Shanghai (6-12 Jul 15)

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July 10th 2015
Published: July 13th 2015
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Shanghai selfie!Shanghai selfie!Shanghai selfie!

On the bund, with the now-famous Pudong skyline in the background.
And with a quick hop and a step (on the high speed rail again) and less than an hour later, I had arrived at my intended final destination of the China leg of my trip - at the iconic eastern coastal port city of Shanghai.

Given it's impossibly high skyscrapers these days jostling for real estate with colonial era-like buildings along the Bund, thinking of Shanghai as being just like any other port city would be quite inaccurate. Shanghai today is the commercial heart of the world's second largest economy, and the eyes of its populace have been flashing renminbi signs ever since it was first forced open to foreign commercial trade at the end of the first Opium Wars. Despite the implicated national shame of being subjugated to hostile foreign will, these events could conceivably be interpreted as a blessing in disguise, as like Hong Kong, ever since those early days in the 1840s, Shanghai has zoomed ahead in economic development, and never looked back. If one wants to understand China's economic miracle of the past few decades, one can do no better than by starting in Shanghai.

A friend of mine recently claimed there's a Chinese saying
Shanghai TowerShanghai TowerShanghai Tower

This pretty much sums up the city. Neon stock ticker running below, with a soaring skyscraper behind, so tall I couldn't even get it fully in the picture! That's the Shanghai Tower, which tops out at over 600m, over 120 storeys, tallest in China, and second tallest in the world just behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Simply awe-inspiring.
along these lines -- When you go to Beijing, you realise how small your own position in government is (because all the top officials are there); when you go to Guangdong, you realise how poorly you've been eating your whole life (because the food there is so good); when you go to Sichuan, you realise you've married too early (because the girls there are so pretty); and when you go to Shanghai, you realise how little money you have (because everything is so expensive there). It's actually a lot more eloquent when said in Mandarin. but anyway I presume you get the drift. Having now been to all four places, I can attest to at least some partial truth in all of them, but especially about prices in Shanghai! But oh well, what are you going to do with your remaining Mao's notes, if you're leaving the country soon anyway?

Stayed at Goldmet Inn.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 23


French ConcessionFrench Concession
French Concession

Restored shikumen from days of yore.
The BundThe Bund
The Bund

One of the most curious things I've seen yet -- the four birds are each positioned at the corners of this platform, watching the waters. Every now and then, one of them swoops quite slowly, hovers just over the water, and then picks up a surprisingly large-sized fish. It seems the birds have come to some sort of truce or arrangement with regards to this piece of prime real estate.
The BundThe Bund
The Bund

A pleasant elevated board walk promenade overseeing the Huangpu River. Apparently the word "bund" has Anglo-Indian origins meaning embankment of some sort. This is probably Shanghai's historically most significant area, where the small fishing port starting booming commercially with the beginnings of various foreign trading concessions after the Opium Wars.
Shanghai Urban Planning ExhibitionShanghai Urban Planning Exhibition
Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition

Incredibly elaborate model of the city. Reminds me of the corresponding one back home at the URA building in Singapore.
Shanghainese DumplingsShanghainese Dumplings
Shanghainese Dumplings

Who says everything in Shanghai is expensive? Ok almost everything is, but to my pleasant surprise, I found this place with almost unreal dumpling prices -- RMB7 for six pork ones, and RMB9 for five crab ones. Total under USD3. There's the receipt for proof too!
Oriental Pearl TV TowerOriental Pearl TV Tower
Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Not quite the tallest, but arguably the most visible, given its unique structure. Definitely one of the stars of the Pudong skyline.
Pudong Financial DistrictPudong Financial District
Pudong Financial District

And the Lujiazui roundabout.
Shanghai History MuseumShanghai History Museum
Shanghai History Museum

And a lovely mock up of an old Shanghainese opera teahouse.
St Ignatius CathedralSt Ignatius Cathedral
St Ignatius Cathedral

Nice juxtaposition with the traditional Chinese looking temple-like roof at the top of the other building in the background.

Interesting electronic board that monitors the number of people in the warrens, as well as the total number of visitors for the day.

Cool T-shirt shop, displays almost like art pieces. Fairly reasonable prices too, I think mostly under RMB100 (USD16).

Some things just don't go away. Notwithstanding the rapid development of the city all round, this old-fashioned wet market remains.

Spongebob welcomes you!

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