I think I owe myself a pat on the back. For the first time in the week, I have not been lazy. Though I woke up late at around 10:30, I had made up my mind that I shall not let myself sit in the room whole day. I had browsed over the "Insight Guides" (published by the Discovery Channel) and had finalized to go to Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Urban Planning Centre in the People's Square area. I had also decided that I will take the public transport and do the entire journey on the Metro. That meant two challenges. One - figure out the nearest Metro station and how to get there. Make sure you will handle all the unforeseen circumstances that come while using the Metro.
Well, as if life was conspiring in my favour, my eyes suddenly saw a Metro station named Shanxi Nan Lu (South Shanxi Road) on the map and I realized that I live on the same road. So this station must be at a walking distance. Challenge one solved. Then I looked at the metro map of the city and figured out that I need to take line 1 and after crossing HuangPi Nan Lu (Nan= South. Lu = Road), I shall need to get down at the second station - People's Square. After that maybe I will take a taxi to get to the Museum.
So here I begin for my first day out in Shanghai and i think the day had some major highlights which need to be put under different posts. This one shall describe my Metro journey.
I asked the front desk at my apartment about the nearest Metro station but the lady had no idea. I smiled and moved on. I started walking on the road just outside the building hoping that it is the South Shanxi Road. After walking for about hundred metres, I saw the first road sign which showed Shanxi Road and also showed north and south on two sides of the name. I got assured that I was on the right road. But where on this road will the Metro station be. I tried asking some people, but couldn't find anyone who could understand English. I also spotted a English speaking teaching institute and hoped that someone must be able to talk to me now. I did find one lady who could talk English but who did not know where the Metro station was. Well, I smiled again and kept moving on. I was dead sure that if the Station is named Shanxi Nan Lu and and I am walking on Shanxi Nan Lu, it has to be closeby. I arrive at the first red light and see a road dissecting Shanxi Road perpendiculary and named Yongjia Road. I stop and pull out the guide from my book to figure out where I am. I see this junction on the map and I am dellghted.Now I start tracing the map to get to the Metro station. The picture becomes absolutely clear in my mind. I shall have to walk a kilometer more. I would first cross the Zhong Fuxing Lu (Zhong = Central), then Nanchang Road and finally Central Huaihai Road. Then I would take a right turn and the metro station should be about 100 meters away. I keep walking. I cross the Central Fuxing Road. Few minutes later, I cross the Nanchang road. And my confidence rises. I keep walking and I finally see the Huahihai road. I turn right trying to find the Metro station. A click on the central Huaihai Road.
I am glad to see the Hitachi board. I see a lot of big malls but can't spot the metro station. On the next redlight, I see Cathay Cinema.
I have read about it. It is an old Cinema hall opened in 1932 where Europeans of that time came to see hollywood films. Today, the cinema shows both Hollywood and Chinese films. But that's not the point. The point is that Cathay Cinema is supposed to be just opposite the Metro station. That means I should be there. I look around and I finally see the Metro symbol. I have finally reached and the walk has been quite enjoyable with pretty ladies around. Take a look.
Another one of the "pretty ladies" pic. I must say that the short skirts and the stockings were so abundant you feel that you are roaming a cheerleader's club.
I walk down the stairs of the Metro Station and the first thing I see is a beggar. Well, not that I don't expect beggars in China, but seeing one in Shanghai is a surprise because this city seems to be so rich and fashionable, begging doesn't seem to be existing. I click the beggar too.
Well, let me hold my photograhic hand here and concentrate on the journey. I see a self-service ticket vending machine and take a ticket for People's Square for just 3 rmb. Well, couldn't help myself clicking the ticket (sounds silly, but i was too excited :-) )
I finally arrive at the people's square and my confidence level is so high that I completely give up the idea of taking a cab and decide on walking. The map says that the Shanghai Museum should be closeby. The famous thing about the museum is its fantastic architecture shaped like a 'ding' ( a chines cooking vessel. Without asking anyone I just start walking and within minutes I see the huge...really huge..ding. It is the Shanghai Museum - my first tourist spot in Shanghai.
I think I should write another post to describe further. It's gonna be long...