The Bund

a stroll along the pudong shore for a cloudy-day view of the bund

Sunday, May 3:  Last night, I accidentally set the alarm for 6:30 p.m., so this morning I slept a little later than I intended to. 🙂 I make some coffee in my room, catch up on Instagram and then soak in a long steamy bath.  I go out without having breakfast in the hotel, and that seems to work to alleviate some of the stomach troubles I’ve been plagued with all weekend.

I get on metro at 9 a.m. and go straight to the Lujiazui stop in Pudong.  I head directly to Riverside Avenue, bypassing the long queues waiting to go to the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.  I have no interest in standing in those queues as it’s a dark and cloudy morning and the view from the top wouldn’t be anything special.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong

Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong

Pudong

Pudong

Modern architecture in Pudong

Modern architecture in Pudong

Traffic circle in Pudong

Traffic circle in Pudong

downtown Pudong

downtown Pudong

To be honest, the view from the riverside isn’t great either.  When I was at the Bund on Friday, I was frustrated that the sun was to the west, foiling my attempts to get decent pictures of the old colonial buildings lining the Huangpu River. Thus I determined that this morning I would head directly to Pudong, so when I looked across the river to the west, the sun would be behind me.  However, it’s so cloudy and grey, that the views are not good.  No matter.  They do give you an idea of how different the west side of the river is from the east.  The Bund is old, classic and a little stodgy, while Pudong is glittering, colorful and modern.  I find it fascinating that the two sides of the river are so different.

The Bund from Pudong

The Bund from Pudong

Of course, since I’m on the Pudong side, I have to take some pictures of the modern side too, especially the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Shanghai International Convention Center.

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Shanghai International Convention Center

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Shanghai International Convention Center

The word ‘bund’ derives from an Anglo-Indian word for an embankment along a muddy waterfront.  That was what the Bund was originally (China Highlights: The Bund of Shanghai).

According to Wikipedia, the Shanghai Bund boasts dozens of historical buildings along the Huangpu River that once housed numerous banks and trading houses from the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Italy, Germany, Russia, Japan, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as the Russian and British consulates, a newspaper, the Shanghai Club and the Masonic Club. The Bund lies north of the old, walled city of Shanghai. It was initially a British settlement; later the British and American settlements were combined in the International Settlement. Magnificent commercial buildings in the Beaux Arts style sprung up in the years around the turn of the 20th century as the Bund developed into a major financial center of East Asia. (Wikipedia: The Bund)

The Bund

The Bund

The Bund across the Huangpu River

The Bund across the Huangpu River

As I walk along the Pudong waterfront, a small flotilla of official-looking boats comes down the river blaring trumpets and other loud instruments, much like a marching band in a parade.  I guess they’re celebrating International Workers’ Day, which was Friday.  This is, after all, the holiday weekend.

The Bund as seen from Pudong

The Bund as seen from Pudong

a musical flotilla

a musical flotilla

a celebratory parade of boats

a celebratory parade of boats

a musical celebration of the Labour Day holiday

a musical celebration of the Labour Day holiday

The Bund from Pudong

The Bund from Pudong

A cloudy day on the Bund

A cloudy day on the Bund

I guess I’m just not meant to get any great pictures of the Bund this weekend. 😦

The Bund

The Bund

Pudong and the Shangri-La

Pudong and the Shangri-La

Flags at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Flags at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower

looking up in Pudong

looking up in Pudong

After my riverside walk, I make my way to the metro.  My next destination is Yuyuan Garden.

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Categories: Asia, China, Holidays, Huangpu River, International Workers' Day, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Pudong, Shanghai, Shanghai International Convention Center, The Bund | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

riding the human tide along the bund to cloud 9 & pudong

Friday, May 1: After disembarking from the Huangpu River tour, I am now in search of food and rest before I fight the crowds back to the metro.  It’s now about 3:00, and as I walk the long trek back to Nanjing Dong Lu, I see that Pudong is now glowing in the afternoon sunlight. The sky is blue and clear and the buildings are stunning against that blue backdrop.

