Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Shanghai: Pudong and the Bund

The next day we headed over the Pudong, Shanghai's gleaming new business district, and the Bund, on the other side of the river, the famous stretch of old Western style buildings dating from when Shanghai was a foreign concession port. We kept with what had become our Shanghai protocol by managing to get lost within about three seconds of leaving the subway.

We were heading for the Jinmao Tower, the rather stately building on the left, rather than the one that looks like a giant wine bag. Infuriatingly, we could see it, but just couldn't work out how to get there as the road was blocked by construction. We did try to walk through the construction site, and were stopped by a security guard who helpfully pointed out to us the direction we should go in so I suppose that we were probably not the first people to do that in desperation! We even ended up being followed by some other tourists who were even more confused that we were. I did feel tempted to tell them that of all the people in Shanghai that they should trail to the Jinmao Tower, we were the very last they should have chosen!

But eventually we got there, and enjoyed the breathtaking views over Shanghai. I did wonder if the inspiration for this development was Monopoly!

This shows the Orient Pearl Tower, and whilst Lonely Planet despairs of it's vulgarity, I rather liked it. It is one of the few totally unique modern skyscrapers or commercial buildings I have ever seen, and although the Jinmao tower is undoubtedly more tasteful and classical in design, it lacks the originality, exuberance and sheer I-like-this-and-don’t-give-a-flying-wotsit-if-you-don’t-ness of the Pearl.

We crossed the river to the Bund through this bizarre tunnel, where small transportation pods whizz past a selection of flashing coloured lights, streamers and inflatable figures. It has to be one of the most bizarre 'tourist experiences' on offer in China, and, quite possibly, the world.
We strolled along the Bund, dodging Chinese vendors offering to sell us anything from a picture of us superimposed on a pre-shot background (erm, have you heard of digital cameras) to assorted flashing, whizzing toys which no doubt do not comply with any safety standards whatsoever. This is my favourite building, the Maritime Museum. It was quite strange, as between the European style buildings of the Bund and the could-be-any-city skyscrapers, you didn't feel like you were in China, a feeling I had again later on when we went out in the city centre.
I was quite suprised that the river was still a busy commercial waterway, being more prepared for Thames-style pleasure boats. (Which there are too). I love watching boats, and photographing them too, so it was very enjoyable to just relax, lean on the riverside wall and snap away.

18 comments:

  1. Very beautiful photos. Shanghai has developed a lot since the last time I visited. A wonderful place to visit.

    Alexander
    Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

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  2. The imagination behind these designs just amazes me.

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  3. Very interesting post and stunning pictures! Thank you for sharing and have a great day!

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  4. I am curious to know about the tunnel where the bus and cars travel through from the bund to the Pearl Orient Towel below the water/river. Did you snap the photos inside the tunnel ? I wonder how it looks like. I was in Shanghai last December and this January, but I didn't get to visit the tunnel.

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  5. Wow. I love that view of Shanghai is fantastic. And, the last photo looks like something out of someone's imagination. Beautiful.

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  6. kb guy - the tunnel is a tourist thing only. You just stand in a pod and are whizzed under the tunnel. All other tunnels for traffic and trains are totally normal.

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  7. WOW! What an adventure you're living! LOL! I don't know how you found my blog, but I'm so glad you did! To be a teacher and in CHINA! So jealous! I'm coming back! Jenni

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  8. Whoa! Amazing architecture. How progressed the city looks.

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  9. It looks so totally futuristic. Is that pollution haze or is your camera a bit fuzzy? Either way, really cool photos.

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  10. oh my...it is so overdeveloped...i was there years ago and the skyscrapers had not yet come to be. great captures each and every one. enjoyed your tour so very much.

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  11. Delightful tour of your world! And nice that there observation areas at the tops of some of the tall buildings. You are definitley getting immersed in a different culture.

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  12. Wolynski - yep it's the pollution. Just realised that I've got so used to it didn't even think to explain it - doh!

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  13. Quite incredible in so many ways. The first two pics didn´t seem to be so polluted.

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  14. some great shots of the very modern face of Shanghai..

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  15. Thanks for the tour around Shanghai. nice photos.

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  16. What an unusual looking skyline in that last photo! Sounds like quite an adventure you had being tourists there.

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  17. So many skyscrapers, wow! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures

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