Day By Day

Thursday, July 30, 2009

China Diary -- Part 50 The Buildings of Shanghai

My one regret in Shanghai was that we did not get a chance to visit the city's famous "Bund". Here's a panoramic picture I pulled off the internet.

Shanghai will be hosting the Expo 2010 World's Fair next year and there is major construction going on all over town. Because of the construction the Bund was closed to pedestrian traffic the night we were there and we had foregone a river trip, which had originally been scheduled, in order to spend an extra day in Hangzhou. I'm not complaining, it was a good tradeoff, especially since it allowed us to see "Impressions Westlake" but I definitely intend to check out the Bund at night sometime. I guess that means we will have to go back to China in a couple of years.

I would be remiss not to note the amazing skyline of this city. Shanghai is possibly the most dynamic urban environment in the world and it's buildings illustrate its global importance.

These are two famous structures. On the left is the Jin Mao [Golden Prosperity] Tower. Depending on how it is measured it is either the fifth or seventh tallest building in the world. To its right is the Shanghai World Financial Center, currently the tallest completed building in the world. In the original design for the building the opening near the top was circular, but the Chinese government objected because that would make it look too much like the Japanese national symbol of a rising sun. Yes, the Chinese still nurture deep grudges for atrocities committed by the Japanese forces in the 1930's and 40's and anti-Japanese sentiment is an important element of Chinese nationalist thought. Some of the more hopeful commentators I have read ascribe such feelings largely to the older generation that still remembers the horrors of the past, but that is not what I found. Several young Chinese men and women told me that they, too, nurse a deep and abiding hatred for all things Japanese.

And in the foreground of the picture is the Chinese national bird, the yellow [construction] crane;)

This is the Shimao International Plaza building, a little over a thousand feet high.

The building on the right is Tomorrow Square. It contains the Marriott Hotel. Looks like a good place to stay, right on the edge of People's Square, not far from my favorite museum. I'm not sure about the one on the left.

And this is the Bund Center, seen from People's Square. I could go on and on and on. There are literally hundreds of these towering structures spread throughout the vicinity. The biggest concentration in the Pudong district, which is as close as you get to a city center.

That means that there is a lot to see next time I'm in town, and someday I will be back.