December 15, 2008

2008 in Pictures: Part 8

oldtown 018

oldtown 020

Date Taken: February 8th, 2008

The Old Town (now just called the Huangpu District) is the location of "old" Shanghai; where the city used to be before it started growing and all these foreign powers started demanding that the emperor cede territory to them. Hmph, the nerve! It's also where Yu Gardens (Yu Yuan), one of Shanghai's famous tourist attractions, is located. (It's also where I first smelled stinky tofu, so, well, let's just say I have strong memories of the place!) The area normally is thick with people and the streets are lined with all manner of stalls selling everything from nut  bread to to Chairman Mao posters, from water guns to fish guts, from jeweled bracelets to ... well, you get the idea.

However, on this particular day the crowds were even more insane than normal. That's because it was the day after Chinese New Year (hence the giant rat parade floats). I've never seen the place more crowded and decorated. I could barely squeeze through the crowd of people. Moving 10 feet was hard work! And if you click the pictures and look around the flickr set, you'll see just how decorated the place was. There were plastic/papier mache figures hanging from every wall, window, and roof. It was a great place to be just after New Year's.

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Date Taken: February 17th, 2008

The above DJ is Shimon, one of the most famous (and talented) drum and bass artists I follow. I was really excited to see him! I mean, the man co-wrote "Body Rock", one of the greatest dnb anthems evAr. It's sitting in my record case in my Austin storage unit. I joked with Jane that I'd pay her 100 RMB if she got him to play it that night. (And to my surprise, he did!! But only for like 30 seconds, haha.) How much more awesome can you get?

Behind him you can see Jane (owner/operator of Phreaktion) and Carl, another friend of mine. This night was pure awesomeness. I remember really enjoying the music. But I also remember Shimon asking me where the bathroom in the Shelter was! It was definitely one of those celebrity moments, lol. "Tee hee hee, he's speaking to me!!" And to get my attention, he tapped my left shoulder. I joked for the rest of the night that I'd never wash it again! And of course, I haven't, much to the dismay of my co-workers, 'cuz it's starting to smell.

Mount Doom & Barad'dur

lujiazui 033

Date Taken: February 24th, 2008

I remember this day quite well. I walked outside the metro station in the morning and immediately saw crystal clear blue skies peppered with clouds. Such rare weather in this city. Maybe that's why the first thought in my head -- and this isn't hyperbole, it literally was the first thought in my head -- was "JIN MAO TOWER!!" Those words exactly. So I ran and got my camera and high-tailed it up to the 88th floor of said building, where I was rewarded with these amazing views.

FYI, the extreme blue tint comes from setting my camera to "incandescent" white balance. I think it turned out quite lovely. The Flickr set has pictures of what it looks like with a non-crazy white balance.

Then I ran up Century Avenue, nearly getting flattened in the process since there's very few places to actually cross that road, and took the elevator up to the top of the Pearl Tower. That's where I captured the first shot above, of the WFC and Jin Mao dominating the Shanghai skyline. The other buildings looks like LEGOs compared to those two -- but those other buildings are like 30 stories each!

And you can see that the WFC wasn't even complete yet. That makes it all the stranger that I was walking around at the very tip-top of it just two days ago!! It turned out really dark though. When I get home I'm going to lighten it up and print out some copies ;-)

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