Thursday, September 04, 2014

Welcome to Shanghai

Made a first foray into the center of Shanghai today. A basic problem for photographing made itelf quickly apparent - should one set one's camera for sunny or cloudy in this dull yellow-grey glare? As you can see above my camera was confounded when I tried to take a panorama of the famous view of Pudong - and that was at noon! (Make sure to click it to get a larger view anyway.) The white's not always the same. Some- times it's bright, other times it seems like dusk, when you come out of a building it can seem like it's about to rain, sometimes it just has the timeless feel of a science fiction film - though the architecture may have something to do with with that, too! And sometimes, like in the delightful Renmin Park, you hardly notice. I actually got lost as soon as I got out of the metro (you can't orient yourself by skyscrapers since they're in all directions), which was fun. There's lots of old architecture left, heritage stuff from the concession days but also later more utilitarian buildings, all still in use. Many of these may be razed by the time the splendid spread of Shanghai 2020 at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center becomes reality but it's hard to quarrel seriously with a city planningwhich between 1979 and 2010, during which time Shanghai's population went from 5.9 to 23 million (!), still managed to expand the amount of living space per capita from 4.3 to 16.7 square meters. Still, the green utopia promised in the Expo 2010- themed exhibits is still a ways off... Shanghai's air quality today was worse than every other major Chinese city's. (I didn't notice it, beyond the strange light it cast.) More exploring to come! Tomorrow: Fudan!

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