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Published: July 13th 2015
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
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.
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