|Sparrows on sticks and fertilized eggs.|
The majority of the 23 million people that live in Shanghai do so in cramped conditions. By population, it is the largest city in the world. And by the sheer number of tower blocks required to accommodate its people, much of the city appears as strangely ordered urban clutter. Monstrous tower blocks tesselate from the street in characterless uniformity. The architecture is, to use a technical term, mind-numbing. For residents, tourists, and anyone with a sense of space, Shanghai's many parks are a reprieve from the city's steadfast urbanism which, at this time of the year, can seem suffocated when combined with the stuffy climate.
|Typical fruit and |
The award for 'Worst Tourist Attraction I Have Ever Handed Over Money For' goes to Shanghai's 'tourist tunnel' which is, essentially, a jazzed up tube ride carrying passengers from the Bund to Pudong and back. LED fairy lights are draped across the tunnel and each carriage is blasted which odd 'space-like' noises. The ride lasts a crummy three minutes and at the end of it passengers are quickly ushered out so that the gabble of complaints doesn't reverberate back down the tunnel.
Other highlights of my time in Shanghai included viewing the city from the top of the Shanghai World Financial Center building (the world's highest observatory), wandering the streets and markets of the old town, and leading on scammers in East Nanjing Road. Sadly, it seems if a local approaches a tourist in Shanghai and makes small talk, he, she, or they, are almost certainly out to scam. In fact, they're some of the most sophisticated scammers around. They'll convincingly strike up a pleasant conversation - perhaps pretend to be a tourist and ask you to take a photo - before a lot of small talk which will eventually lead to an invitation to see a 'tea ceremony' where you'll drink a cup of tea and then be charged a proposterous amount for it. A good thing to do is to play along and, when they invite you along at the end, politely decline but ask them if they would like to join you for an ice cream in McDonalds.
|East Nanjing Road, Shanghai.|