S.H.A.N.G.H.A.I ! … Can you say Love At First Sight! .. May 12th 2016

Just finished our first 24 hours in this spectacular metropolis. Truly this was a totally unexpected feeling. Out of EVERY new city we have visited in the world, Shanghai has evoked the BEST immediate reaction of them all. There is a feeling here that has transcended language and cultural differences to give us this incredible infusion of excitement. Of course this should not be that big a surprise as we love the big cities, but Shanghai appears to check all the boxes; from old school, to futuristic, to cultural, to accommodating international expectations. Almost makes me want to start learning Chinese…Almost, but I think Spanish for now will remain the focus. Took this picture a short moment ago while sitting on the Bund watching thousands of people stroll one of the greatest waterfront promenades in the world. Will be breaking the city down into different sections for future postings.

The Many Faces Of Shanghai!

It’s almost impossible to set out in a direction that goes away from new development because in each direction, something new is being created. We went to explore two of Shanghai’s most interesting cultural centers. Old City Shanghai is not exactly old. Actually nothing in Shanghai is that “old” when compared to say Beijing or other capitals of the world. But Shanghai was only a minor outpost until the mid 1800s, funny that it can grow into the world’s largest city. Inside the Old City we found a day to day old school way of Chinese life. Really interesting contrast between old on the streets and new in the sky. What we found REALLY striking in the Old City, is that as bustling and crowded as it was, we rarely saw Western looking tourists. Ergo, I have changed my self created moniker for Tommy to go from Basic White to Exotic White…

Back in the mid 1800s the British negotiated a deal with the Chinese that led to the creation of the International Concession, a zone of self-rule for foreign powers in Shanghai. But you know those independent minded French, they declined to join. They made a separate deal to found their own concession. It began as a typical French provincial town. Unfortunately redevelopment has removed old villas and buildings but a lot of it remains. So I guess those French were right, because I cant find a British or American concession anywhere, but the French live on!… Once again, it took the whole day to explore these areas, My feet might be ready for a marathon when we return!

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