Alfred Eisenstaedt said, "I enjoy traveling and recording far-away places and people with my camera. But I also find it wonderfully rewarding to see what I can discover outside my own window. And i take heed of St. Augustine's words when he said "The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page".
Shanghai is fabulous
I read a description of Shanghai that said...“If New York doesn’t sleep”, Shanghai never shuts the h_ _ l up”.
Tribute has been made in her behalf, of her beauty, mystery and history, in movies such as Shanghai Express (1932), starring Marlene Dietrich, Empire of the Sun (1987), directed by Steven Spielberg, Shanghai Knights (2003), starring Jackie and Owen Wilson, and my favorite, The Painted Veil (2006), starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts.
Stories are told of foreigners who made enormous fortunes, such as one, Sir Victor Sassoon, considered the most famous and legendary of the Jewish families that settled in Shanghai. They owned the Cathay Hotel, today's Peace Hotel, which stands prominent on the Bund as a monument to Shanghai's past. Victor came to Shanghai in 1923, and in the years to come, expanded his family business and turning it into an empire. He opened more than 30 companies and became the king of real estate in Shanghai.
So, what is it about this city called Shanghai?
Considered the largest city in the world, it is the Paris of the Orient, with a population of twenty million. Shanghai has no intention of being quiet, not for one second. The just concluded 2010 World Expo with 200 countries participating, and a purported 70 million visitors only raised the level of the noise. The world cannot ignore this part of the planet. Despite the langauge barrier, we saw the character of the city, and noticed a people who were outgoing, lively, and at best, eager to learn. Shanghainese have been known for over a century to be quick witted, efficient and talented, especially in business. Shanghai is the most livable and exciting city now for foreigners in China.
Described as the "showpiece" of the world's fastest growing major economy, Shanghai is the largest center of commerce and finance in mainland China. The city flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became a multinational hub of finance and business in the 1930s. After 1990, the economis reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in intense re-development and financing in Shanghai, and in 2005 Shanghai became the world's largest cargo port. At the same time, it is increasing its green spaces. The city has 24-hourvideo cameras monitoring air pollution. No one can burn coal within the city. It is building a natural gas pipeline from China’s western Xinjiang region. Its air is better than that of Beijing and Guangzhou.
If you don't like crowds, don't go to China. Shanghai's massive population is everywhere, from malls, theatres, restaurants, museums, name it. You will soon realize this as soon as you arrive, starting with long lines at it's 2 state of the art airports. You have to be brave riding cabs, like we did. My husband thought it funny when i said, this must be where New York recruits their cabdrivers. But, it was no laughing matter because it was horrendous.Shopping was great as they promised it would be. You are expected to bargain, so stores tend to jack prices up. Shanghai's restaurants did not disappoint. We were able to try various types of cuisines, as adventurious as we are. Supposedly in compertion with Hong Kong, Shanghai has a plethora of food delights focusing on the traditions of Beijing, Sichuan, Hunan, Guangzhou and of course the local Benbang dishes. If visitors want Western food, they can be found in the downtown area.
Shanghai is hailed as the "Shopping Paradise" and "Oriental Paris". So if you come to Shanghai, shopping should not be missed any more than its other charming attractions. Maison Mode, located at No.1312, Huaihai Road, claims to be the aristocrat on this street. You will find the leading designer brands such as Gucci, Ferragamo, Hugo Boss, Bally, Kenzo, etc. here. It is no exaggeration to say that the reputation of Huaihai Road is enhanced by the presence of Maison Mode. Yuyuan Shopping City, Xujiahui Shopping City, New Shanghai Shopping City and Jiali Sleepless City are the bustling "Four Cities" in Shanghai. Yuyuan Shopping City is the venue for specialist Chinese goods ranging from small articles, local crafts and the like to antiques, jade wares and gold and silver jewelry.
Our choice places to "see and must do" are:
It is also referred to as Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu (East Zhongshan 1st Road). It is a famous waterfront and is regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. It is on the west bank of Huangpu River from the Waibaidu Bridge to Nanpu Bridge. It's most famous and attractive sight which is at the west side of the Bund are the 26 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.
China's premier shopping street, 3.4-mile-long Nanjing Road, starts at the Bund in the east and ends in the west at the junction of Jing'an Temple and Yan'an West Street. Today Nanjing Road is a must-see metropolitan destination attracting thousands of fashion-seeking shoppers from all over the world. There are over 600 businesses on Nanjing road offerring countless famous brands, new fashions, world famous food chains that line both sides of the street. Upscale stores include Tiffany, Mont Blanc, and Dunhill. Hundreds of traditional stores and specialty shops still provide choice silk goods, jade, embroidery, wool, and clocks. Open-air bars, abstract sculptures, and lingering sounds from street musicians enhance evening strolls. Flashing neon signs illuminate the magnificent buildings and spangle the night skyline of this lively city.
