Sunday, November 22, 2009

The other side of the river

The day we decided to go to the Pudong side of the river the temperature dropped over night from a relatively comfortable 27 degrees (and a lot less humidity than we are used to at home) to a bone chilling but thankfully sunny 12 degrees. We had come partially perpared with a thermal top each and sweatshirts but not jackets as we were expecting a rather less crippling, but still cold when you are used to year around 30+, 20 degrees so we layered up and took off at a stiff arms-folded-against-the-building-breeze pace towards the metro station at People's Park. A couple of stops later we popped out of the underground station tunnel onto a massive multi lane, multi road intersection directly opposite one of the most recognisable buildings in Shanghai, the pink 468 meter high Oriental Pearl Tower.

Crossing the road towards the tower to peppy rounded Boyband pop which was kind of appropriate considering the design of the building is based on a verse of a poem by Bai Juyi, penned during the Tang Dynasty. 'Pipa Xing' -Pipa Play- describes a chance encounter with a female pipa player on the Yangtze River.

The bold strings rattled like splatters of sudden rain,
The fine strings hummed like lovers' whispers.
Chattering and pattering, pattering and chattering,
As pearls, large and small, on a jade plate fall.

Following the road towards the river we ended up on a wide boardwalk butted up against the grey wind churned water of the Huangpu with the most incredible view of the endless contemporary science fiction shapes of Shanghai's skyline...

...which like the Imperial planet Coruscant becomes a 'blaze of light and sparkling colours' after night fall complete with violent red sunsets and daytime smokey haze.

(Actually for Star Wars fans I imagine many of Coruscant's descriptions could be used to describe Shanghai- 'a world with enough diversions for just about anyone'...'the long-overdue fall of the corrupt Old Republic, and the sweeping introduction of the Emperor's resplendent New Order'...and 'The recorded history of Coruscant stretches back so far that it becomes indistinguishable from legend…' )

After a necessary hour or so stocking up on jeans etc at the nearby Super Brand Mall we headed back past the tower to the Aquarium... ride the longest sightseeing underwater tunnel in the world...

...and of course see some really big fish, some really rare aquatic animals and some ugly cute sea creatures...

...oh and the sharks, crocs and turtles too.

When we were done it was dark and much colder than when we went in. Time to head back and find some dinner and a warm blanket to snuggle under.

(We finally got some stable electricity so I uploaded photos like a fiend!)


Connie said...

Very cool! And awesome photos.

Off-Tack said...

Love your writing and your pictures!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the two comments you left on my blog, I'll definitely be looking into charcol tablets, they're not common in the UK.

Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are on our maybe list. We might do all three or two of the three, not sure yet. I haven't done any research which is why there are no links, but I'll start with your blog! If you've got any specific ideas, I'd be very glad to hear them. Angkor Wat, is obviously high on the list, but we'd also be interested in seeing otters. Our local zoo runs a scheme with a Cambodian otter charity, which I was keen to look into.

Natalie said...

Shanghai is SO on our list of "want to go-to's"...which seems to be getting longer every day. Who would not love that pink building:) The Star Wars comment resonated with me, ah, a fellow geek. I always enjoy reading your blog because you obviously research your stuff, therefore I always get to learn something new and interesting. Thank you for your good work and congrats on the electricity, may (I can't help myself) the force be with you, pun intended.