Shanghai

June 17, 2010 at 2:09 am | Posted in China | Leave a comment

Shanghai is a huge city which is by far the most westernised chinese city. we stayed in the french concession, which is fairly chilled out for shanghai, but still has some good nightlife and is convenient. we were about a 40 minute walk from people’s square, which is the center of shanghai and is very commercialized and bustling.

yes, shanghai is very modern, especially with all of it’s architecture. I also think shanghai was especially amped up because of the world expo.

Standing on the bund in front of the pudong skyline. the wangpu river separates the two sides. the bund is a very old and famous area along the river with bars, shops and a lovely walkway (and loads of tourists). the pudong side actually has more impressive buildings in my open, including the Jinmao tower (the one with the spheres).

shanghai world financial centre – third tallest skyscraper in the world. we dubbed this building “the bottle opener” – from this angle you can just barely see why.

Shanghai museum had some interesting exhibits. Chinese calligraphy always looks impressive to me.  yes, this museum had a lot of cool stuff and was a bit overwhelming. i(kelly) really enjoyed the furniture sections.

We met Kitty in India. The crazy girl had travelled solo and survived all the constant hastles. She kindly took us on a day tour of Shanghai. the pic above is on the post office’s roof. kitty convinced the guards that we were important foreigners and they escorted us onto the roof for some great views. probably the best bit of the post office museum, which had some odd exhibits.

We started off our day of kitty fun with a monster chinese lunch. This included cold alcoholic rice soup (good), glazed fattypork, marinated tofu, zucchini, spicy beef and noodles, broccoli with crab sauce, rice, tea, more soup and loads more. We were both absolutely stuffed. why didn’t we take pics?! thanks to my friends who were passing through shanghai at the same time, we were a bit hungover for our day of fun with kitty so lunch was really insane. not only was there enough food for 10 people, i didn’t realize the soup was alcoholic until I downed a huge spoonful.

after our feast of a lunch, kitty took us all over. we went yuyuan gardens near the old city, shanghai’s bazaar, the post office museum, old street, Xintiandi and people’s square. the pic above is from the gardens where there were cool zig-zag bridges and lots of fish  in the ponds.

kitty also enlightened us about why chinese girls give the peace sign (and do other staged poses) in pics. there are five main poses: hold one finger up by your mouth and do a do a pouty face; hold a peace sign up beside your face and smile (see pic); hold 3 fingers beside your face and look confused (this means you’re confused about a problem – i think it’s the least popular pose); hold 4 fingers palm down underneath your chin and look pensive (you are solving the problem); hold 5 fingers up like you’re waving and look happy (you have solved the problem!). try doing these poses in succession. they are really fun. i can see why the chinese like to pose so much.

This guy is a shanghai legend; his booth is in the bazzar. He conducts some sort of puppet show where he tells jokes (in chinese, so completely lost on us). There were plenty of jealous people when we got our picture taken. there are these little peep holes that each person looks through; you see a screen that is kind of comic book/flip book style and corresponds to the guy’s jokes. pretty funny even without the jokes i have to say.

Yuyuan gardens is a tranquil place with historical chinese architecture.

i was struggling with the combo of strange chinese feast and hangover in this pic, but the gardens made me feel better.

The garden scenery rivalled the gardens of suzhou.

A hotel that overlooks the outside pond and bridges.

Kitty took us down a historic chinese street. we went into a little museum with communist propaganda and kitty proudly told us how she has never become of member of the communist party. by not being a member, it can be difficult to get scholarships, entrance into schools and even jobs… kitty’s a real minx though, so don’t worry about her.

kitty took us to Xintiandi, which is an area near people’s square with loads of trendy and quirky bars and restaurants. i really liked this area because it was quaint and cozy yet modern and fun. the red bas-relief type thing in the pic above was over some entrance way in this area – we couldn’t quite understand why kitty was pointing it out to us, but later on we saw it on a t.v. show so it must have some great importance.

Another day we went to the arts district called Taikand art center. this building was covered in wire mesh to create textured leaves. hudson just sat on a patch of grass and read while i walked around. i really loved this area because of the teeny tiny passageways and shops selling local designers. there was one local shoe shop that was really cool. the best art galleries were the photography ones, although there was an artist who painted using her fingers as brushes – hudson really liked that. in addition to lots of cool little stores and galleries, there are many tiny bars and restaurants that looked amazing (if overpriced).

My favourite thing about shanghai was the poster propaganda museum. The museum is located in the bottom of a set of flats, and was a real random find. The museum contains over 2000 posters from the Mao era (1949-79). they are fascinating and really funny to see. The US took a hammering at the time (for obvious reasons) and the Brits also weren’t the most popular.
some of the woodcut posters are really nice. many of them use obvious symbolism or no symbolism at all – there was also not as technique as i was hoping for, but still some cool posters mixed in.

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