Whatever I had in mind of what Shanghai would be like I was wrong. I expected Shanghai to be modern big city, but not once did I imagine how far it would surpass all other international cities of the world. It is a bustling clean and vibrant city. If you took NYC, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco and smashed them together, you would still be a few million short in comparison to Shanghai.
There are two things that should be said to get a sense of Shanghai. First, this is the largest city in the world, everyone is Chinese, and I have yet to see the same face twice. The faces are wildy distinct, not only in features, but ethnically as well. The second is that the women have great legs. This may be a more noticeable feature since fluted mini skirts and heels seem to be the standard of how to dress, rain or shine. That being said, and taking a pause to fully picture this in your head, then add in the giant and never ending cityscape of a bustling district of one of the NYC burroughs, and everyone is Chinese.
The architecture is stunning. They are big fans of making a big show of big public works. The scale of the buildings is unreal and seeing the skyline as you come over the bridge dwarfs the views of NYC from the Washington bridge or Brooklyn Bridge. It is all bigger here.
Everywhere the cranes are in constant motion, tearing down the old and building building building the new high rises so much that it resembles an Orwellian landscape with giant aliens driving towering machines destroying the city, except here they are building it up. You can drive a 400 kilometer stretch outside of the city, and the entire way is a construction site building new cities and infrastructure for the 40 million people thy plan to “urbanize” in the next ten years. A result from not having a debt in the trillions and spending their money internally on infrastructure rather than on placing their imperial empire abroad.
My hangover is wearing off from the late night beers in the fashion district, and later beers at the ex-pat row of bars. Both areas that you could not distinguish from any other “modern” city. It reminds me of Honolulu with its easy climate and mild humidity, of New York with its high rise coft communities and trees and restaurants and action on the streets and sidewalks below, of Chicago with its endless expanse and sprawl, of LA with its smog, of San Fransisco with its international community, but it: Shanghai, is not just one of these things….Shanghai has it all.