Today we started our first day of Shanghai exploration with a visit to the Shanghai Museum, home to an excellent collection of bronzes, calligraphy, and traditional clothes from different regions of China.Â Immediately on the bus ride over, we were impressed with the stunning Shanghai architecture.Â The museum itself is shaped like a ding, an ancient bronze vessel used for wine, complete with designs that cover the building matching patterns etched onto this famous bronze object.Â After an introduction to the museum, we all had time to explore the floors ourselves and shop in the very nice gift shop (presents to family and friends forthcoming).
We then walked to the nearby Shanghai Urban Planning Museum.Â We learned about the history of Shanghai and its foreign concessions, which provided some historical background to the architecture that graces the skyline of Puxi, the western side of the river.Â This museum also had excellent information about the Shanghai World Expo, including a video with images of many countries’ exhibition halls.Â Our favorites included Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and of course the centerpiece, China.Â We have all fallen in love with Haibao (meaning ocean treasure), the expo mascot, even if he does look like a cross between a blue Gumby and toothpaste!
After a swank lunch at a trendy restaurant nearby, we boarded our bus and took the tunnel under the river to head to Pudong to visit the Pearl Tower, an iconic symbol of modern Shanghai.Â When we ascended the elevator, we couldn’t believe the incredible clear views of the whole city.Â As if that wasn’t enough, we walked down one floor to another observation deck that has a glass floor.Â Although some of us were momentarily terrified, everyone was brave and we now have some amazing pictures from our visit that make us look like we are floating above the city.Â We also got to view the skyline from inside the Pudong Hyatt.Â It is amazing to think that 15 years ago, none of these buildings even existed.
The third afternoon activity consisted of shopping at a huge mall in Pudong, and the girls couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.Â They were surprised to discover many of the brands that they like at home are in China (Uniqlo, Zara, H&M, Sephora, etc.) and had a fun time shopping in Chinese brand stores as well.Â The China Prep staff continues to be impressed with their zeal for shopping and stamina for souvenir hunting.Â We then ate dinner in a fancy restaurant in the mall, and then hopped on the bus to cross back over to Puxi.Â In order to view the Pudong skyline, we went to the top of a Puxi building that has magnificent views of the Bund and all of the newer buildings across the river.
After a full day, we were ready to return to the hotel for rest in order to prepare for the next day’s activities, and of course, more shopping.