Yuyuan Garden is a famous classical garden located in Anren Jie, Shanghai. The garden was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. It occupies an area of 20,000 square meters (about five acres). However, the size is not representative of the attractions of the garden. There are six main scenic areas in the garden: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Each area features several scenic spots within its borders. Visitors will find curio shops in the Cuixiu Hall
Shanghai Xin Tian Di
Shanghai Xin Tian Di is where 'yesterday and tomorrow meet in Shanghai today'. It embodies the comfortable and convenient life of the 21st century, Its boutique keeps in pace with international fashion. It
has become the best place for tourists to appreciate the history and modern life of the city, and is also a meeting place for local citizens and foreign visitors. Located in the center of Shanghai City south of Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai Xin Tian Di has become an urban tourist attraction that holds the historical and cultural legacies of the city. It is a fashionable pedestrian street composed of Shikumen and modern architecture style.
Located in the center of Shanghai in People's Square, Shanghai Museum is a large museum of ancient Chinese art. The museum style and presentation surround visitors with artifacts demonstrating ancient wisdom and philosophy. The exterior design of the round dome and the square base symbolizes the ancient idea of a round heaven and a square land. The museum is divided into eleven galleries and three exhibition halls. The eleven Galleries cover most of the major categories of Chinese art: Ancient Bronze, Ancient Ceramics, Paintings, Calligraphy, Ancient Sculpture, Ancient Jade, Coins, Ming and Qing Furniture, Seals, and Minority Nationalities.
Located in a suburb of Shanghai city, Zhujiajiao is an ancient water town well-known throughout the country, with a history of more than 1700 years. Covering an area of 47 square kilometers, the little fan-shaped town glimmers like a bright pearl in the landscape of lakes and mountains. Endowed with another elegant name - 'Pearl Stream' - the little town is the best-preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Unique old bridges across bubbling streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees, and houses with courtyards attached all transport people who have been living amidst the bustle and hustle of the modern big city to a brand-new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquillity.
China Art Scene Warehouse
Located in the Suzhou Creek artists’ quarter of Shanghai, China, Art Scene Warehouse - Chinese contemporary art - is a chic, minimalist 1800 sq metres warehouse space filled with avant-garde Chinese contemporary art by some of the most exciting contemporary artists from throughout China. This Shanghai art gallery also participates exhibits Chinese contemporary art at international art expositions and shows around the world.
North Street - Ancient Street
In the town, there is an ancient street filled with representative ancient buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, attracting great numbers of domestic and foreign tourists. That is North Street, which is the best preserved ancient street in this suburb of Shanghai. Only one kilometer long, the whole street is at once primitively simple, yet very elegant. Strolling on this ancient thoroughfare and appreciating the historic buildings, long-established stores, and old bridges as well as the many narrow lanes is another enjoyment.
Nan Wai Tan Fabric Market in Lujiabang Road
More and more people realize the joy of having clothes tailor-made. To find the fabric, there is fabric market and tailor shops recommended here. Nan Wai Tan (South Bund) Fabric Market in Lujiabang Road is perhaps the largest fabric market you can find in Shanghai. To have anything tailor-made, get to the shop nearly one month in advance. Several fittings will undergo for it may not fit you very well at the first time.
A number of large and small antique stores have mushroomed in response to the growing demand for past treasures, inspired by the influx of foreigners and overseas Chinese into the city. Antique furniture to fine porcelain are availabe in abundance, and usually with an abundant price tag as well. Large antique stores and warehouses are found in the Hongqiao area, west of the city. The Haikun Business Centre at 1426 Hongqiao Road has a fine selection of Ming and Qing dynasty Furniture. G E Antiques at No. 8 Huqingping Highway also has a fine selection of antique furnishings and they offer worldwide delivery. Other areas to hunt for antiques and curios include the Longhua Tourist and Shopping City in the southwest suburbs, adjacent to the Longhead Pagoda and the restored Duolun Road in the Hongkou district.
Shanghai has high standards of international music, art, and drama, a contribution of its many immigrants particularly the Jews. Not to be missed is Shanghai’s magnificent and imposing Grand Theatre in People’s Square. It is meant to look like an eagle about to take off, and is lit up at night. It claims the largest stage in the world. Recent performers were Luciano Pavarotti, the Moscow Ballet, the Norwegian Jazz Band and the Cairo Opera Theatre Ballet Co.
For everybody, the Shanghai Acrobatic and Magic Troupe is a fun show with magicians, sword-swallowing, juggling and sometimes performing Pandas. Trapeze artists perform over the audience without a net. The Shanghai Acrobats have been performing at the shanghai Centre Theatre and the Lanxing Theatre. There’s also the Shanghai Circus World at Gong He Xin Road.
A journey to the unknown is all it was. A need to discover, explore, and satisfy curiosity. What is life if you don't step out?