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Skyscrapers and Alleyways

April 12, 2011

After I bought my ticket back to the U.S. from Japan in December, I wanted to do one final jaunt. The cheapest and most interesting option from Japan was Shanghai, that’s when I decided on spending a solid seven days in the city.

The business capital of mainland China, Shanghai is a modern, world class city and immensely interesting. It has all the usual western amenities: Starbucks, McDonald’s, KFC, the Gap, malls, a subway system and art museums. Most interesting of all is how fast this city has grown in the past twenty years. Here’s a look at what the cityscape looked like in 1990:

via SkyscraperCity

And here’s what that same grassy plot of land looked like when I saw it 21 years later:

The Pudong Skyline

Across the river from this young, vibrant financial district is The Bund. Initially a British settlement, it later housed many of foreign banks and trading houses, turning it into the financial hub if East Asia. This foreign development in the area lent itself to the construction of many remarkable buildings in styles ranging from Neo-Classical to Art Deco.

The Bund in the daytime

The Bund

The Bund at night

The Bund at night

The Customs House, an 8 story gothic style building with a clock tower.

The Customs House

Another popular destination in Shanghai is Nanjing Road, a pedestrian shopping street similar to New York’s 5th Avenue or Tokyo’s Ginza. It’s especially spectacular to see at night.

Nanjing Road at night lit with dozens of neon.

A Neo-Classical hotel on Nanjing Road

While Shanghai is a huge metropolitan city with a lot of western influences, it is still very much a Chinese city with traditional architecture right next to a modern skyscraper.

A traditional styled Chinese gate in the street.

A crowded shopping district.

A tea house in a pond.

The China Pavilion from Expo 2010

The China Pavilion from Expo 2010

The Shanghai World Financial Center, left, and the Jim Mao Tower. The 4th and 7th tallest buildings in the world, respectively.

The view from the Shanghai World Financial Center, the tallest observation deck in the world.


Another view from the World Financial Center. Notice those masses of colored roofs, which are all housing complexes.

Just to make this clear, the woman on the right is using power lines as clotheslines.


Locals conversing in a park with the Oriental Pearl TV tower in the background.

People's Square

Sculptures within People's Square.

Since the Chinese New Year was just a month earlier, this years animal, the rabbit, was everywhere.

Man vs.

Yes, that is Man vs. Wild graffiti.

Inside the M50 art compound.

The American basketball has a pretty big advertising presence in Shanghai. When mentioning that I was from Miami the Heat were always brought up. "LeBron James! Dwayne Wade!"

The Shanghai Metro mascot.

The Metro crowds really give Tokyo a run for its money.

People gathering in a park singing songs.

My great hostel friends Lao Yang and Rain, fashion photographers from Beijing in town for work.

McDonald's does foot delivery in Shanghai.

It was just okay.

The Shanghai dish, soup dumpling.

To be honest, the food in Shanghai was disappointing, the best meal I had was just alright.

My plan was always to spend the entirety of my 7 days in Shanghai, I wanted to take my time and relax. My only trip outside of the city center was to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town in the Shanghai suburbs. The town was amazing, I got there just as the sun was setting and the color was beautiful.

I met a lot of great people in Shanghai and saw just as many interesting things. Going to China absolutely put a lot of the news I read about the country into perspective and was a great experience.

One Comment
  1. Sue Moran permalink
    April 21, 2011 2:51 am

    Kate just got back from being in China for 3 weeks for work and a week for with her MBA class. She was in Bejing, Hong Kong, and somewhere else I can’t remember. She spent her last week there in Shanghi.

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