Jun 25, 2011
my adopted city...
Teenie Weenie background :: I was asked to write something by by fellow blog reader and twitter follower. Amateur as I was (and still am), I tried. And what you see here is the write-up which was published in FOLIO magazine June issue. After its publication I was congratulated and apologized at the same time. Turns out they forgot to mention my name. And to be honest it really doesn't matter. Am just happy it got published. But do I question the credentials of the magazine? Honestly, I do. Its too careless of 'em to forget the name of the person who authored the write-up. I mean they didn't forget to edit the picture, did they? I work in magazine (here in Shanghai). So, I can tell, there is one difference between good things and great things... and its in the details. But I stand corrected. Am just happy it got published. But, it goes without saying FOLIO has got the best cover in KTM town and so it seems best contents too.
*My adopted city*(As published in Folio June issue)Traveling is all about going to places unseen, or unheard of and finding that world is one big weird place. Love it or hate it Shanghai has its own share of weird things. Shanghai - the Oriental gargantuan, waiting like an understudy behind the curtains of superpowerdom. Millions of people bursting forth in a frenzy of capitalism and consumerism, the likes the world has never known. Shanghai is China's answer to U.S.A's New York. The massive mega-city with a population that tops to an estimated 23 million during the week, Shanghai’s less dainty past is the fuse for its frenzied future. For this was the “Whore of the Orient”, where nihilism reigned from the seats of opium dens, and wealthy international trade guilds, the forerunners of today’s multinationals, built their empires. It was a city that attracted the greatest, the most debauched, the most ambitious and the most ruthless. But with the history with invasion (trade or otherwise) from the country as France, Britain, Russia and Japan makes Shanghai the cultural hotpot which is clearly visible in aristocratic buildings (sandwiched between the heaven high neon skyscrapers) and in posh and dandy French Concession area.
As of now, Shanghai is practically my adopted home city. And even after my three years of stay here, the thing that baffles me the most is the fact that it has so much to offer and so many choices that it literally makes me hysterically delirious. Everyone knows modern China is now a monster unleashed with a credit card. You can see that in the gigantic malls which brags the brands to the likes of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Swarovski to name a few. As opposed to popular believe not everything is cheap - Shanghai is, in fact, the most expensive city in China. It’s a huge county to begin with and with the raising GDP, Chinese certainly don't mind to cut loose and empty their pockets. However, if you are looking for cheaper fake goods instead then probably you should consider other cities in China. There is one place aptly named Qifu Road though, which is a mecca of cheap and fake goods.
And then there is all those architectures and infrastructures to marvel at. You can see it in Pudong, a former marsh area that has been converted, in just over a decade, into Asia’s Manhattan - Shanghai now boasts more skyscrapers than any other city in the world. The architecture is indomitable (just look at the Oriental Pearl Tower), the development ambitions un-fearful. Everyone wants in on the action. Be it in chic Waitan and opulent Xintianti both of which is the solid example of British and French indigenous architecture. Be it in Yu garden which gives a taste of real China with oriental wood-styled pagoda. Be it in Jing'an district where rich and ostentatious ones indulge. And as of 2010, you can also get piece of Nepal at expo site. All of these will brighten up the night sky as soon as sun bides farewell. As the night falls Shanghai has completely new things to offer and pamper you with. Hengshan area alone, within its boundary, constitutes 300 or more clubs, bars and pubs. And Hengshan is only a small bloke in a huge body of night life machine. China might be conservative but Shanghai is not. Its nightlife is now one of the world’s most famous (just google it). The malls would close up around 10-11 at night which is the only down side for the people who might want to shop till they drop.
Then comes the sunshine and you will find the city as vibrant as you had left behind at night. I can't even begin to suggest you places during the day. There's just too many which makes city trotting experience fun. From the likes of famous ones including wax museum Madame Tussauds, Oriental Pearl Tower to somber ones like People Square, Nanjing Road. I would highly suggest you to walk the alleys of Mogan'shan Road where there is the stretch of street with ghetto street paints and street arts. You'd notice that night’s hustle-bustle and fiasco turns into gatherings in park where old people would dance to the music too groovy for their age (even Bollywood numbers sometimes), kites of various fashion and design would rival the height of the skyscrapers. And you always have to eat, right? If you have a soft spot for sweet foods you have chosen a right place. What can be called Shanghai cuisine is epitomized by the use of alcohol. Fish, eel, crab, and chicken are "drunken" with spirits and are briskly cooked/steamed or served raw. All of this of course with the hint of sweetness. But you prefer something foreign to Chinese food then no wasting time on worrying. City is, in fact, invaded with franchise of foreign food chains and restaurants. Just suit your expense.
There are series of sporting events that takes place in Shanghai including Shanghai Rolex Masters Cup and Shanghai Formula-one. So you might want to align your trip with the events as the tickets are priced reasonably. Everybody has their favourite things to do in Shanghai. Everybody reacts differently to the things they see here and has the right to react the way they deem fit. As for me nightlife and people are the best among all. As I consider the two, I wonder, will a third contender emerge?