October 19, 2013 – Shanghai, China
Shanghai sits on bend in a river in the delta of the Yangzte River, midway between Beijing and Hong Kong. By population, it is China’s largest city and the world’s largest city (population 23 million), and is China’s primary commercial and shipping center. Shanghai’s harbor, the busiest in China is a river harbor and is also the main traffic artery for barge traffic moving construction materials throughout Shanghai – and there is considerable building underway, everywhere. We arrived at dawn and had a great view of the city and the river traffic.
On the outer bend of the river to the north and west, sits the older part of Shanghai, where skyscrapers and high rise apartments are replacing slums so rapidly that it is difficult to spot the traditional Chinese neighborhoods. On this side, running along the river front is an area called the Bund (German for “belt”– describing the bend in the river) which contains parks, walkways and shops. Across from the Bund are buildings from the late 1800’s up until the Japanese invaded in 1932, which were built by the French and British following their negotiation of concessions for trade with China. These “concessions” were areas of the city operated by either the British or French, outside Chinese control. The French quarter and British quarter are quite large and still have many buildings built during that period reflecting European architecture.
On the “inner” bend of the river, lies Pudong, the new section of Shanghai, which grew rapidly beginning in the 1990s, when the city begin to prosper under economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping, which replaced the strict Communist doctrines of Mao and his immediate successors. Most modern development is on this side of the river.
Our brief tour took us through the old city, to the Peoples Park.
Crossing under the river in one of the new tunnels to the Pudong side, we traveled up 88 stories in this building to the observation tower.
Where we had some great views of Shanghai. Notice our ship, it is the one on the left, with the blue hull, white top.
The view toward “old” Shanghai.
This is the view down through the center of building. I am glad the picture was OK – I didn’t have the nerve to lean out and shoot again.
In the evening we attended a performance of the Shanghai Acrobats for a fantastic show unfortunately, no cameras allowed. The finale was motorcycles racing inside a 30 foot steel mesh ball – first one, then two crisscrossing – then three, four, five, six, seven and finally eight racing around inside the ball. We were on the front row – one misstep and we would have had motorcycle chain and rider all over us. It was truly amazing. After the show, we went to a cocktail party on the roof top of the Peace Hotel, a famous hotel on the bund built in the 1920s, along with most of the acrobats from the show.
The night views from atop the hotel were spectacular.
Back to the ship about midnight – up tomorrow at 5:00 am for our flight to Beijing. We have booked a four day overland excursion, which will take us inland to Beijing and Xian, rejoining the ship in Hong Kong.