A Travellerspoint blog

Moving on to another city - Hangzhou

10 °C

Leaving behind the cosmopolitan city, we set sail to a less chaotic one.
foggysail.jpg The bund
On the outskirts of metropolitan Shanghai, the bus hurried past endless farmland. Poverty and farming didn't sit quite well together here; a typical image of the rural areas of China.
Some of the farmers' houses were probably 6 storeys tall. These were the well-to-do farmers who dwelled comfortably at the fringe of a world city. They settled here by choice to 'live in a house, a very big house in the country'. farmhouse.jpgfarmhouse1.jpgfarmhouse2.jpgfarmhouse3.jpg
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The predominantly subsistence farming lay in the opposite end (from city) of the commercial farms (Hong Qiao) in Pudong (East of Huang Pu River which the city flanks) area. The fruits below belonged to the mega-farms of multi-million dollars investment.
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Pricey tea in Hangzhou. Just like Hong Qiao agricultural zone, this was a tourist attraction (more of a tourist trap in fact). The temperature dropped at the tea plantation and the night turned chilly but the view of the idyllic rural landscape was lovely while it lasted.
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That was the end of the short trip.
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Posted by nobdynowhr 09:56 Archived in China Comments (0)

View from the Hotel room (near Fudan University)

is what I'll miss most

5 °C

It rained the first night I arrived.
This was a small stretch of shopping area that catered to the undergrads' needs.
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This was taken outside Han Ting Inn (my humble dwelling for 7 nights) the next day after the rain. Where did the invisible man go? invisibleman.jpg

Alone at night in the room, I peered at my neighbours from the window to see what they were up to. I saw a young girl studying by her dim table lamp and a middle age lady in another room cleaning up the kitchen. If the stopped what they were busying with for a moment, they would see me peeping at their lives. I was the voyeur finding company amongst strangers who shared the same negative space.
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Posted by nobdynowhr 09:11 Archived in China Comments (0)

Old Vs New City

Day Tour of the melting pot of pre and post Capitalism Shanghai

9 °C

Glamour of high-end shopping experience - Nanjing Lu
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The moment I stepped out of the designated glam area, I got acquainted once again with the more familiar decay and the overhead cables that connected the new found capitalist landscape to its shabby past.
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Old City Area (lies just next to the popular tourist attraction - YuYuan), a gritty urban experience and a bustling colourful one.
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And the people's voices had extended to global issues - Anti-Global Warming
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This is an impoverished area in the vicinity of the railway station that serves as the centre of domestic migration. You can still see many street hawkers who set up stalls right at their doorsteps. The homes are not well equipped with basic facilities and a lady had to wash her hair over a basin of water outside her dwelling.
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In the midst of the decay, a relatively tall 6 storey European piece of architecture rose near the Suzhou Creek. This housed galleries and design firms as well as a restaurant which we dined at. The owners had managed to adapt the old building for modern use while making minimal changes to preserve the distinct architectural characteristics.
Oh well, guess they couldn't decide what to do with the old windows so the best way was to hang it on the wall as a momento. fauxwindow.jpg
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Xintiandi was only exciting for 5 minutes and my comrades and I were already out of the glam zone by then. Our senses were instantly bombarded by the chaos of the real streets of Shanghai. I could hardly contain my excitement when we passed the dimly lit dwellings, often opened to the walkways along them, and the neighbourhood they created. I walked in to take photographs, completely oblivious that I was trespassing.
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Perhaps I appeard so blase that nobody cared to take notice. I bypassed the security point of a school without even realising it cos I was too excited by what Greg Girad's would have taken for Phantom Shanghai coming alive right in front of my eyes.
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More of the vernacular Shanghai (near Lu Xun Park)-doublehappiness.jpgcoal.jpg
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Posted by nobdynowhr 07:52 Archived in China Comments (0)

Old district around Old school

9 °C

This district lies at the fringe of Shanghai city centre. There was some time after the school visit and my colleagues and I decided to explore the surburb yet to be devoured whole by the hungry city. One of my colleagues pointed out the banner on a block of apartments lying in a pool of empty land. It translates to "violent objection to the tearing down of dwellings for capitalist gains" or "what rights do you have, harming the people for capitalist gains".
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The towering laundry on bamboo poles formed a seamless canopy above the pedestrains. Pretty soon, a new inpenetrable canopy of highrise apartment blocks would take their place too.
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Posted by nobdynowhr 07:16 Archived in China Comments (0)

Down to Earth Shanghai

Old School

9 °C

nanyang.jpgroundedwindows.jpg This was a high school I visited in Shanghai in the Xu Jia Hui District; it's an official trip. You could say I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time as a new road would soon take the place of this old school which had stood the test of time. Such a pity. There was a distinct 'old school' feel and it was almost possible to hallucinate kids running round in their red scarves and teachers in their Mao suits the moment I walked though the iron gates. [By the way, the students here are in their late teens so I guess they don't wear the red scarves anymore.] It was near winter and the shadows grew long much earlier; it was as if they were clinging on to the last days of the present that would soon become past.
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Enough of waxing lyrical. This was something in the school I found bizarre. It was out of place in a school but nonetheless unpretentious - a smoking area for teachers.
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Apart from this old school, I visited an even older school with its predecessor founded in 1905, shortly before the end of China's imperial Qing dynasty - Fudan University (復旦大學). This multipurpose hall was actually a small classroom and again, the wane sunlight streaming into it transported me back in time.
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Posted by nobdynowhr 06:26 Archived in China Comments (0)

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