We left Hong Kong behind, flying to the mainland in search of the real China. Instead, we found Shanghai.

It started with the train.

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVodcVpoLgM”]

With that kind of Disneyland introduction to the city, you’d be expecting a modern, slightly zany megalopolis. And Shanghai didn’t disappoint.

Architecture buffs, be sure to bring an extra battery for your camera. So much to snap.

Yet Shanghai isn’t just a mirror image of Hong Kong. We are in mainland China now, and never is that more clear than when you boot up your computer… and it doesn’t work like it used to.

Facebook is blocked here. So is YouTube. So are certain blogging platforms, like blogspot. Searching Google yields a list of results, but clicking on one often leads to a mysterious “server error.” Links to some CNN news stories are similarly disabled.

For the last eight months, our habit has been to return to our hotel at the end of the day and hit the web, catching up on world news and researching what we’ve seen. Not here.

Welcome to the real China.