The first day of the year was an educational one. I slept in as I was up until four in the morning, and thus only got to People’s Park sometime around noon and entered the Urban Planning Museum. Not only does it sport some incredible artworks depicting Shanghai, but also contains a massive model of Shanghai. If you linger around the model for some while they change the lighting every few minutes – one setting is lights off and only the buildings glow for themselves.
Just around the corner you can find the gigantic Shanghai Museum, with ceramics, clothes, calligraphy, paintings and whatnot. It’s similar to many other city museums, but on a greater and better scale.
Some days are better than others, but this days definitely wasn’t one of those. I spent most of the day sorting out my tickets and hostels for the rest of my trip. The railway station ticket office didn’t want to sell me any tickets for more than 3 days in advance, and the hostel charged 40 rmb commission per ticket! Suckers. The wifi at the hostel was the worst I encountered my whole trip as well, so getting my hostel reservations was a game of patience as well.
In the evening I set off with some friends, which I’d previously met in Beijing, to the Bund. Getting there was an experience in itself, as there were masses of people trying to get there and police or military standing all over the place blocking off streets or directing us elsewhere.
The firework itself was quite nice, nothing too special though in my opinion. Furthermore, Chinese people are super unenthusiastic about it. They came only to look at the fireworks and as soon as it was done quietly shuffled back to the metro stations. No screaming “Happy New Year!”, no sparklers, no hugging, no drinking, no dancing.
Shanghai was a welcome leap up in temperature from Harbin – over 30ºC higher! At first I felt like arriving in the tropics. I spent the day walking down the Bund, gazing at the wonderful buildings. I especially adored the old HSBC building, but sadly they had built a stage for new years in front of it and thus I don’t have any good photos.
From the Bund I walked down Nanjing Road, a pedestrian shopping street, until I arrived at People’s Park, which is a small but filled to the brim with stuff park in the middle of the city. Around it you can find most of the recommended museums in Shanghai.
In the evening I met up with Ulrike at the 100th Century Avenue bar – a bar at the top of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, or how I like to call it, the Bottle-Opener.
Afterwards we had some delicious Korean BBQ at a restaurant not far from there with a nice view of the Bund.