More views of Pudong as I walk back up the Bund

More views of Pudong as I walk back up the Bund

Funky boat

Funky boat

Since I entered the waiting area for the boat launch slightly after 1:00, the crowds on the Bund have swelled.  I thought it was packed before, but that was nothing compared to what it is now.

Pudong and boats

Pudong and boats

the busy Huangpu River

the busy Huangpu River

looking north down the Huangpu River

looking north down the Huangpu River

I have quite a long walk back, so I make a number of stops along the way to capture the skyline in the waning light.  I haven’t eaten all day, since the breakfast buffet at the hotel, and my plan is to take the metro to Pudong to go to Cloud 9, a bar on the 87th floor of Jinmao Tower.  However, I realize that will take a long time and I don’t know if I can wait that long to rest and eat.  Besides I want to be there at sunset, and that’s still quite a long time from now.

I haven’t been able to take many pictures of the actual Bund, as the sun is to the west and the photos are not good in that direction.  I determine that I will need to come back one of the next two mornings at an earlier hour so I can catch the Bund from the Pudong side with the sun in the east.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Oriental Pearl TV Tower

I come across a bride and groom posing for wedding photos.  Every time I’m about to capture the bride and groom alone, someone else from the wedding party walks across my photo!  I kind of like these non-staged photos.

Bride & groom photo session in progress

Bride & groom photo session in progress

Bride, groom and groomsman

Bride, groom and groomsman

I sure wish I were cruising down the river on a sailboat.  I’ve always been a water person, and I especially love being on a sailboat, despite the fact that I know nothing about how to actually sail.  I’d need a good captain aboard.

sailboat heaven

sailboat heaven

sailing away

sailing away

IMG_5948

Another boat plies the river

I finally decide to turn inland from the Bund back to Nanjing Dong Lu. However, there are policemen, and possibly the National Guard, in force, trying hard to contain the crowds.  They are doing their best to keep people going in one direction on one side of the walkways, and those going in the other direction on the other side.  The police are redirecting those of us coming off of the Bund further south and aren’t allowing us onto Nanjing Dong Lu because there are so many people.  Most of the crowds seem to be going toward the Bund.  Those of coming from the Bund have to walk down a street south of that busy street.  I need to make my way back to Nanjing Dong Lu in order to catch the metro.

When I finally get to Nanjing Dong Lu, I see a two-story high Starbucks and decide I’ll stop there to sit for a while to have a drink. I stand in a long line and order a Chicken Caesar Wrap and a berry yogurt drink and take a seat on the second floor overlooking Nanjing Dong Lu.  Looking down on the street, I see the police force or National Guard (I’m not sure of their official capacity), standing at intervals along the sidewalks, making sure that people stay out of the street.  They’re facing the crowds and looking very stoic and official.  Chinese people are taking pictures of the guards like crazy, but I don’t dare, in case, as a foreigner, I might get my camera confiscated.  I don’t know if that would happen, but I would imagine I’m not supposed to take pictures of official-looking places or people.

Busy Nanjing Dong Lu

Busy Nanjing Dong Lu

I can’t help but be a little mesmerized by the tall video screen on the high-end shopping mall across the street, with its models sashaying rhythmically down a runway.

Nanjing Dong Lu and fashionistas

Nanjing Dong Lu and fashionistas

After I finish eating and drinking, I look for a restroom in Starbucks, and I’m surprised to find they don’t have one!  I’ve never encountered a Starbucks without a bathroom before.  They direct me across the street to a shopping mall.  The mall is quite extravagant.

shopping mall on Nanjing Dong Lu

shopping mall on Nanjing Dong Lu

Finally, I make my way down the street to the metro.  However, as I get closer, the crowds are so thick we can’t even move.  The guards are making sure people stay on the sidewalk and we are packed in tightly, unable to move at all.  I start to feel very claustrophobic and I think, oh my gosh, these are the conditions that can result in stampedes.  As I go into the metro, it’s even worse, as people are packed in and surrounded by walls and gates and there really is nowhere to go.  All we need is a loud noise and there could be mass panic.  During this time, I feel horribly trapped myself and cannot wait to be released from this crowd.

