Old City / New City

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Photography
Tags: , , , ,

Jin Mao Tower

The shores of the Huangpu: two worlds apart.

On our second day in Shanghai, we took a taxi out to the Old City, passing the Bund Financial Centre along the way which we’d seen by night the previous evening. I really enjoyed the contrast of the Old City, with every place we’d seen so far having looked like Europe. (I originally wrote that they’d felt like Europe, but actually, that was at no point even remotely true.) We did, however, discover that the receptionist in our hotel had lied to us and that there was, in fact, a subway station that went right there. Oh well…she was probably exacting some sweet revenge on behalf of her co-worker.

These old men were just hanging out in an alley playing mahjong.

Pet birds overseeing the proceedings. At least I hope they were pets…

(Prize to any ornithologically-inclined soul who can tell me what kind of bird this actually is?)

One of these things is not like the other.

For all of you True Blood fans: Fangbang Rd.! Oh, how I laughed.


I really was much too amused by this.

And again with the KFC.

The real question here isn’t so much why as who the fuck would buy this? There was also a guy who offered to make a cool shadow cut-out of our faces but exorbitant price tags and questions of custody soon made us reconsider.

Yuyuan Garden! Over 400 years old and one of the finest Chinese gardens in the country.

…we were so over this place the minute we entered and didn’t set foot in another temple/castle/ancient garden for the rest of the trip slash our lives. Sorry, Asia!

Instead, we kept ourselves amused with impromptu photoshoots.

I really want to use an ANTM reference but I think – over the course of the eight thousand pictures I’ve taken of Lindsay – I’ve exhausted every one I could ever write.

Feeding frenzy in the koi pond.

Note my inevitable, super-deep-V-shaped sunburn.

One thing I liked were the undulating “dragon walls” separating the gardens, each terminating in the dragon’s head. They still didn’t keep us from leaving within 30 minutes of entering.

Note that she’s looking directly at the camera and still walking straight towards us. Thanks…*thanks*.

Batten the hatches! (I found this sign inordinately amusing.)

I’d like to buy a verb.

(And yet: still more comprehensible than this.)


Lawson! We were waaaay too happy every time we stumbled across something Japanese, haha.

That night, we crossed the river and climbed the 88-storey Jin Mao Tower in the Pudong district. Actually, all of its proportions revolve around the number 8 which is apparently lucky in Chinese culture.

Pearl Tower…we meet again! We thought we were being terribly clever by going up the building adjacent to it instead of the Pearl Tower itself, but as it turns out, the queues to climb the Jin Mao Tower were equally mental. They even had those claw crane games set up in the line to keep people entertained while they were waiting.

Uniform of 7’6 basketball player Yao Ming; who – as it turns out – is from Shanghai!

How much is that 2G in the window? This still looks completely unreal to me – like a still from Blade Runner.

This is actually the exact skyline from the previous night in reverse. That strip of buildings lining the opposite bank of the river is The Bund.

On the left there is the Shanghai World Financial Center. Incidentally, Jin Mao = the “Golden Prosperity” building.

Lindsay took one for me so that I, too, could be part of the crazy sci-fi cityscape.

Totally looks like the rainbow bridge in Tokyo. I really hope that’s what they named it.

My favourite story(/ies) about this tower: on February 18, 2001 Han Qizhi, a 31-year old shoe salesman from Anhui province “struck by a rash impulse”, climbed the building barehanded. Well-known urban climber Alain “French Spiderman” Robert had earlier been trying to convince Chinese authorities to let him climb the structure. Referring to the tower’s scaffold-like cladding, Robert commented that his six-year-old son could climb the building and that he himself could do it using only one arm. He faced the possibility of 15 days in a Chinese jail for an unauthorized attempt but finally scaled the building anyway in 2007. He was arrested and jailed for 5 days before being expelled from China.

There was also one about a BASE jumper whose parachute malfunctioned but that didn’t have quite such a happy ending…

She looks quite happy here so I can only assume this was taken before I pretended to be a mugger and tried to steal her bag…as actually happened to her in Malaysia the previous year. She may or may not have found it funny, slash didn’t speak to me for the next 20 minutes. (Rub uuuuuu! ♥)

The view from the top of the Jin Mao Tower all the way down to the atrium on the ground floor. If the first thing you thought on seeing this was, “Wow, it looks just like the reactor shaft Darth Vader threw the Emperor into”…well, then you’re probably as big a nerd as I am.

Post-tower, we headed back to Xintiandi in the French Concession near our hotel: possibly the highest concentrations of bars and clubs in the whole of Shanghai. We also found a dedicaton to our dear friend, Joy; who’s never been drunk, but has – on occasion – gotten a teensy bit ‘high’. (Or, as with Halloween 2009, really REALLY high, ooOOOoOOOOOooofffffFFfff.) With a long day ahead of us, however, we were a teensy bit lame and opted for food and coffee.

Well played, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Cat! Alas, like all stray cats in Asia, he was filled with hate and rage.

Aaaaand back at the Ruijin. Its only problem: the estate itself was ridiculously expansive. Even after we got back to the hotel, it was still a ten-minute walk to Building #4 where our beds awaited.

  1. happypoppeye says:

    Some fantastic shots up there.
    Great work,

    • liddellmark says:

      Thank you! I’m still trying to find a WordPress theme that doesn’t cut off the right of the pictures…

      • happypoppeye says:

        Thats a tough one – most either stretch or cut unless you go back and resize. The one I use, Choco, is just about the only one that resizes correctly and automatically …although now I’m stuck with Choco…

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