We took the high speed train from Beijing to Shanghai, travelling at up to 307 kms an hour, a five hour fast ride from heritage sites to a futuristic looking city.
The Bund, along the Huangpu River, looks old to me but by Chinese standards it’s quite a modern addition, as the 52 Western modern and classical style buildings were built in the 20th century. The Bund formerly housed banks and trading houses from across the world. When you look at this area you could be in any European city and its disorientating because you know you’re in Shanghai.
If you turn your back on the Bund the modern city of Shanghai is laid out before you and looks like a city of the future with its space age Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower and light displays on skyscrapers, only the flying cars are missing.
The mall we wandered down could have been any big city in the world with its plethora of expensive international brands and hip and trendy young people. Shanghai is an interesting mix of old China, with a street market outside the hotel door, the quaint French Concession and the modern, almost culturally unidentifiable areas such as Xin Tian Di Street.
We spent an afternoon exploring the delightful Yuyuan Gardens with the wonderful black and white buildings representative of the area.
The two hectare Gardens are hidden behind a wall and as you wander you discover the hidden delights of pavilions, corridors, rockeries, bamboo grooves, bonsai and ponds.
At the suggestion of a friend of a friend who lives in Shanghai we took ourselves to see the ERA Intersection of Time at Shanghai Circus World. We were early to the theatre and it looked a little run down so we thought maybe we had made the wrong choice but the show was spectacular. The lithesome acrobats and jugglers had me on the edge of my seat and I held my breath as the eight motorcycle riders raced around in a steel orb. This is a very professional show by a highly disciplined team and I would go again, a great recommendation from an unknown friend.