3.30pm Wednesday 20th March.
I can hardly wait to tell you how bad I feel just now. When we arrived this morning in Shanghai the weather was grey and dismal.
Now, I’m sat in our cabin on the River that runs through the very centre of Shanghai. We are berthed next to a cruise terminal that the Chinese are ripping to pieces. We are forced to walk along the open dock against old bits of metal and rubble to get out onto the street in the rain this morning at 10am.
We stumbled across a Metro station about a mile away, one that wasn’t shown anywhere on the map we were given. Down in the dark of the station we pointed on our map to where we want to go.
The English speaking Chinese attendant pointed to a wall, 30 yards away lined with ticket machines. They were all written in Chinese, the place was almost deserted. The attendant wouldn’t leave her post. Twenty five minutes later we were rescued by an angel who showed us what to do. We were on the Green-line so we got two green tickets and had to change to a purple line. And for some reason, we ended up with a blue one! When we got to our destination station our tickets would not let us out, “HELP!”
We went along to an attractive young lady assistant behind a screen and I explained we couldn’t get out. She took all the tickets off us, and put the in her machine. She gave us two tickets back and handful of money in coins. We got out of the station and worked out how much the trip had cost, about 50p.
We set off walking then though a large department store and out the other side. We turned right then right again, and after about one and a half miles, my ankle was killing me. It was past noon when we came upon a KFC. By pointing at pictures we got chicken nuggets and hot orange juice; it all tasted wonderful. We set off for our destination, which we found to our dismay, was marked wrongly on our map. So we ended up turning right four times! I know, how can I do that? Well, in great pain and in my own special way! But it was worth it, we found Walmart. I loaded up our shopping trolley with beer, wine, snackies, pens, deodorant and two writing pads etc.
Happy, we pushed the trolley to the check-out, we checked it through and they declined my credit card. Then they declined Florie’s credit card, so we had to leave empty handed!!
There isn’t a word you can say to someone who doesn’t speak a word of English. And, why I want to know, is the walk back always longer and more painful in failure?
Eventually, we found a Metro Station and purchased tickets, the correct colour and price that got us to within a mile of the ship. I hobbled back, feeling my left ankle was being stabbed by rusty knives. I was ill tempered as I came back on the ship and threw my empty back pack onto the security scanning machine. The officer looked at me, ‘go on say something,’ I thought, but he didn’t.
I made my way to a mid-ships bar where a Serbian waitress, who has a lovely smile and has always been very nice to me took my order for a pint of lager. Then having denied myself a second pint, I went up on the top deck and took a slightly better picture of where we are.
Then I came back to the cabin to cool off, from my frustrating trip off the ship in exciting Shanghai and began to put it down on paper for you.
I can almost feel what you are thinking, “I could do better things than shop in Shanghai!”
Well you might not know, but over the years we have done wonderful tours on previous visits. But, I’m still angry because they wouldn’t take our cards. The cards have both been used for months with no problems.
Anyway, Tat Ta for now.
P.S. We found out later, many people had the same trouble buying things there too.