Friday, April 24, 2015

Moving Through China

We covered roughly 2,835 miles (4,513 km) over the course of our 18 days from the time we landed in Shanghai; and of that, about 2,745 miles (4,358 km) was in mainland China. We got around using nearly every means of transportation possible. In fact, we sort of planned it that way.
Right off the plane we hopped on the Maglev train to Pudong. It is one of only three magnetic levitation trains in the world. It covers the 17 mile trip in 8 minutes -- by car the same distance takes nearly an hour.

The Maglev train only got us to the Pudong side of Shanghai, but we needed to get across the river and up Nanjing Liu Road, which is sort of like Shanghai's Fifth Avenue. Subways are an easy way to get around in Shanghai and Beijing, as well as Hong Kong.


Often they are very crowded but you get to where you're going pretty fast. 
Mostly everyone just stares at their phone -- 
except for the guy below who is actually staring at two phones.

Our friends have a car so we were able to drive to places if we wanted to. You have not lived -- nor properly feared for your life -- until you have been in a car in China. It was terrifying! But then it was sort of surreal . . . like bumper cars without the bumping. Except you also have to add in scooters, motorcycles, buses, bicycles, and pedestrians all around the cars.


We placed complete trust in Eric's hands as he commanded the steering wheel through the streets of Shanghai in the most impressive display of defensive driving we have ever seen. Eventually it became almost exhilarating to witness the miraculous flow of traffic and find beauty in the chaos. Everyone seemed to understand the way things worked and we did not see a single accident.  

What you should notice here is where the left hand turn lanes are. This was Steve's favorite intersection!

It was a good thing we learned about the traffic with our friends -- it really helped prepare us for the bus and taxi rides! However we had this excellent driver from Beijing take us out to the Great Wall.

And speaking of the Great Wall . . . here's how you get up and down:
First you ride the chair lift up; then you sit on a little toboggan go-cart and roll back down!

 We made several train trips traveling from city to city.

On the bullet trains

Overnight sleeper train from Beijing to Xian: 

We also enjoyed riding bikes on top of the city wall around Xian and in the countryside of Yangshuo


The country also gave us a chance to float down a river on a bamboo raft . . .

But first we took a cruise on a bigger river to get there . . .

And this was just for fun . . . 
We had to ferry our way around Hong Kong and Macao a couple times . . .  

The famous Star Ferry Line runs across Victoria Harbour from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. In operation since 1898.
Steve buying tickets for the TurboJet from Hong Kong to Macao

Riding the Victoria Peak Tram . . .

We had one in-country flight from Xian to Guilin . . .

But mostly, we walked . . . .




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