airport arrival. Make sure to arrive at the airport three hours ahead for an international flight and two hours for a domestic. I would even stretch that domestic arrival to two and a half hours ahead if traveling between big cities or countries that have a limited English speaking population. It’s always good to pad the time especially if unpredictable traffic can be an issue.
Upon arriving at the airport in Chengdu at 4am. I was greeted with automated check in machines that had no English language option. So after waiting in the baggage drop off line for fifteen minutes, I managed to get the attention of a China Eastern employee who graciously took my passport, coaxed a boarding pass out of one of the machines, and handed the two back to me. You never know when some sort of mishap is going to come up or whether there will be a long wait on the lines for security check. Isn’t it better to have a stress free time at the airport?
The main reason people hate the airport is mostly self inflicted. They are usually in a race against time. If you arrive early, you not only can relax your way through the banal process of negotiating your way onto your flight, but you can actually enjoy a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, beforehand. This way you are not captive to the swill they are serving up on the planes. Download some movies from Netflix onto your mobile phone so you can entertain yourself during your preflight snack and subsequent journey. Don’t become a recruit for a last minute hungry dash through the airport. There are plenty of other things to get pissed off about while traveling without volunteering for a situation that is completely avoidable.
That said, as I regain consciousness in Shanghai after a long nap, I find myself wondering what the hell I’m going to do while I am here for the next three days. I guess I’ll do the hop on/ hop off tour bus tomorrow, but I can’t say as I am all that enthused as of yet. At least I have a decent, inexpensive, private room for the duration, but the staff are nowhere near as helpful as Bejing and Chengdu. The also don’t have a travel desk or organized tours.
I’m still off the grid here since there is no Google, YouTube, Netflix, or FaceBook in China. I’m suffering from some serious social, information, and entertainment withdrawals now that there are no Great Walls, Giant Buddhas, or pandas to distract me.
I’m hanging on by a thread with my buddy’s Patreon channel, that and a few downloaded movies on my iPhone. I’ve seen them so many times, I can pretty much run the lines from them.
ROCK & WOOD INTERNATIONAL YOUTH HOSTEL – A nice, inexpensive, quiet oasis in Shanghai. Not very helpful at the front desk like my other Chinese hostels. The breakfasts are okay, but I would go elsewhere for other meals. They make a good coffee, however.
RESTAURANT AND BAR
XIANJIA DENTAL CHAIN – Not everything is glamorous in the life of a Travel Zealot. Dental cleanings must be taken care of regardless. Tartar and tooth decay are spared to no man. I think I’ve been to dentists in twelve countries now for one purpose or another. Good gad the receptionist was gorgeous, and the highly professional cleaning only ran me thirty dollars.
CLOUD NINE MALL – Signifying the nine floors of capitalism and decadence to be found within.
This Mega Mall has nine floors with about 100 stores per floor, and I’m not even in the heart of Shanghai. This place was one of the most obscene displays of capitalistic, Western retail therapy I have encountered in my entire life. So much for Communism, Consumerism has taken over here. I did manage to have a seriously delicious duck dinner after I’d finished wandering around.
The only Westerners I saw were in advertisements on the posters. The sixth and seventh floors have some good restaurants so I would recommend paying them a visit. The mall is across the street from the Zhongshan Park metro station which is only about twelve minutes walk from the hostel. It will certainly clear up any misconceptions you may have about China.
PEPPA PIG – Peppa, the pig that has had many young children squealing with delight the world over, has captured the imaginations of teenagers and young women here in China.
I have seen loads of women sporting the “Power of Peppa” tee shirts in three cities across the country.
Here you see a TOYS R US store open and doing a brisk business! How can this be? They’re all closing in the the States. You’ll find the answer below.
Don’t let that Stormtrooper outside fool you.
As you can see the can see the Star Wars merch is incredibly meager which would probably explain why the store is still in business. They didn’t bet the farm on a dying franchise by stockpiling its product. The remnants have been shunted off into the farthest corner of the store where no man has gone before. Even poor Chewie has been put on sale, so foul a taste have the recent films left in the mouths of the Chinese. They will usually consume anything with Disney’s name stamped on it! Anything but Star Wars, that is.
There are six Rose Ticos languishing on the wall. I guess there wasn’t much of a market for butt-ugly, racial stereotypes here in China. Yeah, I said it. The streets of China are filled with beautiful women so why would they want to collect some space-ship crashing mutt who plays into the idea that Asian women can’t drive.
There were absolutely no Solo/A Star Wars Story products whatsoever. Clearly they are getting out while the getting’s good, and not waiting for the impending calamity of Episode IX. The Chinese are intelligent, and can see the writing on the wall. There’s an old Confucian saying, “Nobody wants the clothing off of a rotting corpse.”
Actually I made that up, but I think it’s apropos in lieu of what Disney has done to Star Wars.
HOP ON / HOP OFF BUS TOUR
CRUISING PAST PEOPLE’S SQUARE – As you can see, we have yet another spotless thoroughfare.
SHANGHAI’S IMPRESSIVE SKYLINE – AS SEEN FROM THE BUND
ORIENTAL PEARL TV TOWER – SHANGHAI’S SIGNATURE SKYSCRAPER
SHANGHAI TOWER – THE TALLEST IN THE SKYLINE
THE BUND B – FEATURING GRAND COLONIAL STYLE BUILDINGS
A GROUPING OF CONTRASTING STYLES
Again, where is the litter?
ANOTHER ANGLE OF THE ORIENTAL PEARL TV TOWER
XIN TIAN DI – This neighborhood is comprised of old style houses converted into modern restaurants and high end retail space.
Healthy restaurants are a thing in this neighborhood although I did have a steak.
SILKS FOR THE LADIES
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A GARBAGE DISPOSAL MARKETED IN THIS FASHION?
BAS RELIEF DETAIL