Mar 2, 2015

Shanghai is incredible

Today I think people would love to be shanghaied as Shanghai,
China is truly amazing but back in the 1800s most adventurers were heading to the west coast of America, especially the gold fields of California.  The practice of Shanghaiing was prevalent in San Francisco, California; and Portland, Oregon. During that time sea captains were unable to secure enough able-bodied seaman to make the onerous two-year journey to China by legal means so they would pay middlemen about $50 a head to kidnap sailors. The unsuspecting sailors were drugged, plied with liquor, and/or knocked out. When the sailors woke up they were on the ship headed to Shanghai, or shanghaied. According to historical data the practice in Portland occurred between 1850 and 1941.  There is a Shanghai Tunnel Tour in Portland that is on my “Gotta’ Do List” that deals with the practice.

Shanghai is the largest city in China and ranks as one of the largest in the world depending on how you define “city.”  One accounting has the population at around 24 million.  We have been to Shanghai several times and are always impressed. It never seems several times larger than New York City. But I think that is because the Bund, the area on the western bank of the
Huangpu River that was once the hub of international settlement, has an open ambiance. I find the Bund fascinating – it is like the Yin and Yang of the city.  One side is lined with early 20th century buildings in the Beaux Arts style and building heights are restricted while across the river in Pudong the skyline is one of towering buildings, many with a futurist look. At night many of the buildings are illuminated with LED lights. 

The new Shanghai Tower is finished on the outside but they are still working on the interior.  It is 121 stories and 2,073 feet high making it the tallest building in China and second in the world surpassed only by Burj Khalifa in Dubai. However, they are building one that will be 2,170 ft high in Shenzhen, China that will surpass the Shanghai Tower in 2016. There are many buildings in Asia with interesting architectural design but I don’t think this Shanghai Tower is of them.  To me it looks a little twisted, tilted and not plumb.  It should be open to the public
sometime this year and will have a hotel. The first time I came to Shanghai in the 1990s I was impressed with the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, which was the tallest structure on Pudong at that time.  It made me think the designers of Pudong had watched “The Jetsons” when they were younger.  Everything looked so space age. We never
took the tour to the top of the TV tower but did go to the top of the Jin Mao Tower which is only 88-stories with a view of the area and an incredible view down the atrium of the Grand Hyatt hotel.   The Jin Mao Tower and a boat ride on the Huangpu River were included on our hop-on bus sightseeing tour making the bus tour an excellent value.  We also took the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel under the Huangpu River. The meglev train trip is nearly a half mile in length with multi-media effects long the way some of which are a bit garish but it is still an interesting way to get to Pudong.