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June 20th 2015
Published: June 27th 2015
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Have returned to Shanghai for the third time in my first stop of my fifth trip to China. The Maglev train 8-minute ride to Pudong from the airport at 325 km/hr once seemed so fast. Now, with so many bullet trains crossing China that customarily go close to 300 km/hr, it doesn’t feel that way anymore. Next time, I'll just take the subway all the way into town and back to the airport. It's slower, but you save the trouble of the carting of your luggage from the Maglev station to the subway to continue on into town.

Am based this stay on S. Yunnan Lu, just a short walk from People’s Park and the Shanghai museum. It is a wonderful food street with both a variety of restaurants and street food.

A long walk on my first full day was from a walking tour of “Old Shanghai” I found online at TimeOut, Shanghai. It took me through some of the remaining hutongs of Shanghai which are quickly disappearing. Last time here, during the Expo, there were stories of the fast disappearing hutongs, torn down to make way for new roads and subways. The disappearing act continues. The old antiques market area is closing in just a week to make way for a new high rise.

This walk passed the only small remaining portion of the original Shanghai City Wall, built to defend Shanghai from marauding Japanese pirates in the 16th century. It wound through streets with food, street vendors and more that reminded me why I return to China again and again. This isn’t the Shanghai of shopping malls and office towers, though they pop up occasionally on the way.

Then, a few blocks from this maze of older Shanghai I ran into the new, old Shanghai. An area called Xintandi. Now rebuilt and modernized as a mall. It was hosting a show called the Van Gough Experience, which is touring the world. It is a “new, interactive way to experience art”. The “Experience” is a 35 minute multi-screen projection covering Van Gough’s life and art.

A full range of experiences in just a few blocks in my first morning back in China.

The afternoon was another walk from TimeOut, this time promising a stroll through the contemporary art scene. The final destination was M50, an area of old factory buildings now art galleries and, just beyond that, a long wall of graffiti, where I happened across a section being repainted by a group of European artists.

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