Sunday, 13 April 2014

Shanghai and the wheelchair

Our first port of call on our HAL cruise was Shanghai.  We were really looking forward to this town and it didn't let us down.  On the first day I did a shore excursion with Sharon and Bruce.  Unfortunately the shore excursions do not work for Sully as they involve walking up stairs on buses.  He went for a wander around on his own.  The ship was docked right in the city, so he managed to clock up quite a few klms, even though he was on  warning from me to behave himself. 

But the next day our wonderful Travel Agent Di (from FlightCentre Booval) has organized a car to pick us up and take us around the town.  It was organized through 'Quickbeds' and the company name was CTI Shanghai Ltd.  Our guide's name was Joel and the driver was Mr Jung.  He asked where we wanted to go and gave us a few suggestions.  Joel suggested we start at 'The People's Park' so off we went - no wheelchair parking but we did manage to get Sully and the wheelchair out of the car without too much trouble.  Lots of people were in the park, doing their daily exercise which included the standard Tai Chi and even some people fishing in the park lake.  It was a lovely peaceful place in the middle of such a big city and a great way to start the day.  We then went for a walk, which included crossing an 8 lane highway - with the help of a policeman.  There was actually an underground walkway which of coarse included steps, but this did not stop Joel and we made it across in one piece.

  We happened past Shanghai Museum as it opened at 9am so in we went.  It was a great time to be there - lots of tours were coming in as we left.  Joel suggested we pick one floor -it contained 4 floors, so we picked the top floor.  We went to the Jade, Furniture, Costumes and Coin sections.  Everything was extremely well laid out and written in both Chinese and English.  And of coarse they had wheelchair toilets - so all in all the perfect outing for us. 

We then went to the Jade Buddah Temple.  It cost 10yuan each to get in and unfortunately Sully could do little more than sit in the main area and check things out from the various doors.  Joel tried to get him in through a 'Staff only' door, but without any success.  It also was a lovely quiet spot in the middle of an extremely busy city.  Mr Jung again found a great spot to park, so getting in and out of the car was not too much of a problem.

Joel then took us to the second floor on one of the local hotels for lunch.  We were the only Westerners in there, so we were guaranteed of local cooking.  We had shrimp, eel, jellyfish, noodle soup and, of coarse, rice.  It was a great lunch, although I am not sure we will ever eat jellyfish again - it really did taste like rubber.  We then went for a walk through a mall next to the hotel and then we were taken to another silk factory.  We were taken back to the ship with time to spare.

  It cost us $135.00 each for the day, and it really was the best way to see the city.  We were able to understand Joel with very little effort.  He explained the history of everywhere we went, and was able to answer all our questions.  The driver knew his way around and they both mastered the wheelchair without too much effort.  It was worth every cent.

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