Ni Hao Shanghai!

 

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Sure enough, when we woke around 6 this morning and opened the curtains, Shanghai was there outside.  We were still sailing down the river and it was a little hazy.

 

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We got up early to go out on the deck to listen to a commentary as we approached the city centre.  Brrrr….it was really cold!

 

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The light was fantastic though, and we were happy to stick with it for a while, just to take in the atmosphere.

 

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Occasionally, a large ship would loom up out of the fug and we began to wonder if this was mist or a polluted haze because we could taste the air!  We popped inside for a quick bowl of porridge and a mug of hot chocolate and fortified, went outdoors again.

 

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Large barges passed us by, very similar to those on the Rhine or the Danube, with living quarters there at the back.  No Mercedes or BMWs parked on the roof however.

 

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We passed a small naval ship and smiled as we got a closer look at the stern, there beneath the canopy

 

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The crew’s washing was hung out to dry!  I’m not sure our naval vessels feature washing lines…

 

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More barges parked up and their owners pottering about on deck, going about their business.  I can’t imagine what life must be like on this river.  I can’t imagine it being very comfortable, somehow.

 

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As we neared the city, we began to see more residential neighbourhoods and the little ferry full of commuters had to wait for us to pass.  Sorry!  Hope they weren’t late for work as a result!

 

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We caught sight of a bridge looming out of the mist and were told that it’s the inner ring road.  Six lanes of busy traffic up there – and we’d have just three feet clearance as we sailed under.

 

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Yes, that was just about right.

 

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By now, we were reaching the city proper and a few preparations were being made.  The last time we stood and watched someone at the bow of the ship like this was on the day of Kate and William’s wedding, when crew members toasted them with champagne and flew the Union Flag as we sailed away from Mumbai.  Happy times!

 

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Sure enough, out of the mist loomed the skyscrapers of Pudong.

 

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As we neared our berth, they were clear to see.  How Shanghai has changed since we were last here (in 1999, pre blog days!)

 

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The important men with the piece of string were there, ready to pull us into place (or do something equally important)

 

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Captain Mario had everything under control and was looking relaxed.

 

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There was even a little welcome party!

 

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We hurried inside to gather our things ready to go out and explore the city.  How’s this for a view from my desk?!

A different city altogether

At Sea