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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Early morning Bunding

Because of a visiting delegation in town from Washington, D.C., my services were not required in the office this morning; instead, I was summoned to spend that time at an undisclosed location down near the Bund 外滩, that most iconic of Shànghăi 上海 landmarks. I've been to the Bund a number of times, but never early in the morning, so I arrived about an hour beforehand to have a look around. Without the usual crowds of sightseers, and with the sky clear, it made for a pleasant walk before my shift began. What follows are some pictures I took between 7:45 and 8:30 this morning as I strolled the riverside promenade:

From left to right: the Wàibáidù Bridge  外白渡桥, Broadway Mansions 上海大厦, the Russian Consulate 俄罗斯领事馆 and the Astor House Hotel 浦江饭店 (partially visible behind the consulate).

The Monument to the People's Heroes is a socialist anachronism in Huángpŭ Park 黄浦公园, totally out of character with the rest of the Bund. The park, incidentally, was China's first, laid out in 1886.

Walking south along the promenade
Pŭdōng 浦东 (of course)
The Former Palace Hotel (1909) on the left (now known as the Swatch Art Peace Hotel), with its larger neighbor the Fairmont Peace Hotel (1929). The crowd-control barrier in the foreground is the city government's response to the stampede that occurred at that spot on New Year's Eve, killing 36 people and injuring 49.

The same hotels from another angle. In its heyday, the Fairmont (then known as the Cathay) was one of the finest hotels in Asia, along with the Peninsula in Hong Kong and Singapore's Raffles.

Custom House (1927). The bell tower was called "Big Ching" and was the largest of its kind in Asia. It still chimes every quarter of an hour, just like a certain clock in London.

The Hongkong & Shanghai Bank Building (1923)

Continuing south along the Bund...

Because you can never have enough photos of the Pudong skyline...

As my shift was getting ready to start, it was time to turn around and start heading north

The Bund at street level

Inside a certain iconic Shanghai hotel, a certain English playwright wrote a certain play while he holed up in his room with a bad case of the flu.

The view from where I was working this morning

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower 东方明珠广播电视塔. One of my Chinese colleagues, a Shanghai native, described it as being "hideous". Good call. 

The Huángpŭ River 黄浦江 sees a lot of ship traffic

I returned to my office in the afternoon, walking as usual through the Bubbling Well Road Apartments 静安别墅, a traditional Shanghai housing complex concentrated around a long lane and known as a lĭlòng 里弄. These three-story red-brick houses were put up between 1928 and 1932:

And, as usual, I passed through a section of the French Concession 法租界 on my to the subway station after work was over for the day. Only this time I had a camera with me:

The rather obvious standout in this tableaux is the Shanghai Exhibition Center 上海展览中心, the former Palace of Sino-Soviet Friendship and one of the few remaining examples of Stalinist architecture to be found in Shanghai.

I go by the Moller House 马勒别墅 almost every weekday evening and never tire of seeing it. The story goes it was designed by the 12 year-old daughter of its Swedish owner.


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