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China – Shanghai – 7th December

Having decided on our next destination we bought our tickets from the bus station for Tunxi. This required an underground subway ride but it didn’t take too long. Taikang Road Art Centre has a nice exterior and looks very modern so we decided to take a look inside. They were exhibiting a collection on Luilu glass art which was nice to look at but not that attention grabbing. Across the road is a western style small supermarket and we found ourselves some weetabix for breakfast for the next few days, the small things can make all the difference to the traveling experience, especially when eating them out of a metal thermos flask!

We proceeded to walk around the backstreets of Shanghai and we found Kommune situated at the heart of the Taiping Road Art district is a cafe/restaurant recommended in The Lonely Planet which has some tasty Chinese and western fusion food on offer, it’s a little pricey but the food and setting kind of makes you overlook this a little. In this area there are quite a few photographic galleries, some are very much aimed at the tourist with some nice(ish) images, but nothing that we haven’t seen before and a lot of repetition in imagery, style and so on. However one or two galleries have some really high end work and do manage to stand out above the rest. Its quite a contrived arts area but there have been some good renovations to the buildings and most things on offer including food and tourist tat is all a little over priced. We walked onwards towards the French Concession part of Shanghai which offers not-surprisingly very European style architecture and landscaping. Streets are much narrower and buildings are only up to 5-6 stories high. It’s really pleasant and does take you to somewhere in the Med. A nearby park once more offered some strong photographic opportunities in the form of men flying kites (a popular hobby in China) women gossiping, people exercising and practising Tai Chi along with the usual card and betting games. There’s always interesting things to document in these kind of environments.

As the afternoon passed we made our way over to Pudong well in time so we could get some good sunset views. We were perhaps a little over eager in getting to the viewing platform in The Jinmao Tower which is a very ‘Gotham City’ style looking building that looks out over Shanghai with the TV tower placed right in the forefront of your view. We stayed up there for a good few hours and waited for the sunset, they always disappear into a smoggy haze over the major cities in China, but from behind the glass we had some amazing views and met a few other travellers up top too.

On our way back to the hostel we found a great little cheap restaurant a few streets away from where we’re staying and managed to have braised tofu, green beans and a meaty dish for dave, along with rice for around £4. It really is amazing how cheaply you can eat over here!! It never ceases to surprise us! The waiters here were dressed in a retro military style uniform and our particular waiter entertained us by singing Beatles tracks as soon as he found out that Helen is from near Liverpool! Very entertaining! We followed this with a quick call to the folks and then few games of pool back at The Hiker YHA, our first game against each other and against all odds Helen won! This was the most important game of course, all others will be forgotten quickly… but this one will be held high in the list of sweet success.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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One Comment

  1. Jo Dubs
    Posted 5 Jan ’11 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Jinmao Tower was the hotel we stayed in when I went to Shanghai with work. What a great view to wake up to each morning, and there is a bar on the top floor just below the observation floor which made it the tallest bar in the world I think. All good when you have someone else paying too, and not a travelers budget!

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