Vibrant Shanghai

Trip Start Mar 20, 2009
Trip End Jul 15, 2010

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shanghai is about Beijing size: approx 15M people. The comparison ends here. The city is a lot more international and vibrant. It is walk-able, has nice art deco districts like the French Concession, is stuffed with fancy restaurants and bars from all cultures. The Huangpu River splits the older part of the city - the Bund - with the modern one - Pudong. It has its own history (not the same kind of history as Xi'an or Beijing though) and influence from the British, French and Japanese. It was Asia's biggest port at the beginning of the 20th century thanks to the trade of opium, silk and tea and was known as the "Whore of Asia"... The Chinese communist party was formed here and the city hosted the 'Gang of 4 ' during the Cultural Revolution. The Gang was made of Mao Zedong's last wife Jiang Qing and communist associates and has been charged with a series of crimes during the cultural revolution.

CCP House: the red house was the site of the 1st national congress of the CCP and now a major Chinese communist historical site and museum promoting communism's amazing virtues.
Just across the Bund, very modern Pudong includes museums, big hotels, the Jinmao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center. 

The Bund is made of old NY style buildings mostly converted in trendy shops, bars or restaurants and a big pedestrian avenue (currently under construction for the coming Shanghai World Expo 2010) along the Huangpu River passing through the city. For Anne's last night in China we went to have dinner in the trendy 'M on the Bund' restaurant with great views on the river and Pudong District. 

In one word this city has a spirit. And apart from the heavy humidity (annual average of 75%) and heat, I find it quite live-able. 

I met my good buddy Charlie from Thunderbird school, now successfully working in marketing for a petroleum company who invited me to taste some of Shanghai's best dim sum's called 'xiaolongbao', accompanied with local white wine. Yummm!!. And great time catching up.

After a few days of good food, fun and exploration I took the 18h train to Hong Kong. At this stage of my trip I have no more commitments (eg: planned encounters with friends or family) on the road ahead so I'll be taking it even more as it comes.

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