This was my day off. After the frenetic arrangements of the last week or so (where has the time gone) I had a day to myself. Most other people were travelling home today or were going elsewhere in China.
I had heard about an art project known as M50 – and decided to try and visit. It was easy enough to find on the map – close to the main Shanghai Railway Station. As it turned out, it was a 15 minute walk – in the sweltering heat! That was after I left the biggest railway station I have ever seen behind! Shanghai Railway Station could swallow up two or three New York Grand Central’s! Think Birmingham Airport!
Having found the art project I looked as though I had played squash for an hour! At least the sun was out…
The place is an amazing mix of independent art studios – all in an old grungy factory. It is a far cry from the shiny buildings I have seen for the last week. It is said that the old guard here dislike (mistrust?) artists – but the younger generation are taking to it. There were several pieces I would have bought, but taking them under my arm on the plane tomorrow might be an issue! But it was a fascinating place – and I had a mojito in “traveled tea and coffee” – by the side of the aircon machine!
I headed back to The Peoples Square by tube – a short trip that costs 30p! By this time the sun had not got his hat on, but the sky was an angry black – the rain started with a vengeance. I took cover in a well known coffee shop – thank goodness for them – what a piece of luck!
I had a quick detour to the French Concession – a quarter of the city close to the Old City – but this mostly populated by big brand names – Montblanc, Cartier et al… I was getting wetter.
So I walked the mile or so back to the Bund. I resisted the temptation to buy Rolex Watches, Louis Vuitton bags and DVD’s from the hawkers – although some require you to explain with words representing Sex & Travel that you don’t want them. I can be multi-lingual if I try.
The Bund was busy – and I got fed up of taking pictures of people for their albums – and explaining where I was from. With only a few hours to go, the grumpy old man is kicking back in! They are all very nice, but I just wanted to drink my Orangina and take pictures for myself! People staring at you on the tube is quite normal – I think it’s the extra head I have grown… grrrr.
I had hoped to visit the Museum of Modern Art this evening, but the rain thwarted that idea. So I headed up to the 48th floor revolving bar of the hotel and watched the impressive thunderstorms!
So that’s it for my visit to Shanghai – I might have time for a bit of shopping tomorrow, but those nice people at Virgin have offered to take me back west.
Just the packing then…