Shanghai: Fuxing park and Xintiandi

by

Thursday, 21 September 2011

After a busy week of meetings, the groups I’m interested in finished by lunchtime. I spent the afternoon wandering, the first time I have really been out this week.

Thought I’d try for a bit of greenery; the nearest park is arguably Fuxing, where perhaps I will be able to find a small animal or two.

Not a whole lot to be seen. In Tokyo, I would have found a mantis or a brochymena, but not here. Still, it’s a very pleasant venue, a nice contrast after the noise and bustle of the streets getting over here.

Not that the steets are ugly or uninteresting, by any means.

My first view of Xintiandi was a pair of workmen carefully adjusting a sign.

Xintiandi is an old compound, what would probably be called a hutong in Beijing, that has been gutted and renovated and upscaled. This is much to the distress of the traditionalists, who would prefer genuine poverty and squalor to artificial renovation.

As long as it’s a voluntary upgrade – which may not be the case – I’m happy with docents in period costume doing impressions of poverty for eight hours a day. Why inflict genuine poverty on people?

As I strolled around, what should to my wondering eye appear but a Paulaner Braeuhaus! Sat down just across from the fountain to enjoy a Weissbier.

Actually two Weissbiers. Turned out that at happy hour, you buy one, you get two. Had I realized that, I would have ordered the 300 ml size rather than 500. After a litre of beer, I was feeling pretty cheerful.

China: the land of beautiful women.

I look down on people who go outdoors with their ears stuffed with headsets, but after a litre of beer, I was in the mood for Beethoven’s string quartet op 127. I have only a monaural bluetooth headset, but it was enough. Really a nice walk back.

Went through the park again on the return trip. There is a statue of Marx and Engels, which the guidebook says are mostly ignored.

As soon as I took this picture, the artist came over to shake hands, tried to sit me down so he could begin sketching me. I smiled and laughed and thanked him and went my way.

Sometimes we see these wonderful casual throw-away pictures that just happen. Here are a couple candidates from my walk.

Met a dozen colleagues in the evening for dinner at a fancy Chinese restaurant just across the bridge at the north end of the Bund. Good food, good company. Tom S and I walked back along the Bund later on, taking pictures until it became tedious, then caught a taxi back to the hotel.

People told me that Shanghai was a great city, and they were right. It’s been fun.

Tomorrow, off to Beijing.

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