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Shanghai Surprise

In Shanghai on June 1, 2011 by triotriotrio Tagged:

China is a strange and wonderful country. As a Hong Kong resident I have only been able to see and experience one small sliver of the Chinese diaspora. Last weekend a new facet was opened to me as Jennifer and I traveled to Shanghai. But as this new experience was revealed, it reminded me that this was once again only a small portion of the whole.

In some ways I was surprised by what Shanghai had to offer. But in retrospect – I don’t know why? Shanghai has been known for centuries as a world city. And this brief visit proved to me why.

Here are three observations that I picked up along the way:

Walking Along the Streets

Shanghai is a city of neighborhoods. We stayed near one that is known as the French Concession. A walk along the pavements revealed more to us than any exhibit or lecture could impart. We strolled the streets among a patchwork of cultures. Each culture has left its mark through its architecture, shops and restaurants. One may see a French bakery, a Russian teashop or a German beer stand. And it all makes perfect sense. And of course weaved into this tapestry are the Chinese people. They are the constant reminder that you are in Shanghai, not Paris, Saint Petersburg or Cologne.

Shanghai is a city of the old and the new. And the city is bursting forth with thousands of new buildings. Each new building is like a unique flower. I didn’t see a lot of uniformity. Each block is drastically different. But it works! Here modern, there classical, here traditional Chinese forms. The buildings all come together to reveal the city vibrant new rebirth. I dare say that it made me think how the city reflects a true sense of individual freedom.

Shanghai is a city of happy people. I don’t know why I expected to see something different? But all along the streets I saw joy. Young people were out with their friends. Families were enjoying themselves in the parks. I am not naïve to believe there isn’t hardship or oppression but I didn’t see it. What I experienced was a place where people live and people make the most of what the city has to offer.

Shanghai goes deeper into the Chinese experience and I know it is only a gateway to the rest of the country. I now know that I am thirsty to go deeper and experience more.

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One Response to “Shanghai Surprise”

  1. Sounds like you had a fabulous get away and a great time exploring Shanghai. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures. I’m enjoying seeing a bit of China through your blog.

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