Day 31 - Tuesday 2nd May - Huangshan to Shanghai

The day started out cloudy, cold and raining. Winding through the mountains until we emerged out on to the flat coastal plains. While tea was the dominant crop in the mountains, once we hit the plains wheat took over.

Intensive is the only way to describe the cropping. Small villages everywhere surrounded by small fields divided by rows of trees, which I presume were planted as wind breaks.

We skirted around the major industrial city of Hangzhou.

We had factored that our drive in to Shanghai would be slowed with traffic congestion, but the traffic behaved itself and we drove on an expressway to well with the city and arrived earlier than we had anticipated.

After check in to the hotel, which was located in the French Concession, Loris went off to get her hair cut, while I went shopping for a new watch as my cheap sailing watch that I had set out with had broken. Wandering the streets of Shanghai is always an experience. Clean sllck and modern, there is little left of old Shanghai.

The concierge had pointed me in the direction of a mall about 20 minutes walk. With 5 levels of designer label shops you got the impression this city has money. I found a cluster of watch shops in the basement. This was more to my price range. There are no bargains to be had here (unless you are after fake stuff), with prices similar to or higher than Australia.

It was John’s birthday, so the group went out for dinner to a western style restaurant in the heart of the French Concession, Mr Willis, serving Australian lamb shanks and steaks. Although they had a great selection of wines, theprices were eye watering. A bottle of Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay, AU$35 at Dan Murphy’s was on the menu of AU$200.