After happily gorging on 12 hours of in-flight television on a plane ride across the planet (I haven't watched real television in 3 months! And I'm not one of those terrible people who would consider that an accomplishment. Plus they had HBO!), I arrived in Shanghai for a 12 hour layover. Beyond exhausted right before landing, I was planning on finding a cozy corner of the airport to pass out in but I immediately perked up as soon as the wheels hit the tarmac with the realization that I was in CHINA!
After the customs guy assured me I was allowed to leave the aiport, I withdrew far too much Yen from an ATM, figured out how to get a train into the city and spent the afternoon wandering around downtown Shanghai.
The city is massive, looks futuristic yet retro and the best bits are packed with people and filled with smells of exotic street food. I ate killer street stir fried rice for lunch and got the best massage of my life at a very fancy and dimly lit massage place that felt like it was run by the Chinese Mafia.
I took the Shanghai Maglev back to the airport which is a high-speed train that uses magnetic levitation to move and goes up 267 mph. It was awesome. It's the fastest commercial train in operation and in my expert opinion, I would say about 2 notches below teleportation.
And now, onto Auckland.