The alarm broke the silence of night at 04:00hrs, yawn, stretch, yawn, shower, coffee and then I was on my way to Rudong. I was sad to leaving Yangkou but my time was up. I did contemplate staying a few days longer but I needed to head to Shanghai. It took just on 40 minutes to reach Rudong and the early morning drive was quite pleasant. I looked out of the window as we drove through rural areas that were just starting their day. Arrival in Rudong was as hectic as ever with every car, bus, van, motorbike, bicycle and rickshaw all tooting their horns all trying to compete the noisiest vehicle award. Above and below, shows the area of Rudong near the central bus station.
Well apart from construction cranes the only other cranes I saw this trip were these on the side of the coaches. I boarded the coach at 06:10 and each seat was taken. We left on time and a single stop on route allowed enough time for a cigarette and then it was on to Shanghai. The journey took just over 4 hours and was smooth enough. I headed for the same hotel where I stayed last time back in May. Grabbed a shower and jumped on the Metro to Luban Road. The reason for Luban Road was because I wanted to visit the famous camera centre here which has 5 floors, back to back and all are photography related.
I was amazed at all the camera shops and you name it was there, the first 2 floors were all selling new camera's with the remaining 3 floors selling equipment such as tripods, bags and secondhand equipment. I looked at the Canon 7D which I might add was £400 cheaper than in the UK. I looked at the new Canon S95 but couldn't see myself being able to use this without an adaptor as I don't seem to have as a steadier hand that I used to have and was surprised at the amount my hand was shaking. I did purchase a new carbon fibre tripod though, this being the 3rd I have had!
After spending a good few hours in the centre I left and headed back to the Metro, stopping with for a diet coke which I drank, whilst sitting, watching the world go busily by and then on to my hotel. I must say that the Chinese have got it right when it comes to under-ground railway travel. It is spotless, clean, easy to use, cheap and modern, so modern it is unreal.
Okay, just let me just run a few features of this metro system by you, above shows you, firstly that not all but most stations are fitted with PEDGE doors (platform edge) which is the same as on the Jubillee line extension, LU. They also provide, flat screen TV's with the latest, music, news & sport headlines, with a panel showing you where the train is on the traction current rail sections (same as a line controllers diagram) a countdown clock for the next train and the following train and also information showing you the last train through the station at night. Below shows that they have physical barriers throughout to prevent accidental slipping where they don't have PEDGE doors.
Below shows you the track, which is the one of the latest in track designs with flat bottom rail not the old bullhead which is still present in some areas of LU. CWR (continuous welded rail) no more "clickety click, clickety click" and concrete beds, not ballast. The journey itself is smooth but the average time between stations is 7 minutes and not 2 of LU, Oh" and one last thing, they have air-con on the trains themselves. Some years ago when in Singapore I used the MRT (mass rapid transit) and I was equally impressed with both of these under-ground railway systems. To be fair on LU they are doing a lot of upgrade works at present and have been doing so for nearly 9 years and also they are against the clock to try to get everything completed for the 2012 Olympic games. I grabbed a quick haircut and went for some food at one of the restaurants and when the guy lead me to a concrete pool full of Koi Carp that were swimming around and asked me to choose which one I wanted I declined and left, I am very particular when it comes to fish, Cod, Salmon, Tuna and the odd captains birds eye fish finger, which, lets face it, don't have any fish in them anyway but thats about my limit. I know that the Koi Carp are calendar material but I didn't want to play any part in bringing their day to end. I grabbed a pot of noodles and headed back to the hotel. I have been told that this blog can be to "birdie" of late and not enough travel posts so I hope this post balances it out a little for the travellers amongst you. I thank those of you who have started to leave comments, thank you and one last thing. Some one said to me recently that finding out where a Gull / wader was ringed is not that important, it is not real life and it got me thinking, had I become to obsessed with this ? I always thought it was important both for the birds and the relevant ringing schemes but maybe, just maybe that individual was right, maybe, just maybe..