Aside from the cold and wet weather my trip to Shanghai was pretty good. The city stands out as being surprisingly un-Chinese with its mixture of stark modern skyscrapers, European colonial remnants and the odd monstrosity (see Oriental Pearl Tower above).
Having travelled from the warmer climes of Shenzhen my first port of call upon arriving was to buy a coat which I had stupidly neglected to bring. After warmth was taken care of it was time for sustenance which came by way of an interesting soup concoction of sweet rice wine with glutinous rice balls and even more rice served warm. Just by the smell you could tell the alcohol content was pretty high but it wasn’t unpleasant, especially on a cold day.
It was then time to have a prowl along the shores of Pudong and gaze up at the towering giants of commerce that line the eastern side of the shoreline. If cathedrals were the places of worship for our ancestors surely skyscrapers have replaced them as the new objects of wonder and mystical power. You can’t help drawing the analogy with the “Tower of Babel” here with each successive construction vying for the title of world’s highest.
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.Genesis 11:4
Construction has already begun on the 632 m “Shanghai Tower” which will be the tallest in China and one of the tallest in the world once complete in 2014. No signs of any recession around here!
On the opposite side of the Huangpu River, The Bund is a much more restrained affair where dozens of historical buildings that once housed numerous banks and trading houses from around the globe are situated. Planning has been much more carefully controlled here where new building heights are restricted.
Above: Nanjing Road East, where ’30s European architecture meets neon signage in an odd fusion of styles. It’s apparently the longest shopping street in the world at around 6km long. Think Oxford Street but even busier.
Below: A short video I put together from a few clips I shot along the way whilst freezing my hands off in the process (stay tuned for the bonus fish at the end!).
More mind-boggling architecture from Shanghai soon.