The women of Shanghai can’t stay away from me. To be fair, I haven’t given them much chance. Immediately after arriving at Pudong airport I went straight into the Ladies, accidentally of course, a disastrous start which I have been trying to make up for ever since.
I was just too late for the 7 minute, 268 mph maglev ride into the city centre. Instead I shared a 45 minute coach ride with half the population of Shanghai. The coach was so packed, the driver could barely reach the gear-stick. I was on the second step up, desperately trying not to push too strongly against the lady on the bottom step.
Somehow, amongst this melee, a cheery lady bus conductor wriggled through collecting 20 Yuan fares from everybody (1o Yuan is about one pound).
I wanted to get dropped off at People’s Square. Only knowing the Mandarin for people, renmin, I thought I might have a problem. There are 19 million of them living in Shanghai. Luckily enough, the lady conductor knew my renmin, and kindly indicated when I should get off.
Since then, I have been walking under the skyscrapers, enjoying the fresh air and quality food. A Taiwan beef noodle soup lunch cost me 30 Yuan. The tasty tender beef and rich oily broth compensated for a horrendous hash brown-less ‘British Breakfast’ in my hostel.
I have visited Nanjing Road, a busy and popular pedestrianised shopping street. My Japanese housemate had pre-warned me about being swindled along here. He’d been conned into paying for an expensive dinner for a girl he’d met on the street.
I just had 8 people wanting to sell me crappy looking watches. Later in the day, even more oddly, several women approached me offering to give me a message. I don’t know anybody in Shanghai though, so I turned down their offer.