Tag Archive | the Bund

Vivi’s Visit: The Bund and Nanjing Road, Shanghai Museum and Parks

Here in Shanghai, we are good.  The Chinese young woman who helped us last June in the Shanghai Train Station when we were on our way to Beijing, came a recent weekend for a visit.

Although Vivi has been living and working (and struggling alone, she reports) about an hour-and-a-half from Shanghai for the last two years, this was the first time she has been anywhere in the city besides the train station.

Vivi and Barry in People’s Square

So we got to introduce her to the Shanghai Metro, People’s Park, the wonderful Shanghai Museum (where we saw among many other things, an 8,000 year old ceramic pot!), the high-end shops of Nanjing Road, and the always colorful Bund.

Little frogs, fish, and ducks “swim” inside this water vessel from Early Spring & Autumn of Zi Zhong Jiang (770-7th c. B.C.)  at the Shanghai Museum

Bells of Marquis Su of Jin (mid 9th c. B.C.)

Blue-and-white vase with scenes of West Lake, Hangzhou, Jingdezhen Ware, KANGXI Reign (1662-1722 A.D.) Qing

The four floors of the Shanghai Museum contain galleries for ancient Chinese bronzes, sculptures, paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, furniture, coins, minority nationalities’  art, and more.     Going there is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Go to <www.shanghaimuseum.net> for more information.

After the museum closed at 5 pm, we wandered down the packed with people and shops Nanjing Road.

To advertise its PowerShot camera and other products, Canon sponsored a free concert that Saturday night on Nanjing Road.

Scene from Nanjing Road

Then, of course, we walked on the Bund.

Lights on the Bund

We stopped for a great dinner and wandered more.  Before we headed to the Metro, we stopped at a McDonald’s on Nanjing.  I had a tea, but then it must have been really strong since I didn’t go to sleep until about 2 am.   I did get to finish reading a book.

On Sunday, we took Vivi to two lovely Shanghai parks, Kangjian Garden, where the first flowers are starting to bloom, and to Guilin Park, near our SNU campus.

People gather in the park to play music and sing.

An accordion and drum accompanied the singers of a rousting song they were practicing.   Vivi told us the song was about how glorious it was that the Chinese government was building a railroad, a song that must be from the 1960’s. They sounded professional!

Other people danced, flew kites, or did tai chi.

This park, Kangjian Garden, near our apartment has a water canal too

A few flowers are blooming

Signs encourage people to exercise, but we don’t really understand this one: “You can talk during walking, but can not sing. It is nice that your walking were accompanied with a little perspiration or light tired rather than nausea or dizziness.

Then we went to Guilin Park near SNU.

A beautiful cat in Guilin Park

Now how many cats do you see? China too has a feral cat challenge.

What used to be a temple is now a tea house

That afternoon, Vivi needed to catch the train back to her six-days-a-week job.     She is 22,  has a bachelor’s degree, two years of working experience, and her English is really good.  Like the other Chinese students, she spent all her early years studying.  She competed to get into college where she spent her freshman year in class 46 hours a week, and then she needed to study.  She got an internship through a teacher’s recommendation, and has been working at PCV companies in marketing and sales (without a commission) for two years.  She is outside the city and lonely.  In her field now, this situation is likely not to change. Long-distance trucks pass in front of her factory all day long.  She now  wants to  change careers to become a teacher.  She will need to study on her own to pass the teacher’s test since she is too old to get into a university.  She wants to move back to her village, which is close to Xian (where the Terra Cotta soldiers are), to be near her family and friends.  Even if she passes the teacher’s test, she will probably be placed in a rural school far from her home, but her  brother-in-law works for the government, so she has a good chance to end up near home.

Vivi is the youngest child of four (two are twins) .  Her parents are farmers.  They have been selling off their land to developers.  They have one piece of property left.  None of the children want to be farmers, but they will keep the one piece for the one son, so he will have property; however he is in the army.  The farmers here, much like around the world, are giving up their land to developers and hope their children will do well in the new growing economy.  Vivi says she knows that she must struggle.

We  wish Vivi  much luck and a good future.

With our wandering and being tour guides, Barry is perfecting his walking tour itinerary of Shanghai.  It’s been raining and in the 30’s and 40’s, but perfect for walking as long as you have boots and an umbrella, which we do.  Come join us.

Aloha and zaì jiàn, Renée

Shànghǎi, China — Vibrant, Global City

Barry and I headed next to Shànghǎi, a city of over 19,000,000 people.   Because of its great port location, Shànghǎi was opened to foreign trade by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking and became a center of business between the East and the West.  Now this  vibrant, cosmopolitan city has been growing in importance as a major shipping center as well as a world financial center.

Music on the Bund
Browsing in the Shànghǎi shops

Street food: we ate it and never got sick (although I don’t eat meat) –and what we chose was always just cooked and hot and tasty.