(I find out from my colleagues after I return home from Shanghai that there was a “Bund Stampede on New Year’s Eve which left 36 people dead and 49 others injured,” according to China.org.cn: Shanghai’s cancellations of events raise controversy.  Thank goodness I didn’t know about this when I was stuck in these crowds; if so, I would have been in more of a panic than I already was).

packing into the metro

packing into the metro

Finally, we make it through the gates and I get on the metro to go one stop across the river to the Lujiazui stop in Pudong.  The metro is packed as well, but at least the crowds are limited in each metro car.  Finally, I am released into the sunshine in Pudong.  Before me I can see Jinmao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center soaring above me.

on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River

on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River

looking up in Pudong

looking up in Pudong

up, up and away

up, up and away at Jinmao Tower

Lonely Planet China advises that people should enter through the front door in the east to get to the Hyatt hotel lobby on the 54th floor.  I find there that no drinks are served, and I want a glass of wine for my viewing pleasure.  I head up another set of elevators to the hotel bar, Cloud 9, on the 87th floor.

Entering Jinmao Tower to head to the Hyatt's 54th floor

Entering Jinmao Tower to head to the Hyatt’s 54th floor

Jinmao Tower

Jinmao Tower

To get into Cloud 9, I have to pay 100 yuan (about $16), which gives me the pleasure of sitting in the bar with one glass of wine. Sadly, all the window seats are taken, so I’m on a platform overlooking those lucky people with window seats.

Cloud 9 on the 87th floor of Jinmao Tower

Cloud 9 on the 87th floor of Jinmao Tower

I order an appetizer of vegetable fried spring rolls with sweet sauce for 69 yuan ($11) and I try to enjoy my views from afar.  It’s pretty hazy now as the sun sets, so my views are a little disappointing.

hazy views from Cloud 9

hazy views from Cloud 9

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower from Cloud 9

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower from Cloud 9

view of Pudong, the Huangpu River and the Bund from Cloud 9

view of Pudong, the Huangpu River and the Bund from Cloud 9

Cloud 9 views

Cloud 9 views

I leave and pass through another bar that’s pretty deserted on the same floor as Cloud 9.

Another bar at the Hyatt

Another bar at the Hyatt

Heineken

Heineken

Then I head back down to the 54th floor to check out the free views from the Hyatt lobby.

Views of Pudong from the 54th floor

Views of Pudong from the 54th floor

the 54th floor lobby of the Hyatt

the 54th floor lobby of the Hyatt

Finally, I’m back on the streets of Pudong and, though I’d like to walk around a while, I’m too exhausted and my stomach is still cramped, as it has been all day.  I do get a few night shots on my way to the metro.

at ground level in Pudong

at ground level in Pudong

Night time in Pudong

Night time in Pudong

Oriental Pearl TV Tower at night

Oriental Pearl TV Tower at night

Oriental Pearl TV Tower at night

Oriental Pearl TV Tower at night

Oriental Pearl TV Tower at night

Oriental Pearl TV Tower at night

Oriental Pearl TV Tower at night

Oriental Pearl TV Tower at night

Walking back to the Lujiiazui metro station

Walking back to the Lujiiazui metro station

last views of Pudong at night

last views of Pudong at night

the colorful Oriental Pearl TV Tower

the colorful Oriental Pearl TV Tower

I finally get on metro and take the #2 line all the way back to Zhongshan Park.  Outside the station, I walk up and down the street near my hotel trying to find a market that sells bottled drinks; I find a Family Mart tucked into a little alley and buy some orange juice and water.

Finally, I collapse in my hotel room after a very long day!  I’ve seen the forecast for tomorrow is rain all day, so at least I feel good that I saw most of the views I wanted to see today.

