I’m always a little jealous of tourists viewing Times Sq. for the first time. Actually I’m really annoyed by them, but deep down I’m jealous. I grew up with Times Sq. It was just a brightly lit corner of the city that we would always run through, late for a Broadway show. It was where I saw my first homeless person, my first transvestite and my first naked cowboy.
When I worked in Times Sq. I watched people look up with their jaws dropped, amazed by the lights and spectacle. I would look up and think, “what a waste of electricity,” but I’ve always wondered what it must feel like to be blown away as an adult.
I will always love Shanghai because it let me experience what it must be like to see Times Sq. for the first time. I got off the bus and looked up at the dazzling skyline of Pudong (the financial) and I was speechless.
My jaded New Yorker shell slipped off and I was gawking like a little kid.
Every building has a unique style and it was all reflected in the dark waters of the Huangpu River.
Across the river is the old American and British concession. I don’t have time to go into the history of the spheres of influence, but I would suggest reading a bit about it. I loved seeing the juxtaposition of classic and super modern architecture.
The next day we were off on out own, and we made a point of avoiding the tourist traps. I heard from other people on the trip that the sightseeing tunnel and Nanjing road were big wastes of time and money (just in case you’re planning a trip to Shanghai).
We spent most of the day just walking around, taking in all the small streets and glimpses of daily life. We stumbled on a ballroom dancing class that was held in a small park. We navigated a back alley and found two master guitar players practicing together. They proceeded to give us a free concert and then took lots of pictures of their new American friends. My favorite part was entering a walled in garden where old people were playing chess. It was filled with cats and I made a great friend:
On both nights we hung out in Xintiandi (the French Concession) which had old world charm, a bustling nightlife, and great wines. We ended up at a bar called Luna on both nights because we were blown away by their band. They had incredible energy and they were rocking everything from Queen to K-Pop. Of course they pulled me up on stage for a dance-off to Gangnam Style.
It was humiliating but it was the perfect way to end our trip!
- Traveling around Shanghai, Part II – The Metro (shanghaidave.wordpress.com)
- Shanghai to permit 72 hrs visa free entry (rediff.com)
- What a difference – Shanghai, China (travelpod.com)
- Amazing Shanghai (discovertheorient.wordpress.com)