From Macau we flew to Shanghai to meet my brother Al and his family: wife Anita and cute kids Sierra and Jacob. We’re going to spend two weeks with them hanging out in China, the longest visit we’ve had so far in our nearly two years of travel. We’ve observed before that far from feeling isolated from family and friends while we’re traveling the world, we sometimes see more of people than we ever would have while we were working and all in the States. This is a great example; as far as we can remember I haven’t spent two consecutive weeks with Al since 1979, and I’ve never spent much quality time with his kids. So we’re pretty excited about this chance to hang out for a while.Shanghai is a beautiful, reasonably rich city and it’s big; with a population of just over 24 million Shanghai is the world’s largest city according to the UN’s definition of “city proper”, excluding suburban areas. (Trivia question that I certainly wouldn’t have gotten right: What’s the world’s second largest city? Give up? Karachi, Pakistan. Who knew??)
So what do you do when you’re got three days in the world’s largest city? In part, for the rest of the St. Georges, you try to deal with jet lag. It is certainly one of the greatest advantages of the way Mark & I are traveling that we rarely experience jet lag, as we almost never cross more than one time zone in a day. Beyond that, though, we walked around a lot, enjoying the early spring climate and admiring the beautiful skyline of Pudong, the section of the city across the Huangpu River. The skyline of Pudong includes three pretty remarkable buildings: the Jin Mao Tower, a beautiful 88-story building that, when we stayed at the Hyatt in it eight years ago was the tallest building in China; the Shanghai World Financial Center, a 101-story building that was the second-tallest building in the world when it was finished in 2007; and the 128-story Shanghai Tower, now the second-tallest building in the world.
Then, when the kids were a little tired of Mark & Jim’s forced march across the city we did a tour of the city on the local “Hop On, Hop Off” bus, a great way to see more of the city quickly. The highlight, though, was the amusement park in People’s Park in central Shanghai. It was a pretty small little diversion, but I guess if you’re eight or nine years old – or, in the case of Mark somewhat older than that – even a small amusement park is a heckuva lot of fun. And if you’re a child-deprived adult, watching them might be even more fun than they had.
So that was Stop One on the tour of China. A lot more to come….