Monday, July 19, 2010
Shanghai 2010: World Expo, Nanjing Road, and HuangPu River
Unfortunately, the Expo hadn't opened yet in April, but we got to check out the site beforehand (which might have turned out for the better; I heard the place was literally a zoo the day it opened...a very hot, stuffy, humid one). It's strange that we haven't heard much of it back in the U.S. but apparently it's a huge deal everywhere else in the world. I think a lot of different countries come to one specific site (it changes every 4 years) to set up an exhibit and show off some of its newest technologies to the public. We posed in front of the red building on the left - it's supposed to represent China. And, needless to say, security was incredible. I don't mean policemen, I mean soldiers. Very angry-looking ones who were probably sick of the numerous tourists peeking in and unintentionally edging over the boundary line in attempts to take better pictures.
Even the surrounding greenery got special attention. We actually saw trees around the perimeter that got IV drips filled with tree treats.
Look how many nutrients are in that IV drip. That is going to be one buffed up tree!
Anyway, enough about the Expo. We also visited Nanjing Road, which eventually led to the famous HuangPu River that cuts Shanghai in half.
I think working in Shanghai right now would be any architect's or businessman's dream. The place is developing so quickly that you can actually leave for a few months and come back to find a new building or street in a place you thought you knew.
The place is literally packed with people. I've visited about every 2 years since high school, but this is the first time I've seen so much ethnic diversity wandering around (I think the Expo has a large part in that). There's some European guy next to me in that picture, and if you just wander the streets, you're bound to pick up Korean, Russian, German, English... you name it. Things are changing pretty radically over there.
Sitting next to Mr. Expo Man (they call him HaiBao). He's everywhere...literally. I wonder what they're going to do with all the HaiBaos once the Expo is over.
Anyway, we let the sea of people eventually carry us over to the HuangPu River. For some reason, there was a LOT of people that day. A LOT - even by China standards. And that's saying something.
Hah, silly policemen. Do you really think you can stem hundreds of Chinese people as they cross on a red light?
Despite the crushing crowd (or partly because of it), the entire experience was actually quite fun. It's quite an experience squeezing through all the ski jackets and coats amidst the angry "Aiyahs" and curses to claim your spot along the railing of the river. And the view is certainly worth the effort.
It's strange because Mom grew up in Shanghai in the latter part of the Cultural Revolution (her siblings saw the worst of it) and told me stories of political enemies who would actually commit suicide by jumping into the river. Looking at the beautiful renovations and rich people wandering around, I was hit by the fact that China has progressed so much in a span of as little as 30-40 years. It really makes me stand back in awe....and definite pride in being Chinese.
This post is running on a little long, so I may have to continue in another sometime in the future.