Shanghai can be interpreted in many ways. It could be that old-fashioned city from all those action movies, in which killer ladies fling themselves about in front of humble pagodas; or it could be a bundle of skyscrapers, cutting into the sunset. Which is less pretentious – the fashion capital of Asia or just the largest city in China?
We spent a total of fifty hours over two visits in Shanghai and we see it differently now. Here, everyone can find what they’re looking for, even if they only have a day or two.
We began with the old town and Yu Garden.
The old part of the city is entirely chaotic – it looks quite a bit like the backdrop to a fight scene in olden China. There are merchants and shouting everywhere, and everyone is on their own mission. The lunacy dissipates a bit on the undulating bridge to the Yu Garden, which, by the way, might be the only really silent and calm place in the entire city of twenty million.
Many regions in the center are called concessions. The explosive economic development coaxed foreigners in and Shanghai thrived on a steady international cultural and demographic flux ever since. In the French Concession, for example, you can walk on the small streets of Tianzifang, where laundry hangs overhead and merchants sell small souvenirs made of cans and silk.
This is the next charming spot, a sort of transition to commercialization and modernity. Here (the name of the place has been forgotten) you can get together for a bit with friends and try out different types of food. Truly a blessing for the foreigner after a few weeks in China.
Malls, malls, expensive hotels and cars, and then malls again. If you haven’t been to East Nanjing Road, you haven’t really experienced Shanghai. You could at least go to the underpass of the metro station Shanghai Railway Station, where you can buy about a hundred pairs of silicon socks or a power bank for 8 Euro.
The real treat in Shanghai, however, are The Bund at the Huangpu River and the glorious urban landscape of skyscrapers and lights. Interestingly enough, the views are quite different on the two sides of the river; thankfully, even if the weather isn’t cooperating, the lights will generally pierce the fog and you can see The Bund in all its magnificence, the pearly TV tower, the pedestrian roundabout and enjoy the light breeze and food to fit any taste.
|Can you guess what we’re standing on?|
|The pedestrian roundabout!|
This article was brought to you in English by Nick Kotsev.
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