For the Easter weekend I left Suzhou and returned to Shanghai. In the morning before I took the train I intended to visit Tiger Hill. But the walk there proved somewhat longer than I had anticipated, and when I reached it, it was already time to go back. Sadly it will have to wait for another trip. On the way there I passed through a very crowded “local” market with all sorts of strange foodstuffs and even live chickens in cages and fish in paddling pools. Often China appears quite modern but occasionally you veer off the tourist or business track and it becomes suddenly a bit third world.


The train back to Shanghai, however, was the very latest technology. Completing the journey in about half an hour where the car ride out from the airport had taken over two. I travelled first class, because at £10 a ticket who wouldn’t? I didn’t have the best impression of Shanghai from my last stay there. So I only planned to spend half a day exploring and then do a day trip on Sunday. At least it wasn’t raining this time.


I stayed right next to “People’s Park” which was expensive but I was using some of my hotel reward points I’d accumulated through business travel. I explored the park a bit, which had some nice cherry blossom trees, and then tried to catch the metro to Pudong. This was challenging as the station under the park makes the maze under Kings Cross seem petite and easily navigable by comparison. I’m not joking: the metro station extends the full length of the park!


Pudong is a vast new area of skyscrapers on the other side of the river to Shanghai-proper. It’s amazing to think this was mostly swamp 20 or 30 years ago. The main attraction of the area is surely the Oriental Pearl Tower. Like their comrades in eastern Europe, the Chinese certainly know how to build an excellent TV tower. I didn’t go up it in the end: the weather had become quite hazy so I thought it probably wasn’t worth the exorbitant entrance price.


In the evening I went to this place called “Tea City”. It’s advertised as a sort of tea supermarket, which sounds fun, but is actually more of a tea shopping centre. With literally hundreds of tiny independent shops selling confusingly similar products. I wandered around slightly bemused for a bit and bought some Pu’er tea from a store chosen at random with a friendly if slightly strange shopkeeper. Seemed to be more of a place for people in the tea trade to be honest.