Categories: Asia, China, Cloud 9, Huangpu River, Hyatt, Jinmao Tower, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Pudong, Shanghai, Shanghai World Financial Center, The Bund, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 25 Comments

shanghai days: the huangpu river tour

Friday, May 1:  After a long walk along the Bund, I find the ticket office for the Huangpu River tour and buy the ticket (120 yuan for a 50-minute ride).  It’s a long walk, and a little confusing, from the ticket office to building #481, the boarding gate for the tour, but I finally find it.  Since I just missed the 1:00 boat, I have quite a long wait until the next boat leaves at 2:00, but I’m happy to rest my aching feet for a while.  I made the mistake of wearing sandals that I usually think are comfortable, but not for the amount of walking I’m doing today.   Finally we board the boat and push off into the Huangpu River.

Huangpu River Boat

Huangpu River Boat

We see a lot of interesting seafaring vessels both at the dock and in the river.

Another strangely shaped boat

Another strangely shaped boat

The sky is clearing up and we have great views of the Pudong skyscrapers, most notably the spiraling Shanghai World Financial Center.

Pudong as seen from the Huangpu River

Pudong as seen from the Huangpu River

And then there are the bookends of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center in Pudong.

the new Pudong

the new Pudong

It’s always interesting me that on boat rides such as these, the Western tourists climb immediately to the top outdoor deck and stand at the railings for the views, while most of the Chinese people sit at the big banquet tables below deck, where they pull out snacks and drinks.  For them, it’s all about food and socializing.

Meanwhile, on the top deck, I’m surrounded by tourists from all over the world. There are only a few Chinese on the upper deck, including a Chinese couple and their son, who I later come to know as Hubert, a very outgoing and talkative 12-year-old Chinese boy who speaks impeccable English.  He pushes his way to the railing between me and a couple from Atlanta, and he talks away about the heights of all the famous skyscrapers and the length of the Huangpu River compared to the Mississippi River, and all other kinds of factual knowledge that I’m not prone to store in my head.  He’s a non-stop talker, and it’s obvious the Atlanta couple is quite annoyed by him, but I’m impressed not only by his English-speaking ability but also by his confidence, spunk and all the knowledge in that 12-year-old head of his.

Pudong as a backdrop for boat traffic

Pudong as a backdrop for boat traffic

We have some amazing views along the river, and luckily the haze in the sky has dissipated on this lovely afternoon.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower and  the Pudong skyline

Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Pudong skyline

I also have a chat with a French woman who’s on a whirlwind tour of Beijing, Guilin, Shanghai and Hong Kong.  It’s a beautiful day with a cool breeze and I enjoy commiserating with her and other travelers along the way.

Pudong skyline with Jinmao Tower

Pudong skyline with the Shanghai World Financial Center

tall towers

tall towers

Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong

Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong

Oriental Pearl

Oriental Pearl

Pudong from the river

Pudong from the river

Pudong from the river

Pudong from the river

Shanghai International Convention Center

Shanghai International Convention Center

Facing the river near the Oriental Pearl TV Tower is the white wing-shaped Shanghai International Convention Center.

Shanghai International Convention Center & Oriental Pearl Tower

Shanghai International Convention Center & Oriental Pearl Tower

Oriental Pearl Tower & Shanghai International Convention Center

Oriental Pearl Tower & Shanghai International Convention Center

Oriental Pearl Tower & Shanghai International Convention Center

Oriental Pearl Tower & Shanghai International Convention Center

We go a little further northeast along the river and then turn around and head back.  Sadly, the sun is still not at the best angle to see the Bund clearly.

skyscrapers in Pudong

skyscrapers in Pudong

along the Huangpu River

along the Huangpu River

Looking northeast along the Huangpu River

Looking northeast along the Huangpu River

the western shore

the western shore

buildings along the western shore of the river

buildings along the western shore of the river

buildings along the west shore

buildings along the west shore

Hubert sticks by my side for the whole trip, talking away the entire time.  He asks me for my phone number and adds me on WeChat.  I fear his mother is going to ask me to tutor him online, but luckily she never does.  However, his father does take a photo of the two of us together.

