After the enforced o/night rest at Heathrow's Ramada Hotel (not recommended, basic and too far, unless u use their shuttle), the BA flight was not very comfortable at all. On our arrival at the huge Pudong airport, we decided unwisely to follow the hostesses who escort you to the "Maglev" train (hitting 430km/hr) and then by taxi from downtown to the hotel. Bad move with all our luggage! On top of it taxi-driver "took us for he proverbial ride" and it cost us double what it should have,- from the airport!!!!
June/July temperatures in Shanghai hover around mid-30s, high humidity and not pleasant at all. We were happy to meet up with our son and daughter after 2 months at the hotel Ramada Plaza in Nanjing Rd., in the centre of town. This hotel and others in the same area are favourites of the tour groups, but personally we would not recommend that area for most of us Westerners. Apart from McDonalds and KFC, it really does not cater for Western palates,- whether for food or for shopping. Its redeeming features were the indoor pool plus gym where the guys could work-out while we girls went- shopping!
The up-market area is in the former "French-concession" district where we had stayed before, around the Okura Gardens Hotel (superb!) in Huai Hai Rd. This is where the smaller boutiques are situated, on either side,- as the parallel Changle Rd. is equally good,- plus the general ambience is less crowded and there are more places for us Westerners to visit comfortably. We girls, (Hedy and niece Mandy and I,) spent quite a bit of time around there; and at night we took them all to Xintiandi, an international- restaurant and shopping development which allowed us to have a proper meal,- Western-style (steaks at a German beer-hall!)
The former BUND area has been converted into expensive "label-boutiques" complexes, but at least we were able to find the Sybilla Café next to the Peace Hotel, where the Zegna shop is, and we could indulge in a soup, salad and toasted sandwich lunch even at 3pm,- a rarity even in all the big hotels after 2pm! (Buffet lunches are offered bet. 12-2pm, thereafter only drinks, with possibly a cake!)
Shopping for us Western females beyond size10, creates merriment all around! Luckily there is the Dong Jia Du Fabric Market where you can buy materials to have clothes made up overnight if necessary, for males and females. We ordered some things there,- some came out better than others, but what the hell,- they were cheap enough to have them altered if necessary, at home. The 'fake market" was also opp. the Okura Gardens originally, but it closed down there the week we arrived and reopened with shop-stalls in a multistorey building in Nanjing Rd. They are not only fakes, but also cheats,- so 'buyer beware' is the rule of thumb!
FINALLY WE WERE HAPPY TO SEE OURSELVES BACK HOME,- SWEET HOME,- albeit full of a cold which I caught on the way! BUT WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MELBOURNE'S MILD WEATHER WHILE WE WERE AWAY? It is awful just now!