Monday, 31 May 2010

Shanghai - Day 13 - Shanghai Old Street, The Bund

sunny 25 °C

Were starving and decided to go to Shanghai Old Street for some good grubs and sightseeing.

I only re-visited the Nanjing Road because it's on the way to the Bund. As far as cloth shopping is concerned, Atta was disappointed with Nanjing Rd. Nanjing Rd is known as China's best shopping street. And the operative word being 'China'. Indeed, there're many boutique cater for Chinese tourists and some of the fashion styles are somewhat appealing to my grandma, and to a lesser extent my mum. Hauihai Middle Rd is more to Atta's liking, but not her budget.

I decided to re-visit the Bund in this trip for her sake as she hadn't been here in this trip. It was a nice day with blue sky. Yes, Neither the typical mist/fog that usually blankets Shanghai or the so called pollution particulate matter were present. Visibility is high. Best day to go up to one of the observation towers (which we haven't done). It was a nice and mild day until 6:30 when the weather turned windy and old. I was decidedly under-dressed.

Shanghai is the most cosmopolitan city in China. In fact, probably in the world. NY City is very multicultural (a term not quite fashionable in USA compares to Canada where they invented the term. USA prefers melting pot while Canada is happy with a salad bowl), but not cosmopolitan. Canadian is obviously much more healthier (from eating greens). I define cosmopolitan city as a city with transient foreign workforce and businessmen passing through (the Gulf States - especially Dubai - is the only other place on earth that rivals, in fact, exceeds the kind of cosmopolitanism of Shanghai that I'm talking about). In Shanghai, many of the foreigners are expats workforce as supposed to migrants. The only migrant workforce in China are coming from other parts of China. Many expats end up spending their lives here, luring by their very cosmopolitanism - a personality trait that Shanghai stuck since the signing of the Treaty of Nanking/Nanjing (except for the brief interlude between the founding of PRC in 1949 and the Opening up in 1978). I guess it's apt that Nanjing Road is the main street of Shanghai leading to centre of the Bund.

Shanghai tourists sat on the steps/bleachers of the promenade on the Bund, all facing Pudong, enjoyed the sweeping city skyline. Isn't this a great metaphor? The old European Colonial buildings that represent the past are behind us in Puxi, while the modern skyscrapers in Pudong are spreading in front of us. Pudong used to be nothing but a patch of rice paddies had now morphed into a modern financial centre of China. Isn't that another picture perfect metaphor? Pudong symbolises in concrete (and glass and steel) term that China is transforming itself from an agricultural economy into an industrial one since 1978. Pudong is showcasing that striving.

After 6pm, the weather suddenly turned cold. I was decidedly under dressed, but I braved the cold because I wanted to wait for the illumination of Pudong to start at 7pm.

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