Saturday May 21, 2016

China (as we’ve seen again and again) is crammed with contrasts. I mean, on the one hand you’ve got peasant farmers ploughing rice paddy fields with water buffalos, and zillions of ‘hello people’ begging you to buy the souvenir junk that litters their rickety stalls – yet on the other hand, you’ve got technological marvels, architectural wonders, and glittering bridges, motorways and cities that match anything the western world can show you.

Shanghai is one such place. Once known as ‘Paris of the East’, China’s grandest and most wealthy city started life just a few hundred years ago as a fishing village on the estuary of the Yangtze River. Today it’s a dazzling modern showpiece with a colourful colonial history plus a fascinating mix of eastern and western cultures.

Amongst Shanghai’s neck-craning skyscrapers are some spectacular giants – including the world’s second-tallest tower. And a few days ago (seems like a month ago!) we Mad Midlife Kiwis went to the TOP of this thing (well, nearly the top).

I’m still in catch-up mode (remember?) … so let me get to the point.

The group spent Tuesday exploring Shanghai – starting with the Yu Gardens (typifying the traditional Chinese sense of beauty and symbolism) … the Jade Buddha Temple Nanjing Road (world famous for shop-shop-shopping) … and the Bund (the bustling waterfront that was once a centre for expatriates). That night we enjoyed a double-treat: a yummy Dim-Sum Dinner (a local specialty), followed by a truly blow-your-mind Acrobatics Show! (Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos, so you’ve just gonna have to imagine it – sorry.)

Next day, those who could stomach it rode the world’s fasted elevator up-up-up to the world’s highest observation tower perched on the 122nd floor of the curvy-shaped Shanghai Tower (just five floors from the very top). It took us just 55 seconds to get there (it felt like we were weightless)! And the views from the top? Well, you be the judge …

However, Shanghai had one more surprise saved up. What really got us oohing-&-aahing was the stunning eyeful we got later that night when they turned the city’s lights on. Just check this out … and decide now that you’re gonna come with us next time we do China!

STILL TO COME: We board our Victoria Cruises river-boat and begin a four-day sail up the mighty Yangtze – the main highway, for thousands of years, into China’s vast interior. So put on your lifejacket and join us …


  • Les claimed his second quacky yellow duck – with our ‘Lost in Translation’ Award. Les thought our local guide in Dazu was offering to take us to see ‘stock cars’, and he got all excited. But she was actually taking us to see was ‘rock carvings’

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to receive future Mad Midlife Travel Blogs in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription! And if you’d like to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your comments! (Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief.)