One different thing I learned about Shanghai is that it has different side of driver seat. Instead of having the right side of car driver seat, they are in the left side which is different with the one we have in Indonesia. The funny part is that I learn about it in one embarrassing way.
It was one morning that I decided to take a taxi because we need almost 30 minutes walking from my friend’s apartment to the nearest MRT station. After a few attempt of trying to explain the direction (with some helps from Chinese-daily-conversation-books that my close friend force me to bring and some brochures, of course) we finally had a deal with the Chinese man who offered to take us in a fair price.
Then he lead us to his car and open the middle-left door, then the front-left door. In that very moment, my assumption is that he was being a gentlemen and I accepted his kind gesture by decide to sitting in the front seat, while my friend seat in the back. And that was exactly when the moment of awkward situation happen.
The Chinese man frowned at me for some moment before saying something like “did you want to drive or what?” and kind of find my action amusing. I felt confused and scanned my surrounding and was like “what the..” when the realization hits me that I was sitting in the driver seat instead of the passenger seat like I thought I was. And believe me, it’s pretty much embarrassing. You know the feeling when you wish the earth suddenly open and swallow you the whole? Yup, that’s exactly what I was feeling. Well, next time if I had the chance to go to another country, to check on which side the driver seat is definitely on my to-do-list. Lesson number one, learned!
I arrived in Shanghai two days earlier before my conference start, which mean I will have almost two days to do some sightseeing or explore the city or perhaps try a few local cuisines. Sounds like a plan. But honestly, by the time I found out about “Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center”, it becomes my top-place-to-visit list. For you who didn’t know, the place is a museum that show you how the city developed also its change from time to time, from decade to decade.
With a great expectation, I come all the way to that place, using the only reliable source which is a MRT station map that I picked from the airport, only to find that the place was closed on that day – Monday. Damn it. I don’t know on which one should I be angry at. Either of the museum’s decision to close on the only day I had a chance to visit or perhaps of myself for not checking the schedule of the museum itself before actually come to there. Whichever. I wont be able to check out the museum that day.
At least, this experience teach me something important that is to do more preparation before going to somewhere, especially to find out on what day and what time it open, is a very necessary thing to do. Lesson number two, learned!
The effort I had to come again to this place is big enough to make me try my luck on the last free day I had before leaving Shanghai. It was open! Finally! Hahaha. Consist of five floors, this place is beyond amazing! You can see the whole Shanghai in one place! The whole city in much smaller scale, a miniature of many tourism places, of the airport, and many else! You can learn Shanghai’s histories since before the first skyscraper building was build until the day when Shanghai become one International metropolis city. Overall, in my own opinion, it’s even better than the one in Bangkok or even in Singapore. It’s one place that you cannot miss, especially for a planner-soon-to-be like me.
The Urban Exhibition took you on a ride through the years of Shanghai industrialization and development. Each gallery educated you on the progression of how the city became what it is today. Back in the 1980s, one could argue that Shanghai did not even have a skyline. If you look at a time lapse of construction projects over the past 30 years, the change is quite remarkable. In addition, in 1999, the Shanghai metro system was still in its infancy stages. Having only a portion of one line (green line 2 today), the Shanghai metro could only take you from the east portion of Pudong to Puxi’s western airport in Honqiao. With a highly anticipated 2010 World Expo on the horizon, Shanghai infrastructure turned up its gear and began construction projects at an exponential rate, much greater than any city had done in the past. Within nearly a decade, the Shanghai metro system developed 9 more lines, which could take you to virtually every part of the city as well as the outer suburbs. Some experts claim that Shanghai grew so fast that its citizens could barely keep up.
This model is perfectly to scale and depicts the entire city of Shanghai. Every ten minutes or so, the lights in the room would shut off and the model would light up, emulating Shanghai during the night time. This was amazing because it truly opens your eyes to how big the city is. It feels like you could live in Shanghai for a lifetime and still never experience so many other areas!
I like to buy and to use black t-shirt. Just like usual. It’s always the simplest, the comfortable way to walk around in a non formal way, like visit this museum. But there was mistake which I just realized when I went through the photos back home again, I used a black t-shirt with “Thailand” word on it. Geez. How come I don’t realize it any sooner? How come no one remind or ask me about that? and how come I even brought that t-shirt in the first place? Unbelievable. There goes another lesson to not bring any-other-countries-labeled when you decided to go to different country. Lesson number three, learned!
Anyway, I spent the rest of the day by walking around, looking for any interesting places and things to see, and by the end of the day, I learned a lot about Shanghai daily life also I started to memorize about the metro line. One good progress of the day 😀
When the exhaustion feels too much to bear, I decided to go home, well.. more likely to go back to my friend’s apartment lol. Yeah, in the previous post I said that my stay in Shanghai will be all covered by the organization, but that’s only happen during the conference. Because I came two days earlier, I had to stay in another place, in this case was my friend’s apartment. He is a professor in Fudan University and his main study concern is in black hole. An Italian lad who I usually called Daniel. Also the very guy who offered to cook for an Italian dinner that taste incredibly delicious. Thanks, Daniel! Thank you for everything 🙂