Friday, June 1, 2012


Shanghai is located on the Yangtze River Delta at the mouth of the Yangtze River and has the largest population in the world at 23 million. It hosts one of the busiest ports on the world which played a significant role in the opium war between Britain and China in the 1800's. In the 1930's shanghai was the financial hub in Asia and boasted to be the Paris of the east. There is an area in shanghai called the french connection and this area still reflects the french influence and architecture of that period. All of this changed when the communist party took over after the second world war and shanghai did not maintain its economic status. In the 1990's with new economic reforms shanghai started an intense redevelopment returning to be a major financial centre in Asia. The city is divided by the huangpu river, on the city centre side all the colonial buildings dating back to the 1930's are located. Here the riverside has undergone a major redevelopment to create a spectacular walkway (this area is called The Bund) which opened in 2010. On the other side of the river the pudong area has undergone a massive redevelopment over the last fifteen years and a number of major financial institutions are located in this area. Shanghai now boasts of being the New York of the east. Looking at the pudong area especially at night when the buildings are illuminated it looks more like something from outer space with all the ultra modern buildings and lights. Shanghai in appearance reminds me of Hong Kong.

The city is very clean and although I hit a bit of a cooler patch it is generally in the mid-twenties this time of year. Compared to Beijing, shanghai is a much more cosmopolitan city with all kinds of shopping everywhere. Shanghai also has a greater sense of fashion awareness than Beijing and you can see that by how people dress Of course you can buy anything here so I could not resist being taken into a little back room to purchase my Gucci watch. Vernette this room was smaller than the ones we visited in new York and it was only me and the vendor and his locked boxes of goods. I must admit I had a bit of fun with the negotiations and I wonder how long my Gucci will last?

I spent $50 for a 48 hour hop on off tour. Three different routes, one where I got off at the Yu Gardens famous for food and shopping all located in traditional Chinese buildings. I was able to locate the famous dumpling shop and stood in line for 1/2 hour to get some of the best dumplings I have ever tasted. I also tried the the curry soft shelled crab - yummy. I just watch where the Chinese are eating and order what they order because I can't read the signs and the vendors don't speak english. I went on the river cruise in the evening - it was spectacular with all the buildings illuminated. The next day I finished the routes and visited the jade temple and people's park. Then I ventured out for shanghai Chinese food. The staff was great and pointed out what I should order it had beef, vegetables and some kind of fungus but it was delicious and I did not hang over the toilet afterwards!



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