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 (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 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. 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 amazing virtues. Pudong
: just across the Bund, this very recent area includes museums, big hotels, the Jinmao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center. The Bund:
the Bund includes old NY style buildings most converted in trendy shops, bars or restaurants and a big pedestrian avenue (currently under construction for Shanghai 2010 world coming expo) along the Huangpu river passing through the city. 'M on the Bund': for Anne's last night in China we went dinner to the trendy 'M on the Bund' restaurant, with great view 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 good friend Charlie
from Thunderbird school, now successfully working in marketing for a petroleum company who invited me to taste some of Shanghai best dim sum called 'xiaolongbao
', accompanied with local white wine. Yummm!!. 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 had no more commitments (eg: planned meetings with friends or family) on the road ahead so I'll be taking it even more as it comes.