Shanghai Journals

Shanghai

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An October 2004 trip to Shanghai by Barb in BC

Shanghai Skyline Photo, Shanghai, China More Photos
Quote: This is part of a larger work called "China--Land of Majesty, Mystery, and Misery"--ISBN #0-9737959-0-5. The numerals relate to chapter numbers in that larger work.

37. Moving Up in Shanghai

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Shanghai Skyline Photo, Shanghai, China
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MOVING UP IN SHANGHAI The city of Shanghai pulses with vigour, colour, and energy. It rightly claims Chinese superlatives for many reasons. 1) It is the largest and most densely populated city with 20 million people. 2) It is relatively the youngest and most modern of the nation’s big cities. At the head of the Yangtze River, it began as the trade portal for the western world. 3) It is the busiest and wealthiest city because it is now the portal for Western development and outsourcing. Buick and Volkswagen have plants in Shanghai. 4) Shanghai is consequently experiencing the fastest growth with the most new construction. Laced in scaffolding, Shanghai is booming. 5) It has the best sh...Read More

38. Yuyuan Garden

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Prize Rocks Photo, Shanghai, China
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YUYUAN GARDEN Entry to Yuyuan Garden is through an old temple area. Today this has been converted into a mass of tourist shops. We were hastily ushered past their temptations. The garden was built in 1577 by a prominent member of the Pan family to provide a private place of rest and beauty for the enjoyment of his elderly parents. The name was chosen because "Yu" in Chinese means peace and health. It took twenty years and nearly all of the man’s savings to create this beautiful retreat. It suffered neglect and destruction over the years but was restored within the last forty to become a popular tourist destination. The garden today is a place of peace and comfort in the hea...Read More

39. Silk Carpets

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Show Room Photo, Shanghai, China
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SILK CARPETS There is evidence that tufted, knotted carpets with coloured designs were produced in China 25 centuries ago. These were made from wool in the south, while goat or camel hair was used in the north. Silk began to be employed for Imperial carpeting about 400 years ago. Silk carpets are cool to the touch and provide varying nuances of colour depending upon the direction of lighting--qualities that may be the origin of the magic-carpet legend. We were to learn much about varying qualities, designs, and textures during a visit to a silk-carpet factory in Shanghai. We would also learn about the toil of the carpet makers and about the toll it takes upon their lives. ...Read More

40. The Bund and Beyond

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Old and New Photo, Shanghai, China
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THE BUND AND BEYOND The Bund is the Shanghai waterfront, and that waterfront is best seen from a raised viewpoint near the heart of the old city. When the smog lifts, it is also a fine place to see the modern skyline of the emerging megatropolis across the harbour. Yangtze River traffic is extremely heavy in this Shanghai port. Junks and tiny sampans compete for the current with huge ocean-going tankers and cruise ships. One wonders how these many craft manage to avoid collisions. After our look-see from this viewpoint, we were turned loose upon the nearby shopping region for a couple of hours. We shopped in upscale, snooty boutiques and department stores until we foun...Read More

41. The Grand Finale

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Theatre Entrance Photo, Shanghai, China
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THE GRAND FINALE The finale of our Chinese adventure was indeed a grand one. That last night, we attended the Shanghai Ballet/Circus/Acrobat performance. It seemed to be called all of those things in different circles, and it was all of those things—synchronized choreography, colour and dazzling derring-do, and incredible feats of acrobatics and balance on a grand scale. It was nonstop thrilling. We held our breath many times because we feared the slightest stir might tip some delicate and dangerous equilibrium and bring it all crashing down. What a show! How many poses can be performed while balancing whirling plates on long rods? Do those women contortionists have rubber spines...Read More