Thursday, May 01, 2008

Photo Essay: Shanghai

I loved Shanghai. It had that wonderful, bustling feeling of East meets West. Since it was under British rule in the early 1900's there are a lot of old colonial style buildings and lots of mixed feelings about that heritage. However, there is also fresh excitement about China on a swift ride to something better.

But the weather? Not so great. We could hardly see the skyline at all, which boasts the third tallest building in the world. This area is called The Bund which kept reminding me of "cumberbund". I'm sure there is a better explanation out there, but I prefer this strange reference to unfashionable men's wear.

Eric and I have a running joke based on the ridiculous U.S Weekly Magazine feature "Stars! They're just like us!They grocery shop!" Etc. Etc. Ad infinitum. We alter it a bit; "Chinese! They're just like us! They also adorn every possible surface with advertising!" This has yet to get old.

A rooftop in Old Shanghai. I loved the grass growing between the tiles.

This fellow seemed to be vaguely engaged in cleaning out a filtration system of this murky pond. My dislike of koi has two sources. One, their ponds are inevitably foul smelling and a stagnant shade of green. Two, while Eric was at Northwestern, we used to visit a little duck pond where ducks and koi would engage in violent death struggles to win the scraps of bread people offered. That image has stayed with me.

We got sucked into the tourist trap shopping area which was a maze cleverly designed to deny every chance of escape. At least there was a Starbucks. There was also a restaurant offering the following: "Steamed dumpling containing the ovary and digestive glands of the Crad." We visited neither establishment.

Roasted chestnuts always remind me of Charles Dickens novels, lumps of coal and fingerless gloves. But here they are in Shanghai in Spring. Go figure.

Here are a wide selection of tea cookies. Predictably, they aren't as sweet as a Westerner might expect, but they are very light and crisp. My favorite is made with sesame seeds and honey and absolutely melts in your mouth.

Vegetable sales and cobbler services conveniently located curbside.

After almost a year in China we have adjusted to life without a dryer. In Shenzhen every balcony is festooned with drying laundry. In Shanghai, balconies must be harder to come by, because in their place were poles affixed to the sides of the buildings. Even the high rises had them, giving the buildings the look of a massive prickling cactus. It gave me vertigo to see the mens shirts billowing in the wind on the thirtieth floor. After all, someone had to put them there.

Old makes way for new.

Eric in a familiar pose. Where would we be without Lonely Planet?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a contrast to the other photos!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...