Hubert and me

Hubert and me

more tall buildings

more tall buildings

Suzhou Creek

Suzhou Creek

The Bund

The Bund

The Bund & the Shanghai Customs House

The Bund & the Shanghai Customs House

Colonial buildings along the Bund

Colonial buildings along the Bund

The Bund

The Bund

colorful boat

colorful boat

Coming in to the dock

Coming in to the dock

a roundish boat

a roundish boat

fancy structure

fancy structure near the boat jetty

River boat

River boat

After the boat ride, I walk back along the Bund, where I slowly, and with some trepidation, make my way back to the metro.

Categories: Asia, Bank of China, China, Huangpu River, Huangpu River Tour, Jinmao Tower, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Pudong, Shanghai, Shanghai International Convention Center, The Bund, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

shanghai days: the peace hotel & the bund

Friday, May 1:  After leaving Jing’an Temple, I catch the number 2 metro line to the East Nanjing stop; it  empties out onto Nanjing Dong Lu, possibly the busiest street in all of Shanghai.  I walk with hordes of people down the street toward the Bund.  There are so many people, that the crowds can’t even fit on the sidewalks and are spilling over into the road, making it difficult for cars or buses to get through.

This is China on a typical national holiday.  I know that Shanghai, China’s most populous city of over 24 million people, is normally crowded, but add the holiday, and it’s insane.

This street seems to be one of China’s swankiest, as it is lined with high-end shops showing huge videos of models sashaying down runways, as well as with shops such as Old Navy, Forever 21 and Starbucks.  I love fashion, but not the high-end stuff.  However, I do find the vibe on this street fascinating.

One thing I’ve learned is that Chinese young women are quite fashion-conscious and they love to shop.  One of my students recently told me that she’s placed herself on a very tight budget with her monthly allowance from her parents; she tries to spend very little on food and entertainment so she can “buy many beautiful clothes.”  I’ve discovered that many of the clothes I buy myself at my favorite but overpriced store in the States, Anthropologie, are actually made in China.  I see many of the girls at the university wearing the same style of clothes sold in Anthropologie in America.  I have always been excited by the prospect of buying those clothes here at much reduced prices, but sadly, clothes here are only made in Chinese sizes, much too small for me!

Everyone on the street is heading like a tsunami toward the Huangpu River, and as there is a large construction project blocking the sidewalk on one side, I follow the crowds into the road.  Suddenly, I look up and see, quite to my surprise, the famous Peace Hotel.  I decide to step inside for a look.

The Peace Hotel

The Peace Hotel

The Peace Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in China. The hotel today operates as two separate businesses. The north building, a relic from the opium trading days once known as Sassoon House, originally housed the Cathay Hotel, built in 1929. Today it’s the Fairmont Peace Hotel.  The opium trade gave way in the early years of the 20th century to investments in Shanghai real estate, including the Cathay.

The south building was built in 1908 as the Palace Hotel and is today the Swatch Art Peace Hotel.  In 1911, after the success of the Xinhai Revolution, Sun Yat-sen stayed at the hotel and advocated commitment to the revolutionary cause. During World War II, the building was occupied by the Japanese army (Wikipedia: Peace Hotel).

The two buildings both face the Bund, but are divided by Nanjing Road.  Noel Coward supposedly stayed here while writing Private Lives.

Inside, I enjoy the hotel’s faded Art Deco elegance.

Inside the Peace Hotel

Inside the Peace Hotel

Ceiling in the lobby of the Peace Hotel

Ceiling in the lobby of the Peace Hotel

Lobby of the Peace Hotel

Lobby of the Peace Hotel

Lobby of the Peace Hotel

Lobby of the Peace Hotel

Dining room at the Peace Hotel

Dining room at the Peace Hotel

Art Deco glass ceilings

Art Deco glass ceilings

As I stand just inside the doorway of the Peace Hotel, I brace myself to step out and get swept along by the crowds on Nanjing Dong Lu.

