Immigration and excursion management went better today but we still left about an hour late. No matter as we got everything in.
Today was largely a ride around bus tour with a couple of stops. The city is an interesting contrast to Beijing and other Chinese cities in that many of the downtown buildings are designed by architects who wanted to show off instead of just being functional or traditional. But, more about that later, for now…
Getting to the city we passed through many apartment complexes and they have a twist on drying laundry in Shanghai. In many other places in the world you will see laundry hanging out of a window or off a balcony rail; here they actually have rods sticking out from the building where laundry is dried. Never seen anything quite like it anywhere else while traveling this year.
We got to downtown and our first stop was at the maglev train station. Shanghai has one of the only maglev (magnetic levitation) trains in the world. Many of us wanted to experience this levitation transport system and our tour allowed that. After going through security we boarded the train which runs between downtown Shanghai and the airport. We held tickets for a round trip. The train accelerated smoothly to a top speed of 300 kilometers/hour (186 mph) which it held for the majority of the seven minute ride to the airport. I took a video of the entire seven minute trip from one side of the train and then switched seats to the other side and did another video going the seven minutes back. It was a relatively smooth ride and the magnetic stripe on my cruise card still works to open my cabin door. 🙂
This will probably be the only maglev train China builds as they have found that building a regular high-speed train using tracks is less expensive and that train can go faster still. Jerry Brown and those who want a maglev between LA and Los Vegas should come here and do a little tour to see how their follies hold up to reality.
Our last stop was at the Jin Mao Tower, a tall building sitting across the street from the Shanghai World Financial Center, the
second third highest building in the world. Our tour took us up the 88 stories to the observation deck of the tower where we had a reasonable look at the river and city due to it being a fairly clear day. The outside views of the river and city were quite striking but we could not get a really good look at the Financial Center due to the fact it was so close. It was interesting looking down on the TV tower that has what looks like bubbles floating up the mast. You don’t usually see that view. We were supposed to do a photo stop at the tower but an exhibition in town made that impossible with the traffic.
Perhaps the most interesting view from the tower however was the look down the center of the building from the observation deck. The floors spiraled down all the way to the bottom. Rather unique view.
We then had a ride through more of the city on the way back to the ship.
Before we left, a local dance company came on board and did a show of dancing and acrobatics. It was quite beautiful and somewhat different from most Chinese acrobatic shows you see in that the acrobatics were built into the dances.
An interesting day.