Well, our day touring Shanghai was surprising and predictable at turns. The Jade temple was beautiful and peaceful, but the Urban Planning museum amazed me. They have an entire floor filled with a model of Shanghai, which really drive home the immensity of this city. Exhibits on Shanghai’s growth also showed how quickly this developed; in 1984, Pudong, where the biggest buildings are, was rice paddies and a small village. The speed at which this city sprang from the ground is inconceivable.
The Chinese love to shop! Stores, malls, and luxury shops abound. As a non-shopper, this is wasted on me – but it’s still impressive just by sheer size and variety. Shops I know from Germany, Italy, France, the US, you name it – you can find it here.
As of now, China to me has been cities: skyscrapers that disappear in the smog above, bustling crowds elbowing their way through town, and cars and scooters playing chicken on multi-lane roads. The aromas of Chinese delicacies accost you at every corner, should you stand still long enough. Still, the magnitude of these cities wears me down.
Today I’m off to explore some water villages and famous traditional gardens. As I’ve done almost no reading, I hardly know what to expect. Construction sites are whizzing by as we hit the outskirts of Shanghai though, so I suspect the never ending skyline may diminish eventually. The Venice of China awaits!