Crowds outside the Peace Hotel on Nanjing Lu on the Labour Day holiday

Crowds outside the Peace Hotel on Nanjing Lu on the Labour Day holiday

I can see the Oriental Pearl TV Tower ahead, across the Huangpu River in Pudong.

First view of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong from Nanjing Lu

First view of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong from Nanjing Lu

As I am carried along with the crowds, I have a fabulous view across the river to Pudong, known prior to 1949 as the “wrong side of the Huangpu” because of its seedy side; it was once an area occupied by unemployed migrants, prostitutes, murderers and bankrupt gamblers who drowned themselves in the river.  In 1990, Pudong became a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in China, and its agricultural tracts have been transformed into an army of skyscrapers (Lonely Planet China).

Looking across the walkway along the Huangpu River to flashy Pudong

Looking across the walkway along the Huangpu River to flashy Pudong

Though I’m on the Bund side of the river, the views of Pudong are fantastic at this time of day.  I can see the 457-meter-high Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a recognizable feature of Shanghai’s iconic skyline, and the elegant Shanghai World Financial Center.

skyscrapers in Pudong, including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the elegant Jinmao Tower

skyscrapers in Pudong, including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the elegant Shanghai World Financial Center

The light isn’t great looking to the west, but I capture a few decent shots of the Bund’s grand colonial facades.  The Bund was old Shanghai’s commercial heart, with its leading banks and trading houses and its busy port, which hosted a bustling trade in everything ranging from silk and tea to heavy industrial equipment.  Today it’s the most exclusive piece of real estate in China.  Below are the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, the Peace Hotel and the Bank of China, from left to right.

The Bank of China was designed in the 1920s by Shanghai architectural firm Palmer & Turner, who were directed to make the building “more Chinese.”  They did so by placing a Chinese roof on the Art Deco edifice (Lonely Planet China).

Bank of China on the Bund

Bank of China on the Bund

Walking along the promenade along the river, I can watch the container ships and commercial vessels plying the waters of the Huangpu River.

Ship traffic on the Huangpu River

Ship traffic on the Huangpu River

Flashy Pudong

Flashy Pudong

It’s very crowded on the walkway, as can be seen below.  People of every nationality are playing tourist today on the Bund, from the Chinese to the French to Americans to Brits to Indians.  Shanghai is only city on mainland China, this city with its cosmopolitan flavor, where I’ve actually felt somewhat at home.

Crowds on the Bund's promenade

Crowds on the Bund’s promenade

a ferry zips past Pudong

a ferry zips past Pudong

Looking south down the Huangpu River

Looking south down the Huangpu River

Looking northeast down the Huangpu River

Looking northeast down the Huangpu River

Ship traffic on the Huangpu River

Ship traffic on the Huangpu River

In another shot of the Bund, below, is the Industrial & Commerce Bank of China (ICBC) and the Agricultural Bank of China.

Colonial buildings on the Bund

Colonial buildings on the Bund

Pudong and a Pacific Rim ship

a Pacific Basin container ship on the Huangpu River in front of Pudong

As I walk along the promenade, a Chinese girl asks if she can take a picture with me.  I tell her yes, if she’ll take one of me with my camera.  I ask her how to get to the Huangpu River tour boats, and she and her friend and brother ask me to follow them.  I’m a little leery about following any people in Shanghai as I’ve heard the warnings about “tea scams,” so I purposely keep stopping along the walkway to take more pictures, finally telling them to go on without me.

Me with Pudong in the background

Me with Pudong in the background

Again, on the Bund, I admire the grand edifice of the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, formerly the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Ltd.

former headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank

former headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank

View of Pudong from the Bund

View of Pudong from the Bund

Finally, I make my way to the Huangpu River Cruise Dock, where I buy a ticket to take the one hour cruise up and down the Huangpu River.

Categories: Asia, Bank of China, China, Huangpu River, Jinmao Tower, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Peace Hotel, Pudong, Shanghai, Swatch Art Peace Hotel, The Bund, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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