Shanghai Journals

Enter the Dragon: The Dynamic City of Shanghai

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A September 2005 trip to Shanghai by actonsteve

A scene of classical China.. Photo, Shanghai, China More Photos
Quote: The murky exotic colonial port of yore has turned into a high-tech mecca. The city of Eastern sin returns to its decadent capitalist roots.

Enter the Dragon: The Dynamic City of Shanghai

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Overview

The China of the watercolour Photo, Shanghai, China
Quote:
Shanghai!!City of Oriental mystery.City with a history of Opium dens, Chinese gangsters, exiled white Russians, sing-song girls and colonials climbing out of rickstraws pulled by pig-tailed Chinamen. That was the old Shanghai, the Shanghai of fifty years ago. The new Shanghai is a roaring dragon - a city with a space age skyline, neon lights and fast consumer lifestyle. Shanghai sets itself apart from the rest of China. The city has its own identity - a buzz and energy that is simply intoxicating. It has one eye on the past but is careening, with one foot on the accelerator towards the future.Although the original Chinese town (Yu Yuan) is still around, the...Read More

Metropole Hotel

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Hotel | "The Metropole Hotel - "the Claridges of the East""

Metropole Hotel Photo, Shanghai, China
Quote:
Shanghai may be going through a renaissance, but it has gone through a "golden age" before.I refer to the nineteen thirties - the era of "decadent" nightlife, fleets of coolies, opium dens, turf wars, and gangsters called 'Big Eared Lu'. An era when a handful of families, such as the Hardoons and Sassoons, ran the city. And to cater to the high society lifestyle of these "imperialist running dogs" art deco treasures such as the "Peace" and "Cathay" hotels were built - each one the byword for style and luxury. The guidebooks called them "The Claridges of the East".And so it is with the Metropole Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in Shanghai. Built by Sir Victor Sassoon in 193...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 23, 2006

Metropole Hotel
180 Jiangxi Zhong Road
Shanghai 200002
+86 (21) 63213030

Capitalist Shanghai - the TV Tower Photo, Shanghai, China
Quote:
For all its high-tech, Western-looking image Shanghai is Chinese from its head to its toes.Walking the streets of the old Chinese town is such an evocative experience. Its the smells which hit you first - the hot humid smell of dumpling early in the morning. Young men park their bicycles and collect them in wicker pots to eat later. The commuter traffic of bicycles is quite a sight. They congregate at zebra crossings and ring their bells furiously if anyone gets in their way.When they go into their offices their bicycles are chained together like a herd of animals. And in this country of barely any crime they seem content with simple security. And of course there are the grimy bicycle repa...Read More
The Western architecutural style of The Bund Photo, Shanghai, China
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"There are people riding or gyrating daily on the race course. Those who prefer gossip to exercise frequent the Bund, a broad quay which extends the whole length of the Settlement, and which is crowded with Chinese porters all the morning and sprinkled with European ladies and gentlemen in the afternoon. The harmony and hospitality of Shanghai make it infinitely the most agreeable place of residence in China." Mr. Laurrence Oliphant, 1856 I would agree with that. In fact Shanghai has become my favourite place to visit in Asia. I loved my time in Thailand and India, two unique cultures to be sure, but Shanghai was so user-friendly. The weather wasn't crippling, the infr...Read More
Photo of Shanghai, China
Quote:
One of the best things to do in Shanghai is come to the Bund promenade at night and watch the skyline of Pu Dong across the river.This is the eastern bank of the Huangpu river. Twenty years ago it was just misty marshes but nowadays is a proud example of the new China with colossal skyscrapers and cutting-edge architecture. The king of them all is the Pearl Oriental TV Tower. A number of globes dot its base but its ramrod straight stem soars 1500ft into the air. The final globe is just under its sword-like point and red strobes run down its sides.It is very striking at night as it seems to flash with red movement. A few hundred metres away is the Aurora skyscraper, a skyscraper so huge tha...Read More
The full sweep of Nanjing Lu Photo, Shanghai, China
Quote:
What is it with cities and neon lights?Are they candles drawing people in from the surrounding countryside? Is it a competition to see who can dazzle the greater number of people? Is there something about city living that has to be bigger, brighter and more exciting then anything else?These were all thoughts that crowded my dazzled brain when I viewed "Nanking Road" at night. The sheer exuberance and nightly light show were my favourite thing to do in Shanghai. And a nightly wander from 'The Bund' to Renmin Square was like traversing an oriental Las Vegas. Each building was covered in 10ft high Chinese characters moving and pulsating in a myriad of colours. Crowds rush too and ...Read More
Willows, carp and water - how Chinese.. Photo, Shanghai, China
Quote:
Despite Shanghais dogged march into the future and its obcession with chrome, glass and making buildings even taller - there is still enough Old China left in Shanghai to excite visitors.For tucked away is the Yu Yuan gardens which is a touch of classical China. The China of the Ming vases and winged pagodas. The Yu Yuan gardens and bazaar take you to an era of humpbacked bridges, goldfish filled ponds and drooping willows. The China of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. Old Cathay is still here, although wrapped in tourist silk for Shanghais many visitors. Foreign suits are shown Yu Yuan on their business trips to Shanghai - and in response it is a little like a Chinese Disneyland. But ...Read More