Some things we did not try: fish parts for sale

We saw beauty everywhere:

Koi pond
Elaborate old Shànghǎi buildings
Cute dog on what seems to be a dragon turtle
Elegant lunch with Shànghǎi Normal University hosts
Jan from UHMC with Tony and Laura from Shànghǎi Normal University
We enjoyed many feasts

One reason we love Shànghǎi is because of its architectural variety.  Shànghǎi’s tallest building –actually China’s tallest building at 1,614 feet–is the Shànghǎi World Financial Center.   Its trapezoidal hole at its peak makes it look–some people say– a lot like a giant bottle opener.

The Shànghǎi Financial Center, China's tallest building, behind the seemingly taller building in the foreground

Originally it had been designed with a circular opening at the peak;  however, in the planning stage, many people including the Shànghǎi mayor expressed dismay that the designed looked too much like the rising sun of the Japanese flag, and so the shape became what you see.

Another well-known structure is the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Oriental Pearl Tower on the left

At the time it was finished in 1994, the Oriental Pearl Tower, a TV tower, was the tallest structure in China – 1,535 feet high.  Its name is taken from  the Tang Dynasty poem “Pipa Song,” by Bai Juyi, which is about the sprinkling sound of a pipa instrument– like pearls falling on a jade plate — although what we heard from the base was traffic sounds.

Another of the most recognized places in Shànghǎi is the Bund, a fantastic walkway along the Huangpu River.  On one side, you can see the stately architecture of European design; on the other side the modern buildings of the changing China.

The Pudong side of the river--the new section of Shànghǎi

Pudong building

The word “bund” comes from an Anglo-Indian word that means “embankment along a muddy waterfront” which was a good description when the first British trading company established an office there in 1846.    However, it soon became the epitome of elegance for this city of trade and is now a wonderful walkway  for tourists and locals.

Oriental Pearl Tower view from the Bund
City lights reflecting on the Huangpu River

Tourist boats and working vessels navigate the Huangpu River.

We loved the Bund and watching people.

Cute girl on the Bund
Group relaxing on the Bund
Of course, the Bund is a great spot for wedding photos
Cute boys too
Seasoned couple
Great ice cream treats

Tony, Barry, Randall, Jan, and Cathy: relaxing on the Bund

Some ride on the Bund
Local drink stand: Eating and drinking as you are strolling is part of the Bund experience.  
The Bund can be overwhelming
Dad and child
Family enjoying the Bund

and at night–

European designed architecture on one side the Bund
The newly renovated Peace Hotel on the Bund
View on the Bund
Lights on the Shànghǎi Bund–new buildings across the Huangpu  River
View from the Bund of the Pudong–modern area
Walking on the Bund
Rain on a Shànghǎi street

Shanghai is a good place to eat.

Barry and Liping
Jan and Randall–We ate well in Shànghǎi

Shànghǎi girl reading in a coffee shop

Shanghai is known for its shopping opportunities.  At the South Bund Soft Spinning Market, you can buy tailor-made clothes, silks (real and not), and famous brands (also some real and some not).

Jacket for the dress that Cathy will wear to her daughter’s wedding
Cathy putting in her order for the dress and jacket

Cathy was able to order a beautiful outfit for her daughter’s wedding this fall.  The price was reasonable, the dress made to fit her, and the material, design, and workmanship beautiful.

South Bund Soft Spinning Market
Glitter in an upscale Shànghǎi shopping mall–from right: Randall, Jan, and me

Dior, Cartier, Louis Vuitton . . . You can buy it all here

Shànghǎi  has wonderful museums and many events:

Platers and bowls in the Shànghǎi Museum
Jingdeghen ware from the Kangxi Reign (A.D. 1662-1722)

Beautiful pieces in the Shànghǎi Museum

Some pieces in the Shànghǎi  Museum date back to 4,800 B.C. !!

Not only are the museums interesting, modern sports are available too.

Basketball in Shànghǎi

The Shànghǎi parks are beautiful and interesting.

Guilin Park entrance
People bring their birds to the park and hang the cages in the trees while the owners play cards
Guilin Park–originally the home of a Shànghǎi gangster

We’d had a great time in Shànghǎi.  Then we needed to make our way to Beijing.  The train seemed to be the best choice for us.

Tina, the newly graduated university student who befriended us in the Shànghǎi train station, with Barry and me 

Then Barry and I headed off to Beijing on an  over-night hard seat train that took 14-hours.  Our train covered about 665 miles to go from Shànghǎi to Beijing; the cost was $27 each in a clean if not exactly comfortable –especially after about 10 hours– train. Tickets sell out quickly.  We were lucky to have assigned seats; some people didn’t.

The Shànghǎi  Train Station–the waiting rooms were vast and crowded
The Shànghǎi Train Station seems in many ways like an airport with its many shops and new facilities
Waiting patiently for the train

Because we arrived at the train station two hours before departure, we were able to get seats in the waiting room.

The new trains of many, many cars stretch along the platform.
Barry and I had seats across the aisle from each other–six people on each side. Most of the passengers were students going home for the summer.  We made it to Beijing, but we can now recommend taking soft-seat, fast trains.  
We love Shànghǎi, and I’ve been offered a teaching job there in the spring, so we are likely to continue to explore this city.  Come visit.
Zài Jiàn and Aloha, Renée
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