February 6, 2008

French Concession

Originally uploaded by ryry9379
Man, I realize I am drowning ya'll in photos! There's almost eighty more to look at today, courtesy of a walking tour I took in the French Concession. The most fun part was perhaps walking around the empty revolving restaurant at the top of the Jinjiang Hotel, waiting to get thrown out. But thankfully that never happened :-) The hotel is where Nixon signed the historic Shanghai Communique with Zhou Enlai in 1972.

The area is an interesting mix of the swanky (such as the hotel) and the not-so-swanky. The tour took me along Changle Lu, Julu Lu, Xinle Lu, Xiangyang Lu, and several other sidestreets in between Huaihai Lu and Yan'an Lu. In the pictures you'll see all these little alleyways diverging from the streets. Some are decent-looking, but some appear pretty squalid. The contrast between the rich and the poor, the new and the old, is pretty jarring on some occasions. It was just like seeing a cluster of poorly-put-together shops right next to the Ferrari dealership in Renmin Guangchang yesterday.

Tonight is a NYE dinner party at a friend's place and then, hopefully, some fireworks insanity :-) She advised me to go to Yuyuan tomorrow because it'll be insanely crowded, so I think I'm gonna do that. Then, shit, I need to rest my damn feet. They are beginning to hurt from all this touring. But it is really worth it. Not even for the photos, which are awesome, but just to get out and do something and make use of the limited time I have here. Doing that makes me feel great :-) And it makes me feel more "at home" here than if I just stayed in Pudong and did nothing.

I've stayed pretty close to the French Concession / Pudong areas so far. So, I want my next excursions to be to Hongkou (northern Shanghai), Xujiahui (southwestern Shanghai), and Hongqiao (western Shanghai).

Just think: tonight will be my third New Year's celebration in less than six months! I celebrated Rosh Hashanah in September , the solar New Year in December, and now the Chinese New Year. For me is it the Hebrew year 5768, the ... um ... solar? year 2008, and the Chinese year 4706. I feel a little bit like Pi Patel.

I can hear the fireworks already. Xin nian kuai le, everyone!!

1 comment:

Mike said...

You're gonna have to explain that Pi Patel reference. And I've read the book....