Day By Day

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Return to China -- Part 42, Pearl of the Orient

Our first stop after lunch was at a "silk factory" where we had yet another shopping opportunity. It wasn't much -- a large set of showrooms with a small demonstration area attached where an extremely enthusiastic young woman gave us a short talk about silk harvesting. Fortunately, there was a small coffee shop attached to the showrooms where I and some of the other members of the party sat comfortably while others shopped.

Then it was on to our primary destination -- the Oriental Pearl Tower, one of the most striking features of Shanghai's Pudong skyline [more about that later].

Here's a picture of the tower taken at its base. 

And turning around we got a nice view of the Pudong skyline. 

We entered the tower at its base and got in line waiting for an elevator to take us to the viewing platform.

And this is the elevator.

And this is the view from the main observation platform -- more than 850 feet up. As with all Chinese cities downtown Shangai [here we are looking west toward Puxi] is in a constant state of reconstruction. 

This is the Huangpu river -- a tremendously busy traffic artery. 

And this is Shanghai's famous Bund -- the low buildings along the river's edge. Prior to the 1990's it was the center of commercial life in the city.  My how things have changed!

The tall building in the center of the picture is the Shanghai World Finance Center. When it was completed in 2007 it was either the tallest or the second tallest building in the world [depending on how that was measured]. It has since been topped by a new building in Dubai and that is scheduled to be topped this year by a building under construction in Abu Dhabi. The Chinese and the Emirates seem to have quite a competition going -- similar to that between the United States and France a century ago that produced the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower. Next to it is the Jin Mao Tower, prior to 2007 the tallest building in China. 

Looking west beyond the commercial buildings we see both lowrise and highrise apartment buildings, home to some of Shanghai's more than 23 million residents. 

Casting a giant shadow. 

Downtown Shanghai has a fascinating mix of pedestrian and motorized pathways such as these that facilitate travel through the central business areas. 

Looking straight down and not getting dizzy.

The sun is setting over Shanghai and we have much more to see.

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