Friday, December 3, 2010

Old Shanghai! New Shanghai! (part 1)

According to Wikipedia, Shanghai "... is a tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as the Bund and City God Temple, and its modern and ever-expanding Pudong skyline including the Oriental Pearl Tower." I went there during the summer (see July 30th blog) when it was wet and humid, and now I have some photos from Danny who went there recently during the cooler dry season. (You can see some of his Guangzhou pictures in my blog of 5 Nov 2010).

With a population of over 20 million, and over 100,000 foreign expats and nearly half million Taiwan and Hong Kong residents, there is plenty to see and do in Shanghai. Shanghai was the "Paris of the East" in the 1920s and attracted the rich and famous. Now it's your turn to enjoy the city! Old and new, traditional and modern, and Western and Oriental can be seen in the photos below. It was the most Westernised city in China in the last century, and seems set to be the most Westernised city in Asia this century.

Shanghai led the country after 1949 in terms of quality of industrial goods and fashion. It was everyone's dream to own a Forever brand bicycle (cost was up to 3 months salary, and a quota system under the planned economy always meant supply could not keep up with demand) or a Butterfly brand sewing machine or "White Rabbit" candies. Now that has changed with many dreaming of Shanghai made cars from the VW or GM joint venture factories in Shanghai (though the socialist market economy still means a waiting list of a few months for the more popular models, even though prices may now be up to one or two year's salary). Of course for the super rich, you just buy an imported Rolls Royce or Porsche (I'm sure many of the 60-odd USD billionaires in China live in Shanghai!). See Motor Show blog Apr 25th, 2009.

part 2 follows.

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