Friday, 19 October 2007

Before I could love you more, it is time to part... Goodbye Shanghai (Day 2)

My first impression of Shanghai is that this is a city in a state of chaos. The congestions on the roads, the motorbikes and bicylces that are moving haphazardly and sounding their honks, massive number of people everywhere. A particularly interesting sight is that on one road, you may find old Shanghai street with worn out houses and dirty streets; yet just within minutes, tall commercial and residential buildings are sprouting out everywhere. To add to the already chaotic city-scape, the designs of the skycrappers and their structures are completely unsynchronised.... so much effort put in city planning huh. It is as if the whole city is going through a "revolution". The city is crazy, this was my first thoughts... how about the people? Are they going to drive me mad too?

Exterior wall of the house is black from cooking smoke. This leads to the kitchen of a small eatery.

Bicycles, an important mode of transportation in China.

Street food, can't do without meat, can they?

Modern skyscrapper over looking Shanghai Old Street. Absolute contrast and confusion.

If you walked on a street and you thought you heard people quarreling, but only to realise that 2 simple folks are having a casual conversation, you are in China. If you go to a crowded place and ended up being pushed and banged into by someone more times that you can imagine, you are in China. If while you are admiring a chic and fashionable lady, you suddenly see her spitting along the roadside, no doubt about it, you are in China. This I think is what people call "cultural shock". Perhaps as a Chinese or Asian in general, it is easier to adapt. By day 2, I have become totally indifferent when I suddenly get pushed from behind because someone was trying to get ahead of me.

I went to Yu Yuan today. Shoe told me that this place is almost like Hangzhou. As you can see, historical Chinese architecture, lakes and rock sculptures, pretty much fits my imagination of what a garden built in 16 century should look like.

One thing to do at Yu Yuan (which I read from the guidebook) is to sip tea at Hu Xin Ting, a tea house. It is nice just to sit there and watch the crowd move around in Yu Yuan while also enjoying a good selection of tea.

The tea leaves are bundled into a ball initially and will blossom out into this beautiful "flower" when hot water is poured into the tea pot.

If I have to name one thing which I like best about Shanghai, it is how fantastic the city looks during the night. Whether it is The Bund or Pudong, the well lit buildings look gorgeous at night.

HSBC Building and Custom House

I can never have enough of Huang Pu River and the Oriental Pearl.

Peace Hotel, one of the oldest and first hotels in Shanghai.

So Shanghai has its own merits and charm which is probably why it has attracted tourists around the world to come visiting. I don't know why it took me so long before I decided to come to Shanghai... and if not for what I will be doing tomorrow, I might never come to Shanghai at all. I guess I am not that type who like to travel to modern metropolitan cities (which is probably why I have never been to the States) and I prefer mountains, lakes and breathtaking scenery... often involving long distance of travelling by bus, train, hike.... some call this hardship tour. Anyway, I have enjoyed my short stay in Shanghai.

This picture summarises it all. "A reflection of Shanghai City", where modernisation integrates with tradition and culture.

To be continued......

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