Sunday, December 19, 2010

Old Shanghai! New Shanghai! (part 2)

Various colonial powers like the British, French, and Japanese, as well as German, Russian and Jewish immigrants have left their mark on Shanghai, so a walk around this city can be very interesting. Or if you jog, as a recent China Daily contributor did, be ready for ".....bikes, cars, scooters, children, dogs, giant carts of vegetables wheeled by tiny women, uneven pavements, men sleeping on lounge chairs in the middle of the footpath, buckets of fish heads, families walking five-wide (and holding hands), dance classes, badminton...". If you're tired, then take the metro, which has 10 lines in total and reaches almost every corner of the city. It also connects with the maglev line to Pudong airport - an amazing 7 min ride at 400km/hr+.

 Shanghai Expo (see blog July 2010) was a great boost to the local economy, and also the city government carried out a general clean-up and gave main buildings and houses a facelift. It seems however that all is back to normal now, including pollution levels. Contractors are rushing to complete building works delayed because of the temporary halt during the Expo.

There is a contrasting mix of old and new architecture and buildings. Beware of high-rise buildings under construction - every has been talking about the recent tragic fire when 58 died, an unfortunate mix of a new high-rise building and old low-rise firefighting equipment, and unlicensed welders. Also beware of the pretty girls. Shanghainese girls are known for being very strong, and the husbands for being hen-pecked.

 We would be happy to take you on a walking tour of the French concession, or browse around Tian Zi Fang, the new "hip" area built around old workshops. It's Shanghai's answer to the 798 art zone in Beijing, or explore the night life.

Or, for the more adventurous, take the high-speed train to Hangzhou (Paradise on Earth, see blog Aug 2010), only 30 mins away now... or go to Suzhou, "Venice of the East"....or take a ride on the longest road bridge over the sea, all 36km of it, to get to Ningbo in only 2 hours, and visit this historic old seaport and modern commercial centre...or 5 hrs by train to Beijing ( well not quite yet, but watch this space after end of 2011)...the list goes on!And if you can really wait, then go to Shanghai Disneyland in the year 2013. It may resemble Disneyland Paris - quite fitting for Shanghai to become Paris of the East again. (Photos courtesy of Danny).

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