I landed in Shanghai yesterday to begin the second phase of my trip through China. The weather has been overcast with occasional rain showers, which is apparently typical for this time of year. The pictures below aren’t exactly stunning, but hopefully they convey some feel for what Shangahi is like. The rightmost photo shows the hotel I stay at: the Regal East Asia. It’s one of my favorite hotels anywhere. It sits on tree-lined Hengshan Road and is just a short walk from the Xu Jia *** commercial district. There are numerous restaurants and cafes within walking distance, and if you like malls and electronics stores, you’d be in heaven.

Downtown Shanghai Streets of ShanghaiRegal East Asia Hotel

Shanghai is huge and growing even larger. Half of the world’s large construction cranes are currently located in Shanghai, and everywhere you look, you see skyscrapers going up. Traffic is a mess, and you have to allow plenty of time to get anywhere (especially Pudong International Airport, which is a good hour’s drive from downtown even when there is no traffic). More English is spoken here than in Beijing, although few cab drivers speak it. (It took me two hours to get from the airport to my hotel yesterday because the cab driver took me to the wrong hotel and then couldn’t read the correct hotel’s name and address, which I foolishly had only printed in English.) Shanghai is far more cosmopolitan than Beijing and reminds me a lot of Hong Kong, even though it lacks the polish and grandeur of Hong Kong. Still, it’s not a bad place to spend a rainy Sunday.