Greetings from Shanghai

Good morning from Shanghai! Twelve at Hengshan is a stunning new hotel along tree-lined Hengshan Road in the French Concession neighborhood.

We landed in Shanghai around midnight after SFO-Hong Kong-Shanghai in about 19 hours (with a dinnertime stop in HK). Hong Kong Airlines was wonderful — new Airbus A350-900 (“all jet, no lag”), great airplane food and top-notch flight crew, plus a lounge in Hong Kong for dinner/drinks and a hot shower.

We landed at Shanghai (pop. 24 million) in totalitarian fashion, however: without a jetway, parked out on the tarmac. We walked down a steep ramp from our big jet, and loaded into a bus to arrivals (like the ’50s). China’s “paramount leader” 习近平 Xi Jinping did not meet us at the airport with an entourage. Instead, we were directed to the “foreigners” line, fingerprinted, and guided through a machine that measured our body temperature to stop the spread of flu and illnesses. It was all courteous and efficient.

I passed through customs and “Stockton” met me in “arrivals” and drove me to the hotel in a nice Mercedes sedan — about a 45 minute ride from the airport but no traffic. I checked into the hotel, was assigned to a room with a view of the tree-lined boulevard, and the bed already was turned down, with a bottle of water and slippers. Ha!

Prices are not expensive in Shanghai, thanks to a favorable exchange rate. The hotels are about a third less than S.F. or N.Y., for example. I’m looking forward to exploring this afternoon, eating lunch at a local cafe, and going to the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra – 上海交响乐团 tonight.

I’m going to spend time in different neighborhoods this week: this one, The Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi; and Peninsula Hotel Shanghai on The Bund. Excited to see the sights.

Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, and WordPress are all blocked in China, but I installed a VPN that allows me to access these sites. I won’t be making political statements, however! Have a good weekend. I’ll post updates once in a while.

A video of Shanghai is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

4 thoughts on “Greetings from Shanghai”

  1. Have a great trip. Seems like< when you look across the skyline there, the last multi story building isn't tall enough and they built a taller one. Many electric cars? Hows the air quality?

    1. Well, I hear it can be bad. But I lunch on the rooftop of the hotel and you could see all the buildings. No smog was visible and no sore throat. 😉 It varies though. I grew up in L.A. in the ’60, and I know what that was like. And I’ve seen it in Mexico City too.

  2. Interested to know if there are any microbrewery’s nearby? Chinese hops sounds like it would be an experience!

  3. Chip,
    I went to a local brewpub for lunch called the Shanghai Brewery in the leafy neighborhood not far from my hotel:
    “We regularly brew 6 kinds of fresh hand-crafted microbrewery beers onsite, including People’s Pilsner, West River Weizen, North Star IPA and Black Eyed Bear Stout, as well as special seasonal beers such as the Brewmeister’s Choice.”
    In my hotel room, there’s a charge for those little liquor bottles, as expected, but the beer — including the bottle of Tsingtao (296 ml.) — was free, along with soft drinks.

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