Monday, October 27, 2008

City of Contrasts

Shanghai is a city of contrasts: a heady blend of East and West, old and new, rich and poor, all bumping up against each other. I loved seeing the traditional Chinese temples and silk clothing mixed in amongst the modern highrises and trendy fashionistas. 

Shanghai is booming, as it gets ready for the World Expo in 2010. There's construction everywhere. Today, some 18 million people live in this huge city. They expect the numbers to rise to 71 million during Expo. Wow! That's a lot of people.

The first photo shows a street scene of Old Town, where vendors sell food and goods, such as tea, silk clothing, fish, pearls, and knock-off wallets. People here live in small apartment homes, close together. As we walked down this street, we saw children playing, a dog wandering, a man tending his homing pigeons and laundry drying on bamboo poles. We smelled savoury food cooking and heard a chorus of voices as people tended to their chores. And — at the same time we took photos of them — they took photos of us!

The second photo shows the skyline of modern Shanghai with its stunning highrises. The tallest building in the world stands here. Don't look down! We were tempted to go to the top of one of the tall buildings to get a bird's eye view of Shanghai, but, alas, my fear of heights overtook my curiosity.

The mix of Shanghai old and new was surprising to me, but it seemed to be harmonious and working well. Fascinating city! 

More to come soon...

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