A different city altogether
We’d made no plans for this morning, so after a second breakfast which we’ll regard as “elevenses”, we took the shuttle bus along the road to the memorial at the end of the Bund. This is the old British concession and the bank of the river is lined with huge stone buildings of the 1930s. We had walked along here when we were in Shanghai 14 years ago but on that occasion didn’t feel too comfortable doing so.
It was a noisy place this morning! The drinks vendors were set up in these little vans and had their music playing. Similar set ups were along the promenade offering photo services, again with their music. One elderly chap walked by us with a loudspeaker in a carrier bag, playing traditional Chinese music. And of course, there are the voices of the people here, who tend to shout more often than they whisper!
This lady had her music playing too and Granny and daughter looked on as she practised her diabolo. She was very good!
Across the road, a photo shoot was taking place and I zoomed in on the scene to take a photo.
But as I did, the little family on the path beside us thought I was taking a photo of them and posed for me! We said “Ni Hao” and smiled…they coaxed their little chap to say “hello” to us and offer his hand to say “how do you do”. Very sweet, so friendly and as we waved “bye bye” the little one smiled and said “bye bye” too.
The Shanghai Police force were making occasional patrols along the Bund in their interesting vehicle.
And this elderly woman was doing her training, stretching each step of the way the whole length of the promenade, then jogging and hopping all the way back, clapping her hands with vigour as she did.
We returned along the roadside rather than the Prom, and the scent from the wallflowers there in the border was fresh and lovely. This wasn’t at all like the Shanghai we remembered!
We noticed a colourful wall a little further along, but it seemed different somehow.
A closer look revealed it to be covered with planting – a vertical garden. So pretty and very attractive.
Almost back to where we’d started and here was another Chinese family out enjoying the Spring air, taking photos by the bronze bull, a replica from Wall Street I think.
I was struck by the colours and tried to capture them in this photo, but was rather unsuccessful. The beiges and greys were enhanced by the sharp red flags which flew from every building along here. Though I could see them with my eyes, the camera doesn’t really match my visual memory. Never mind. I have a clear mental image!
Interestingly, no one was taking their photos by this chap (no, not Chairman Mao but the first Communist Mayor of Shanghai)
I seemed to be the only one interested in the blossom, too. But sitting waiting for the return shuttle, I marvelled at the difference between the Shanghai we remember and the Shanghai we had just experienced. Yes, of course, we have changed. But oh my, the city is barely recognisable.