As of writing this post I realised I already used up 45% of my gallery space! Kinda worried about it now because my images come in big sizes and I am too lazy to resize them when my posts are picture-heavy. And at least 3-4 photos are about my eye stye.
Anyway… continuing from my trip. I swear this is the last post on China already!
(Unrelated to day 4) This is taken on the way to Suzhou.
If you havent seen this on my instagram already, this is the 南浦大桥 (Nan Pu Bridge). It is the first cable stayed bridge over 400m long. The photo looks less dramatic here because I added some filter to the post.
Very architecture. Much European. Many windows. Wow. (Doge reference)
Yes, we are in Shanghai, not some European city. This area is the Shanghai Financial District. The European architecture from China’s semi-colonial era are now occupied by Chinese banks and other major institutions.
Here are the modern skyscrapers of the Financial District. At least one new building is built every 3 years and the height just keeps towering over their other counterparts. This one is Shanghai World Financial Centre, tallest building in China until its record was beaten by Shanghai Tower in 2013.
This is Jin Mao Tower (Gold Prosperity Building). Tallest building in China until 2007 until Shanghai World Financial Centre was completed. Floors 53-87 houses the Grand Hyatt Hotel
Heading up to the observation deck. Have never visited other observation decks while overseas because I couldn’t be bothered to pay extra to look at scenery, but this was part of the itinerary.
88 storeys from above! The space shuttle like structure is the Oriental Pearl and TV tower.
Scenery below consist of more buildings.
That’s pretty much for day 4 as some time is spent travelling and checking into the hotel and all.
Visited the Shanghai Museum. The architecture takes after an ancient bronze ding. The museum has 10 permanent galleries exhibiting various types of artefacts commonplace in chinese history (calligraphy, ceramics, coins etc), either of narrower time period or evolving thoughout the ages.
Because chinese history is too long, it is difficult to cover everything in such a short time. So here are some of the galleries visited: The sculpture gallery mainly consists of buddhist statues from the time Mahayana Buddhism came to China. Most sculptures are created during chaotic periods where there was no unified dynasty. The coin gallery displays the evolution of coins from cowrie shells to paper notes.
The ethnic minority gallery showcases the ethnic costume, daily objects and performance masks of the minorities. It is intriguing to see how the minorities are represented in chinese history, especially since china has been grappling how to “classify” and “recognise” ethnic minorities.
After that visited Jing An temple (Temple of Peace and Tranquility), located right smack in the city at West Nanjing Road. Don’t know much about here because the tour guide just let us wander on our own without explaining anything about this place. So according to the internet the temple was first built in AD247 during the Three Kingdoms period and underwent reconstruction in 2008 (many more relocation and rebuilding in between). The 3 storey pagoda here is for people to throw money as high as they can for good luck.
This is Xin Tian Di (New Heaven and Earth), a shopping district littered with cafes and designer shops for the affluent. The alleyways are narrow because the layout is modelled after the mid-19 century stone gate and adjoining houses.
It is pretty quiet in the afternoon but night life is very vibrant here.
At night was shopping at City God Temple, so do check out the shopping post written earlier about that place.
Visited M50 (50 Moganshan Road). Covered a bit of background in the shopping post (It is such a useful post). Most of the studios are located in a factory like setting as the area used to be a slub mill and artist Xue Song converted the space into art galleries due to the cheap rent. The individualistic styles of the works and the aspirations of the artists makes the place dynamic in an otherwise dull factory exterior.
Went to Tiaz Zi Fang after that. Shopping part is already covered. The narrow alleyways are similar to the stone gate idea at Xin Tian Di. Tian Zi Fang is a renovated residential area in the former French concession.
One of the quirky F&B shops with different colored drinks in hospital drip bags.
At Shanghai Bund at night. This is the view across the Huang Pu River, where skyscrapers have LED attached to them and glow at night. Meanwhile companies take advantage of some of the skyscrapers exteriors and flash advertisements.
And on the other side are the colonial structures. The clock tower from Shanghai customs house chimes the East is Red to tell the time. Quite amazing to see how China has grown from the sick man of Asia to one of the most influential global players.
Last stop is the China Art Museum located at Shanghai Expo. Most of the expo exhibits from other countries have already been torn down and used for private development. The China Art Museum is housed in the China Pavilion from Expo and is the largest museum in Asia. It lives up to its title because the escalators are really long.
Most artworks here are Chinese modern art that are politically correct. There are also works by notable chinese painters who learnt from european artists.
Visited this exhibit on chinese animation from the 1950s-80s. There are screens showing the animation clip next to the paper cut outs. The cartoons looked really old school, in particular from the way the characters move and how their drawn. The range of animation themes include idiom stories, communist spirit, mythical legends etc.
The ones below are the story of Mr Nan Guo, based on the idiom 滥竽充数 (those who have no actual skills but pretend to be experts), The Winter of Three Hairs (San Mao Liu Lang Ji) and Three Monks, based on the ancient proverb “One monk will shoulder two buckets of water, two monks will share the load, but add a third and no one will want to fetch water”. There was a full length screening of Three Monks at the museum. Because the animation technology wasn’t that developed in the late 1970s, the part where the monks walked down the hill was hilarious. Here is the youtube video!
Over here are artworks with communist theme, in western and chinese painting style. Apart from the usual communist posters, this was quite interesting. Other than that there are also larger-than-life paintings of China’s century of humiliation.
Yeah after that it was back to the airport and the horrid flight delay.
Overall Shanghai is very forward looking with all the modern skyscrapers and major financial institutions here, but they still keep remnants of the past to remind the world and the people of China’s history, and how China has managed to conquered her century of humiliation. The rather messy fusion of old shophouses, modern buildings, colonial architecture and construction sites gives the city a very original flavour as it shows how the landscape has evolved with changes in history.
Last but not least, this is a harmless political joke. I was singing the song “The East is Red” because I got so fascinated with it after learning that it is the chime of Shanghai Clock tower.
Me: 东方红,太阳升~ (The East is Red, the sun rises)
Friend (who has never heard of the song before): Japan?