I took the bullet train from Beijing to shanghai 4 hour and 48 minute journey at a speed of over 300 mph, very nice, affordable ($81), comfortable and a great way to see some of the countryside along the way. Amazing how green the countryside is and how polluted the air is even two hours outside of Beijing - you may be able to see the pollution in some of the pictures - all of these pictures taken through the window of the bullet train.
I did have a bit of drama with my bank card as neither of them would work on several ATM's so when I arrived in shanghai at night I only had enough cash for a McDonald's supper - yuk! You can use credit cards for some things in china but for food, sightseeing and shopping you need cash. The next day I found an HSBC bank and was able to use my debit card - hallelujah !
My hotel in shanghai is mediocre but is in a great location so I can walk everywhere. The customer service in china needs some help - the bellboys sleep on the couches in the lobby when they are not busy - and the staff are not exactly friendly.
There seems to be a bit more english in shanghai but still a struggle with the language barrier and a number of the tourists are europeans who speak limited english. Quite cool here (well compared to the weather i have been use to) in the high teens, so I am thankful I have brought a few warm pieces of clothing.