New Old Shanghai

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Jul 15, 2008

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Friday, July 13, 2007

July 13, 2007
Shanghai, China
Opposite the Bund, across the Huangpu River, is the modern part of Shanghai called Pudong. From what we read this area was mostly swamp land until the 1990 when it was turned into a modern up to date city. When we walk along the Bund we can't help wondering what life is like over there with all the tall skyscrapers and towers. So today we are going to explore Pudong.
To get to the other side we take the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. This is a tunnel that runs under the river and little people mover cars take us to the other side. It is a Disney Land knock off. You run through a light show which makes the ride entertaining. At the terminal building on the Pudong side the first thing that catches our eyes is the Chinese Sex Culture and Health Museum. The health part seems to have been added as an afterthought, because there was nothing about health there. From here we go to what we call the space needle, we've been taking photos of this ultra modern spire from across the river. The real name is the Jinmao Tower. This is the tower which that crazy French guy got arrested climbing because he forgot to get prior authorization. It is supposed to be the third tallest tower in the world. Tickets for the Tourist Tunnel and Tower cost 210 yuan for both of us.
From 88th floor we can see the Brandname Shopping Mall a few blocks away but because the weather is overcast the view is not that great for us. But we decide to check out the Mall. This is a huge mall. Malls in China are not those sprawling complexes we know, but vertical complexes. There were about 8 or nine stories connected by escalators and sloping floors. The shops were all modern western brand name stores, but strangely we found nothing to buy. The clothing designs in particular were just a little off and repetitious. Nothing like the exciting fashions we saw in Hong Kong. But on the marquee we saw that there is a Hooters restaurant here.
This evening we took a taxi to visit our new friends Elley and Kay at their elegant home in a gated and highly secured golf course development in Pudong. Kay is from Grand Rapids and has been living and working in China for several years. He uses the name Kay here because it is easier for the Chinese to pronounce. Elley is Chinese and apparently from an upper class family because she told us about vacationing in Borneo. Young people we've talk to on the streets tell us that they would like to visit America and could get a US visa but can't get a passport from their government. We will be returning to Kay and Elley's home for the party tomorrow night and they have invited us to stay over so we can go to the airport from here.

July 14, 2007
Because we are going to spend this night at the party in Pudong we check out of the Astor Hotel and they store our bags while we go off for some tea at the famous Huxinting Teahouse. We also wander around the Yuyuan Bazaar area. This area is more like the China we had been expecting but hadn't found until now. The places we've visited so far in China have all been modern and western, but here are the crowded teaming streets and old rundown buildings of postcard China.
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