Local Features: Shanghai by...
Local Features: Shanghai by Night
Shanghai, the 'whore of the East' had its heyday in the 1920s and 30s, as a playground for the wealthy and those with money to burn. Gambling, prostitution, drinking and jazz, the list of decadent pursuits and activities was endless. This all came to an abrupt halt with the cultural revolution and the city was relatively calm for a few decades.
Today, the influx of investment, tourists and trendsetters is helping to put Shanghai back on the map as one of THE places in Asia to wine, dine and hang out. Shanghai certainly has its finger back on the pulse and the feeling and atmosphere in this city at night is captivating, addictive and exciting. While Hong Kong is generally recognized as the most fashionable city in China, Shanghai is fast catching up, and offers an arguably more selective, up to date and trendy selection of restaurants, bars and culture than its southern counterpart.
In a country where only a few years ago it was difficult to eat anything other than the national cuisine outside the major hotels, Shanghai now has a plethora of Continental and Asian restaurants, whipping up incredibly good food in great surroundings. Many of these places have award winning chefs, are fantastically designed and offer fabulous service.
The city's bar and club scene too, is stylish enough to rival that of any western city. New bars spring up every week, offering an incredible selection of watering holes for a city of this size. The bar scene is big enough to cater to all tastes too; Irish bars, German beers, cocktails and Martinis, house and garage tunes, New York soul, unique and funky Jazz are available throughout the city. Many of Shanghai's most sophisticated joints are filled every night of the week with locals and foreigners ready and willing to realize that decadent spirit again.
Lu Jia Zui - Pu Dong
I strongly suggest taking a walk here in the evening, especially in the summer time. The night scene here is fantastic. And you can get a drink at Starbucks or Red Dot's while enjoying the beautiful view of this city.
Alternative to McDonalds
Real Coffee and a great breakfast sandwich make this my favorite quick breakfast coffee shop in Shanghai. They have a fried egg with Brie and bacon on a crunchy roll for breakfast, along with a good coffee-house cup of java. Throw in freshly squeezed orange juice and you have a great breakfast. You can go upstairs to starbucks and you will pay more for a coffee and sweet roll. Next door is a McDonnalds where they have a Sausage egg McMuffin made on an un-toasted hamburg roll, in the Chinese tradition. Clearly, Wagas is the superior destination. The breakfast sandwich is my favorite. During the day, they have sandwiches and cooked meals for reasonable prices. You can also eat outside on the subterranian plaza.
The Bund - a symbol of imperialism? - Part 1
The Bund is one of the finest architectural collections anywhere in the world. It's curving facade of buildings is the archetypal 1930s cityscape, but owes little, if anything, to Asia. It is unsurprising, then, that many Chinese are quite sensitive to the status of The Bund. When there were calls for The Bund to be added collectively to the UNESCO World Heritage List, there were many who objected vociferously, saying that each building represented a time when the Chinese were treated terribly in their own country, subjugated by a succession of greedy foreign powers. A Chinese friend said, very calmly, while looking at the facade of The Bund in the sunset "The red is just Chinese blood".
So the sensitivity remains, towards the foreign powers and foreigners. There is begrudging recognition that it was this era that created a global powerhouse to rival any city in the world, but also bitterness that it was built on the blood, sweat and tears of generations of Chinese men, women and children. Shanghai has long forgotten dialectics, but this one remains architecturally lodged in their city.
It is also quite telling that when you walk along The Bund, today's Shanghai folk are looking out at the river and the Shanghai facade they built on their own on the other side of the Huangpu; few look up at the beautiful old buildings behind them.
Regardless of the sentiments, The Bund is a beautiful cityscape, and one which is best taken slowly, several times - walking along the thin stretch of park, comparing the old with the new.
Backpacking in China Autumn 2004
"First Difficulties - Then A Dream comes Reality!!"
I had a dream to visit Huangshan and to travel by train in China! I had seen pics of Huangshan in the internet and had fallen in love to those rock peaks and pine trees! I was going to travel all by myself with my backpack. At first I was going to travel in June but I had to go to an operation in May so I had to postpone my plans until I was well enough to travel.
August 14th I finally left for China and flew to Shanghai. I had planned my 4-weeks trip very tightly, had made the hotel reservations, checked the timetables etc. Everything was carefully planned, nothing could go wrong! So I thought! I landed in Shanghai, checked in ZhongYa hotel near the Railway Station and prepared myself to start the Journey of My Dreams! Something happened, I just panicked! My dream was about to become true, I had huge expectations on the trip but I still got scared and frozed! I wanted to travel alone but yet I felt lonely in a huge city as Shanghai! I could not deal my emotions so my bloodpressure begun to trouble, my stomach went round & round and my heart was bumping! Naturally the Jet Lag and the time difference had caused some of the troubles! I had to take medical exams on my first days in China.
I had planned only to stay 1 night at ZhongYa and continue the next day by train to Tunxi, Anhui, as I was going to climb on the peaks of Huangshan. Because of my condition I had to stay in Shanghai for 4 nights!
Also as I panicked in the beginning of my journey I almost canceled the whole trip and was about to return home! Stupid, very stupid! I know now and am ashamed of how I reacted at first! But I somehow understand also that when you dream about something so much and have such high expectations, it can turn in to a nightmare if you can't handle it properly! My head was in the clouds but I had forgotten my body! Also I knew Shanghai is a large city with its 15 million people but the difference between Helsinki with half a million people is so huge that it punched me on the face!
The reason why I have the guts to tell this embarrassing story is to warn you, dear fellow VTers, not to make yourself such high expectations about your dreams and hopes! Something can also go wrong even if you are very sure of everything! And that something can also ruin everything! It nearly did for me but during those days in Shanghai as I had to rearrange my journey and plan it all over again I also learned a lot!
....continuing after a break!! bye for a while!