The first thing I wanted to do after having a bit of a rest was to get a massage. There were ads everywhere for massage, at varying prices. I settled on a spa a block away from the hotel. It was staffed by a multitude of attendants, who brought slippers and menus of services. It cost me about $20 for an hour and a half of massage, during which time I was Shiatsued into submission by a tiny girl in a tight skirt slit up to her hip, and iron hands on the ends of her slender arms. She kneaded my back and legs right down to the bone. I bet she could crush marbles into dust with those fingers. I wondered what the chrome bars mounted on the ceiling were for. Then I discovered they were there so the masseuses could have something to hold onto as they walked on your back. I was layered with hot towels, pressed, rubbed with sandalwood and peppermint oils, and then scrubbed down. I walked out of there feeling like a rubber chicken, but not sure if that was an improvement.
Later on, I went to explore
This time I found it easy to get on the subway and go. The system is not so hard once you start using the touch-screen terminals located near the entrance, which can be switched to English mode. Then you just find your destination on the map, touch the screen, and you pay the machine for your single-ride card. You swipe the card to get through the gate, and at your destination, you give your card back to the machine to exit.
I went to the Bund area of town, which is on the other side of the river from my hostel. This area is filled with grand bank and business buildings constructed by Europeans during the 19th century when theyÂd carved up
I found this area to be rich with people-shooting opportunities. It was easy to shoot inconspicuously because of the massive crowds. Everyone had a camera too. I took a few photos, including this too-cool-for-school couple, and this guy who shows me what IÂll look like in 50 years, or 25 years if I lived in
There was some kind of deal going down with these ivory carvings. A minute after I took the photo, the guyÂs table and setup had vanished. Maybe he wasnÂt supposed to be there?
On the way back to the hostel, I saw this guy guarding a construction site. His head was down, and he was fast asleep, doing a bang up job of protecting those construction materials!
By this time I was starving, but IÂd had it all planned out. I saw a sign earlier that advertised a hot pot and BBQ buffet for 59 yuan between 9:30pm and 2am around the corner from the hostel. It was pretty good! I chose from a variety of meat and vegetables, and different types of soup, just like before. A young guy who worked in the restaurant sat down at my table with me, seeming to want to practice his English, which was horrible. This buffet also came with a gas fired grill built into the table. The guy offered to cook the meat for me, and didnÂt seem to understand that I wanted to do it myself. I was annoyed at first, because I just wanted to have a quiet meal by myself. But, after a while, it wasnÂt so bad to have this guy cooking for me at my table. He kept asking things like ÂYouÂ
Shanghai?Â I said I was on vacation. He puzzled over this for a while. Then ÂYouÂ
After dinner, it was close to midnight. I was wiped out from a long day in a
Today IÂll do some more exploring. I think IÂll hit the Museum of Science and Technology, which my German friends in Huang Shan said was full of buttons that you press to make things happen. IÂm going to go make things happen.
Later that dayÂ
I decided to take a lunch break. I discovered a Brazilian barbecue place near the museum. It is owned by an actual Brazilian, so I decided to give it a try. For less than $10, you canÂt really go wrong. It was delicious. There was a wide variety of meat, carved off of skewers by wandering waiters. There was a full salad bar too, with many types of fruits and veggies. I had a fresh orange and carrot drink. It was cave heaven.
The museum had a number of interesting exhibits, mainly in Chinese but with most of it translated to passable English as well. The newer exhibits had the best English. The coolest exhibit was about robots. There was a lot of hands-on stuff, like an archery contest against a robot (I lost), and a microphone that lets you tell a robot what color purse to pick up off of a conveyor belt. There were also some propaganda-ish things in the display. For instance, the human body exhibit broke down the aspects of health, including physical and mental health. It also added Âmoral healthÂ which included being polite, studious, law-abiding, and generally being a good citizen. I was pleased to see that there was also a heavy emphasis on the environment. As in other places in
When I got tired of pushing buttons, I went back to the hostel for a brief rest. Then I grabbed the 12-24mm lens and headed back to the museum. It wasnÂt quite dark yet, so I took a couple of practice shots, then walked over to a spectacular looking performance hall across the park from the museum. The sky was darkening, so I could start shooting some long exposures. It wasnÂt easy finding a good angle to shoot this building, because it was surrounded by trees and other shrubbery that was getting in the way. Finally I found a spot that let me incorporate the trees and shrubbery without them being too disruptive. I was living in harmony with nature! w00t!
It was now dark, so I went back to the museum. I was hoping theyÂd turn on the lights, because the building had lights mounted all over the place, and it would look spectacular lit up. But, I guess they decided to save energy to set an example for the rest of Shanghai, which is too busy adding more neon tubes to the outside of everything to notice. In the end, I was glad that there were only minimal lights on in the building. It let me play with some different exposures, and really bring out the color of the sky.
The thing held up by dragons in the foreground of that one shot is an Armillary Sphere. It is an ancient astronomy tool, and makes a nice counterpoint to the sphere in the building, no doubt inspired by the Armillary Sphere itself. The Armillary Sphere was lit quite nicely by the fake market behind it, which was fortunate because it balanced perfectly with the minimal light on the museum building in the background.
I went back into the subway to go back to the hostel, but decided at the last minute to check out PeopleÂs Square first. PeopleÂs Square is the nexus of the city, and I figured itÂd be worth checking out at night. The place was jammed with people, mainly shopping. It is a neon nightmare to rival
I admired the scene for a while, then headed back. I got off the subway a stop early so I could walk down busy
Now IÂm back at the hostel, ready for bed. My feet are tired, but IÂve got another day of exploring to do tomorrow. See you then!