Travel Diary: … my Lonely Planet is finally de-flowered!

I am seriously bored. My suspicion proved right.
I can’t do solo traveling aimlessly {read: on vacation}.
4.5 days in Shanghai and by day ONE I am stiffed bored.

© p.{Haque} – All Rights Reserved – Reading in People’s Park, Shanghai, China

OK, we all know I am not a fan of China. I think this is a known fact.
And perhaps this is the Heavenly God’s way of making me visit China rather than just passing through, by revoking my Tibetan Permit at the eleventh hour, effectively leaving me with three choices:
cut lost and to hell with the premium I paid for the express Chinese Visa, the black market priced Qinghai Tibetan Railway tickets, and hotels.

do a speedy Gonzales itinerary for Shanghai and lose only the black market cut throat Qinghai Tibetan Railway tickets.

do not cut lost and risk being marooned in Xining … thereby figuring how to get the heck out of there – even if it means tracking down the underground gangsters to pay for another black market priced train ticket to God knows where should the Tibetan Permit not come through.

From the earlier statement, you can conclude I, the moderate risk taker, took the middle-road approach.

Deciding 5 hours before the plane was scheduled to take off, I bought my return ticket on MAS flinching at the cost that was almost as much as a return flight, googled and printed the Shanghai metro map and made the additional nights of hotel bookings on

Hastily I unpacked my thermals and Michelin-type wear and threw in breezy-sun clothes, swapped mountaineering and hiking boots for walking shoes, gobbled down my dinner, jumped into the shower and headed to the airport with the printed metro map, my pristine condition China Lonely Planet, e-ticket and hotel reservation numbers, some Greenback held together with a rubber-band, my AMEX and one VISA, passport and iPhone.

I had no clue. I had no plan.
But I was too exhausted to care and slept the moment the announcement “Please fasten your seat belt … coz we are gonna propel ourself to the skies” was made to the moment the same voice woke me up with “We are at Pudong International Airport … blah2 blah … they will kill you if …. {crackling crackling sounds} … have a pleasant journey”

In any case, one shouldn’t need worry with airports as English signage are sure to be present and I made my way somehow from the plane to the Maglev to the metro to my hotel bed and … snooze …

By the time I was ready to face the world and rejuvenated with renewed energy I was adamant not to succumb fully to the Chinese {Commi-in-a-Capitalist disguise} Government ways as to how I should enrich their economy by parting with my tourist dollars.

By that I meant I wasn’t going to do the customary Top 10 Must See in Shanghai… but  explored Shanghai with a bit of Penelope panache.

In fact, I went on a personal mini sojourn of finding myself some Panda Huggers and Dragon Slayers amongst the normal working classes or commoners of Shanghai. The lao bai xing (‘Old Hundred Names’) as the legend has it.

And how is this possible for someone who speaks no pu tong hua, you asked?

Well, almost anything can be ‘bought’ and so by the time boredom kicked in, I had a mild diabolical plan drawn up and ready for implementation. One of my the.light.bulb.moments if you like.

For my second day in Shanghai I got the service of a personalised tour guide only to tell her that I had no interest in everything she suggested but would like to take the day accompanying her on her journey down memory lane from where she was born, bred, lived, shopped, schooled, played, dated …etc. Thinking I was mad initially, she enjoyed herself midway through the day and as the day drew to the end she insisted on refunding me her portion of commission from the company!

On day three I hired a private Advance English tutor who thankfully was very opinionated and had 40% of Murakami’s flair of imagination.

And for day four, a struggling artist who was obsessed with Dante!

One would have thought the reverse would have been more appropriate, but alas, this is more colourful.
Between the 3 of them, I had my share of being tugged intellectually and emotionally by Panda Huggers and Dragon Slayers thoughts throughout my time in Shanghai, only to be further reinforced with Rob Gifford‘s China Road and latest news {though limited and blocked mostly whilst in the land of the Dragon’s lair} of China’s blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng.

As someone who vowed to remain apolitical in this blog, despite reading Economics and Government in Melbourne University, and later writing a dissertation related to International Trade and Policies for my Masters, I will revert back to my intend: if I MUST see Shanghai, I’ll see it my way!

But this I am afraid we will have to save it for another day.
It’s 2:55 a.m.


5 thoughts on “Travel Diary: … my Lonely Planet is finally de-flowered!

  1. I shot Bund weddings … Bund story later.As for the jelly fish structure – nah … what view… they have >2,500 sky scrappers and apparently another 2-3K more in the pipeline … it's gonna be just elevated city in the future. That we wait when the Heavenly God decides its timely for me to revisit China again.BTW, it could be soon … me itching for the Trans-Mongolia.

  2. Y u wear so chun 1?? HeheBtw, u dint go up the molecue like structure and take a panoramic photo? Or shoot them ballroom dancing along the bund???

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