吾本来想打字写此篇博客，but then I thought it would be easier to write in English… I have spent the past two weeks in the metropolis of Shanghai in China. I expect there will be several parts to these posts, so I have taken the liberty of calling this post part 1!
I left Canada on 6 June on an Air Canada flight from Vancouver. These flights are now operated using Boeing 787-9 equipment, and the plane I flew to Shanghai had only been introduced to the fleet in May of this year! It was even painted in Air Canada’s new black livery. I also got to see a Cathay Pacific A350 which departed shortly before my flight. I hope that one day I will be able to fly on an A350, and an A380… I’ve been on Boeing 737s, 747s, 767s, 777s and 787s, and Airbus A320s, A330s, and A340s (excluding other aircraft manufacturers), and that still leaves a fair few aircraft types that I have yet to fly on. But I digress… (this first one is flying over the Rockies from Calgary en route to Vancouver!)
It was fantastic to get back on the ground in China. This time around I stayed in a chain of hotels called Motel 168, at a location quite near Tangqiao metro station (塘桥地铁站) on line 4. It was very convenient to get from there to the core of Pudong (浦东新区), called Lujiazui (陆家嘴). It took me a few days to adjust to the new timezone, but here are some photos of the food and of Lujiazui! (The third photo is of duck tongue (鸭舌))
Shanghai is a large, sprawling city with a metropolitan population of some 34 million people. Just imagine that, the entire population of Canada in a single city. But the upside to that is that public transit is fantastic. There are currently 14 metro lines criss-crossing the city, that number will increase in the future as they are building even more lines! Buses also go everywhere, though I suppose it could be a little tricky reading the stops if you can’t read characters, but announcements on buses are made in Mandarin, Shanghainese and English, so it should be possible to get by without too much trouble.
On this trip, I was lucky enough to be invited along to a friend of a friend’s wedding! That meant heading out to Sheshan (佘山), a station that is fairly far away from central Shanghai. They had hired out a ‘villa’ (别墅) there which was very luxurious and spacious. I was in charge of tying ribbons to balloons and attaching little paper hearts to the end of the strings so they were reachable after they had been filled with helium. We went all the way out to Songjiang (松江区) for food that evening, mainly because there was more choice as to what to eat there than in Sheshan.
The following day, the actual wedding took place. That involved lots of interesting things that Western weddings just do not have. For example, when the groom’s party arrived, the bride’s party all made it difficult for them to get in by blocking the door and demanding little red envelopes filled with cash (红包). There were several of these “challenges” before the groom could see the bride. Then there was a tea giving ceremony where the groom gave the bride’s parents each a cup of tea. This was later repeated with the groom’s parents. In the afternoon, we went in a convoy on the road to the place where the ceremony and banquet was to take place, near Songyuan Road (宋园路地铁站). Unfortunately, as this is Shanghai, the roads were jam-packed with traffic (堵车) and so it took us almost 90 minutes to reach the venue. Once there, they had a short ceremony and then all of the guests went into the banquet hall for the dinner. During the dinner, there were several speeches. The bride never seemed to sit down during the dinner, as she was constantly changing outfits and parading around on stage. I didn’t stay for the entire dinner though, because it went quite late, but it was an interesting experience!