Sunday, July 08, 2007

Shanghai Aquarium

Last weekend, I decided one way to keep cool was to get a haircut. I knew that it takes a while here in China – your hair gets washed 3 times (twice before and once after), you have a shoulder and arm massage as well as your haircut and blow dry – so I went on Sunday afternoon. It took even longer this time, as after I’d had my shoulder and arm massage, I was asked if I wanted a full massage. Why not? Did I want 2 hours or only 1 hour? I’m glad I chose I hour – ‘cos I woke up on Monday morning covered in bruises!!! I like my massages to be firm – but that was just too firm. My coccyx was all black and blue – and you could see finger marks on my thighs!! Not quite the relaxing massage I was looking for.
The Pearl Tower - honest!

In my last post I threatened to go and jump in with the fish at the aquarium, so yesterday I went to visit them. It was a bit cooler than it has been, so much more pleasant – 28 degrees. As I was walking to the metro I looked at the sky and thought that I should have brought my brolly, but didn’t think it was threatening enough to go back for it. I’m Scottish, what’s a little bit of rain??? Hmmm. I got out of the metro at the other end, and it was fair – for about 30 seconds! The aquarium is just by the Pearl Tower, and I had to get a photo of the clouds so low that the Pearl tower was disappearing. I’d just got the photo when the heavens opened, and it was like somebody was throwing buckets of water all over me!! It took me no more than 2 minutes to run to the aquarium, but I arrived there completely drenched. I formed my own not-so-little puddle in the ticket queue. I had decided to get an annual pass – and, of course, that meant I needed to have my photo taken!! Let’s just say that it would make a good passport photo and leave it at that.

Fish from the River Yangtze

The aquarium was really good. There are 3 floors, and loads of exhibits. There’s even a display tank that you travel through on the escalator – strange experience. There are lots of sharks and rays – of course, but there were turtles and seals – I was very pleased to see that the seals had some toys in their exhibit, and didn’t seem institutionalised, not like the seal in Listvyanka; tropical fish – from little neon tetras to poisonous tiger fish (I didn’t see any zebra barbs); wrasse – which I’ve seen when I was diving in Scotland; and some giant Japanese crabs who looked like they were the model for a sci-fi alien invasion – creepy!! There were also displays on tiny jelly-fish, and some really bizarre ‘box fish’, which are, well, shaped like a box!

Formation Flying

One of the Seals

Some of the Tropical Fish

Tiny Jelly-fish

When I came out of the aquarium, there were hundreds of police standing waiting – no, not for me. There was a global concert taking place – Live Earth. There were still tickets for sale, but as the only performer I had heard of was Sarah Brightman, I didn’t go. I then went and sat on a newspaper, on a seat down by the river (well, it had been raining), and watched the boats go by. I am always amazed at how busy the river is. It never stops. There was an enormous container ship that went by, and then 6 barges tied together, as well as other barges that I’m sure are moments from sinking. I don’t know if it’s an optical illusion, but it always looks like the boat is below the surface of the water, and only surface tension is keeping it afloat. I chose a much more robust boat to cross the river – the ferry! I then had a new experience, and got the bus home. I had realised that there is a bus from the Bund to my flat, so I decided to jump on the No. 42 and try it out. It took 45 minutes to do the trip, but I had a seat, it was air-conditioned, and I could see where we were going, mind you, there was loads of traffic. The metro is quicker, but much more crowded, and costs 3 Yuan, instead of the 2 Yuan of the bus (20p instead of 12p).

It makes the sky-scrapers look small
6 barges tied together

It’s hot again today – 32 degrees, and I’m sitting on the balcony with the sweat gathering at my elbows and behind my knees – I think I’ll go and hide indoors with the air-conditioner!

1 comment:

Cobweb Crafts said...

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