Friday, February 8, 2008
One of my to-do things in Shanghai was to take a cruise along the Huangpu River.
And this afternoon I crossed it off my list.
However it was quite hard to find. I read my guidebook, telling me to buy a ticket near the bulbous pink Pearl TV Tower. But the area around the gaudy construction was all blocked off selling admission tickets to the tower.
So I wandered to the promenade and took a few pictures of the Bund. Although the sun was out, the sky was still hazy.
However as I was walking back towards the Pearl TV Tower and a Wild Insect Museum, a man in uniform was shouting about a cruise about to begin. So I ran to the ticket booth, paid my 50 RMB and headed down the gangway onto a miniature cruise ship holding about 50 passengers.
They already took up most of the seats inside in on plush white leather seats complete with a TV screen. So I wandered up to the back and took a seat.
Unfortunately like many Chinese waterways, the water in the river is completely polluted, a ghoulish looking mixture that's almost dark grey.
Soon after the boat started moving, people started crowding around where I was trying to take pictures. They were more interested in taking pictures of Pudong, the new area where all the ultra-cool buildings are instead of the Bund, which I was more keen on.
The European architecture of the Bund is Shanghai for me. The colonial buildings still stand proud despite modern ones peeking or trying to overshadow them in the background.
They represent the past, while Pudong is the future. But they must co-exist otherwise there is nothing to show Shanghai's direction.
On the one side are the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and emerald-green roofed Peace Hotel, and the other is the Gotham-like Jin Mao Tower housing the Grand Hyatt and next to it an even taller building in the midst of construction that looks like a giant bottle cap opener.
Wonder if that means Shanghai is ready to party or unleashing its financial prowess to the world?