Shànghǎi: few cities in the world evoke so much history, excess, glamour, mystique and exotic promise in name alone.
I didn’t plan to be visiting Shanghai on the heels of a glorious trip to London until I landed a jaw-dropping $560 “mistake” air fare in business class on Hong Kong Airlines, thanks to a service I subscribe to called “Travel Cheaters.” It worked, and as Yogi Berra put it: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” In addition, the Renminbi, or Chinese Yuan, is trading favorably against the dollar.
With our magazine’s publication schedule, I also have learned to take advantage of certain “windows” — in this case mid-November works.
After the Election this week, I’ll depart from SFO to Shanghai, spending a week sightseeing, walking along The Bund, dining in the French Concession, listening to the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and jazz band at the Peace Hotel, visiting the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Natural History Museum and Yùyuán Gardens and enjoying breakfast, coffee and a newspaper in the dining room of some wonderful hotels, such as the Langham and Peninsula. I’ll skip Shanghai Disneyland, but look for it on the ride into town from the airport.
I applied for and received a one-year visa (an interesting process) because I plan to return to Beijing in April with Mitchell and Shannon on Spring Break. I want our son to appreciate world travel and Asian cultures. I also applied for and received “Global Entry” for U.S. customs, which already saved time on my return trip from London.
I can’t promise a steady flow of social media posts. Although China is the world’s biggest social media market, Facebook, Instagram, gmail, Twitter, YouTube and others are banned there, thanks the the “Great Firewall,” as you probably know. You can access Facebook by signing up for a VPN; we’ll find out how that works. I’m looking forward to another “excellent adventure.”