Today was our day to travel to Shangrao but as our train was not leaving until 3:30pm and we already had our tickets, we were not scheduled to leave the hotel until 1:45pm. With a plan in hand and a couple of options, we left our hotel for some morning activities, leaving behind one crucial thing which I will discuss later.
First off was the Jade Buddha Temple (玉佛禅寺), a short 15 minute walk from our hotel. It is a small island of calm in the middle of downtown Shanghai… unfortunately it was under construction so our tour was not as long as planned and by 9:20am we were ready to head onwards. Quickly grabbing a cab with a little help from google translate and we were off…
To the Shanghai Museum (上海博物馆) which was a bit more for Heather and I but the girls enjoyed it. Wrapping up at 11:40am to leave plenty of time to get back to the hotel we realized our mistake from earlier. Anyone who has traveled to China knows that you grab a business card from the hotel so you can always jump in a cab and get back… we left them in the hotel room. This time google translate and google maps were not our friend and we could not get a cab to get us back to the hotel. We went back inside the museum and had some help writing down the Jade Buddha Temple in Chinese thinking that we would go back there and walk the rest. However getting a cab to stop for us this time was not working at all. We walked around the museum looking for a taxi loading area and found the Shanghai Metro (上海轨道交通). We went down to the ticket sales area and a very nice young lady helped direct us to the stop near our hotel. Two trains later and a 8 minute walk and we were back at our hotel. Unfortunately we had less than 30 minutes to finish packing get our bags and get our drive to the train station.
The train station is enormous and busy but our guide Laura got us to the right gate and gave us the lowdown on the process. The high-speed train network in growing rapidly in China and taking business from the planes and airports and its not hard to see why. It’s almost as easy to get on board as the GO train, but travels at 300km/h. Also the leg room in our first class seats (equivalent to coach on a plane) was much appreciated by me. Of course there was still stress in that this was our first time on the trains, and it’s a 3 minute whistle stop in Shangrao that you better be ready for. Still the train was punctual to the minute both leaving Shanghai and arriving in Shangrao and we exited without incident.
Leaving the station we met up with our friend Xixi who will be traveling with us for a large portion of the rest of our trip. She got us to our hotel, sorted out the room arrangements, and joined us for a late dinner. It’s almost 11pm here and tomorrow will be a big day. Photo uploading is being a pain right now so I leave you with qa shot from outside our hotel. Depending on how the day goes tomorrow I may miss posting an update, we go to Elspeth’s orphanage in what is sure to be an emotional day.