It often seems like Shanghai gets compared to New York. Both cities are high density metropolises with some of the richest people in their respective countries. Both have interesting old and new architecture.
Last night I went to Din Tai Feng 鼎泰灃 in Shanghai, and was quite impressed. The quality of tea served exceeded that of the original Taipei location. The original Taipei location still has the best service and foodstuffs, however. Shanghai also has some good restaurants, though I was unable to located my beloved Mexican food on this particular trip.
So what is missing from Shanghai that New York has? A 24 hour subway. The subway is growing by leaps and bounds, with 96 stations opened on December 26th, 2007 – but the subway is not open long enough. When I wanted to get back to my hotel last night (located near the new line 8, south of People’s Square), I was able to buy a token. At 9:30pm. Once I got to People’s Square to transfer to line 8, I found the last train in that direction leaves at 9:24PM. Hong Kong, Taipei, and Macau are 24 hour cities. There is always something to do, and by something to do, I mean something other than entering convenience stores or nightclubs. Shanghai does not.
I was not impressed that I had to walk three blocks to get a taxi either – the early close of the subway forces a lot of people to flag down taxis, but only so many can appear at the second-largest subway station in Shanghai, served by three separate lines. I was not the only one peeved by the early closing of the subway, and I was the only foreigner stuck there…
Back in Seoul, I am happy about one thing for sure – the first train here leaves the station around 4:30pm, and the last around midnight.