I am currently sitting in my room on the 15th floor of a hotel near the Shanghai Science Museum metro station, watching an electrical storm fork across the sky accompanied by a soundtrack of annoyed honks from those cars gridlocked on the road below. This hotel room is not my intended accommodation for the night however it has been an interesting night not to say the least.
The plane got into Shanghai at 6:30pm – right on schedule, and I attempted to take airport bus number three to my accommodation in the French Concession area of Shanghai. After waiting for 20 minutes and still no sign of the bus (due every 5 mins) I decided I would take the Maglev train and metro instead.
The Maglev is a magnetic levitating train which runs at speeds of 300 km/hour and leans in at about 30° so as to navigate curves. It travels 30km in 8 minutes at which point you can transfer to the normal metro lines to get to your destination.
Line 2 of the metro, which is the one I needed, had had some sort of incident and after travelling just 2 stops, it was shut down completely and everyone told to get off the train. I needed just one more stop on this line and I was due to change to line 9 anyway, and so I spent about an hour with 3/4 of the other passengers waiting for the train to run again (or another option, as it was suggested by the train guys, was to make a ginormous loop around the city using 6 other metro lines and approach my destination from the opposite direction).
No one had actually figured out why the subway was no longer working, but all the people now pushed above ground to find other options had effectively gridlocked the roads.
I decided I had enough after discovering my chances of getting a taxi were non-existent, and walked to the nearest hotel instead. It had been a long day, and all I wanted was a bed in which I could lie flat and a cold shower.
Is had begun to rain and as I walked through the mist with the lightning forking across the sky, skyscrapers outlined with different coloured neon lights ahead of me,I felt like I was in a scene from Blade Runner.
I found out later that night courtesy of the internet I was allowed access to (China blocks a lot of sites, and certainly all the blog sites I generally use), the thunderstorms had caused a freak flood which had then flooded part of line 2. The traffic jams lasted over 6 hours, and the metro started running again at 11pm, but with the crowds still needing to be transported, it would take a while to actually get on a carriage. And as for me, I was tucked up in my 15th floor room, saved by my Visa card.