The Bund in Shanghai

Shanghai is big and kind of crazy. A lot of people speaking very loud everywhere, and since I can not understand what they are saying they all sound so angry to me, but I bet they are just excited and happy for the most part. Yesterday we spent the day walking around the Bund in Shanghai. Semi-fancy shopping malls, with a lot of the same brands that I have seen in Norway, actually. There are far more brands here that I recognize from Norway than there is in Japan. Only, Jack and Jones, Vero Moda, sandwich_, Mango…

Our hotel room comes with an espresso machine, and the espresso was actually half-decent.

Nothing I have seen looks like a communist country (apart from the Internet censorship), but a lot of the buildings are kind of old style and almost look European to me. I guess that it is quite different than Tokyo, where they tear everything down and build it up again every 40 years or so to earthquake-proof everything. Here there is still lots of old and pretty buildings.

We ate dim sum for lunch, and the rice-dish above was really tasty. It was like mochi without the mochi.

Our hotel corridor and a random building which I thought looked fancy. Everything there looks like it could be taken out of Metropolis or Blade runner.

For dinner we had szechuan food. I knew it would be spicy, but wow. We only ordered things with no peppers or one pepper indicated on the menu, but…

…this is what 1 single pepper indicated on the menu. A LOT of chili. And it was really good, but my mouth was on fire. Nobody spoke English in the restaurant, so it was pretty much just point and choose. When we ordered wine, there was absolutely no pictures and no English, and knowing a little bit of Japanese kanji doesn’t help at all in this kind of situation. All the wines were Chinese, and we ended up with a pretty bad red Chinese wine, but I suppose it could have been a lot worse.

We managed to order some vegetables without any chilli though!

And this is what the food looked like after we had digged through the chili for the meat and greens. I think it is the spiciest thing I have ever ordered.

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  1. Guðrið says:

    Nice pictures 🙂 I recognize some of the places 🙂
    Shanghai is very nice and I agree it doesn’t look like it’s part of a communist country.

    • Sushi Bird says:

      I always find it funny when people post pictures from places in the world I have visited 🙂 China seems modern and good to me.

  2. Maria says:

    Love the swan picture 😀

  3. Frida says:

    It’s no wonder the architecture looks European, as I’m pretty sure both the French and the English have had their share of time and influence in Shanghai. Have a feeling many places along the coast pick up/recieve a lot of influence etc.
    And Shanghai looks a bit better than I had imagined, going there a few days this summer, and now I got a bit excited. But oooh – I have to train my mouth for spicy food.

    • Sushi Bird says:

      I figured the same thing about the French and the English. I guess I am just not used to seeing old big buildings anywhere lately, so it was really nice to see some completely different kind of architecture. I loved how Shanghai combined the old and the new, it was a really nice city. I am sure you can avoid the spicy food if you want to, but I am a total foodie so of course I had to try it all. My tongue was numb for the longest time after that meal.

  4. Amelie says:

    Shanghai looks great! Can I ask you about Narita? How many hours before takeoff did you arrive at the airport? And how long did the check in and everything take? I’m going to Sweden tomorrow and I check out from the apartment at 11.00 and then go with Narita express, and the plane leaves at 21.10, do you think I’ll be ok with time?

    • Sushi Bird says:

      Hi! When we went to Narita we left the house at 9:15 and our airplane did not go until 19:30. There is no problems at Narita, just really long lines. We just left early because we were a bit worried if there would be aftershocks on the roads on the way to the airport, and that traffic would be slow. Once you are at Narita, you can not check in more than 3 hours before your flight. You can maybe line up to be checked in a bit before though. I think you will be fine with time once you are at the airport 🙂 Since I haven’t been in Tokyo for a couple of days I don’t know if there is still tons of aftershocks going on or not. Say hello to SH for me, I’ll miss you!

  5. Wilhelm says:

    The UFO building! My favourite! I want a house like that when I grow up.

    Have you been to the top of the tower yet? The view is spectacular.

    Oh, and the maglev train. The maglev train is fantastic.

    Many of the buildings in Shanghai look European because they were built by (well, for, actually) the various European imperialists. Shanghai was their bridgehead into China proper, while Hong Kong and Macau were annexed directly. (Funny story: Hong Kong was annexed at the end of the First Opium War, where Britain forced China to allow it to keep selling drugs to the Chinese population.) Watch Kung Fu Hustle for a beautiful deception of a caricatured Shanghai in the 1940s. According to the most recent Nobel Peace Price laureate, this violent subjugation of China was the best thing that could possibly have happened.

    To bring China to greatness, he says, “[It would take] 300 years of colonialism. In 100 years of colonialism, Hong Kong has changed to what we see today. With China being so big, of course it would require 300 years as a colony for it to be able to transform into how Hong Kong is today. I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough.”

    As for the current political system in China, I’m quite impressed by the Machiavellian brilliance of the current leadership. Students at the most prestigious schools, entrepreneurs and emerging capitalists are being guided into the Communist Party. This way they ensure that the political and economic elites are one and the same, making an attempted counter-revolution much less likely.

    And, from what I can gather, most Chinese are actually happy with the current system, and get really defensive when judgemental westerners criticize it. They’re exceptionally proud of what China has achieved since 1949, and rightly so. Despite the setbacks of the Great Leap Forward, life expectancy in China _doubled_ under Mao Zedong’s rule, and China’s GDP has increased by 5500% after Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, bringing the Chinese poverty rate from 53% to 2.5% in a single generation. And they’ve achieved all of this on their own – not at a white man’s gunpoint.

    Apart from the totalitarianism, the name and the colour of the Chinese flag, there really isn’t really much left of the old system. They could certainly use some political reforms, but I’m sure they’ll figure that out on their own eventually.

    • Sushi Bird says:

      You are a walking encyclopedia Wilhelm. I have to agree though, I it is impressive how China has built itself up without the help of the western world. And the poverty rate dropping so much in one generation is just jaw-dropping.

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