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Monday, February 20, 2006

Oriental Pearl

After covering on the outskirts of the cities, let's move our focus back to civilization :)
After all, Shanghai is a city and a highly advanced once as well.
Speaking of Shanghai, what comes to mind...hmmm...for those who are into the black box days of Chinese dramas, one would automatically link this city with the triad days and nightclubs and the high class society. One of the fondly remembered drama would be The Bund(Shanghai Tan) starring Chow Yun Fatt :)
Well, since it is so popular, it may not then come as a surprise to you that there is actually such a place in Shanghai which is known as The Bund;) In fact, it is one of the famous tourist attractions in this city and it is also located in the heart of the city. The Bund is a stretch of walkway which overlooks a river, I would say a big river. This river actually connects the sides of the city; Pudong and Puxi and there is also a subway or underground passage beneath the river which links these 2 cities together. Another of the main attraction is also the famous Oriental Tower or "Tung Fang Ming Chu"(in Chinese which directly translates to the Oriental Pearl Tower). Hehe...we already have the Pearl of the Orient here in Malaysia, which is actually the Penang Island and thus, in order not to create further confusion, I decide to call this tower the Oriental Pearl...just a different arrangement of words but semantically it is slightly different. Anyway, as we are not conducting an English proficiency class here, let's get back to our tour :)
The first picture was taken at the Bund; and we are on the Puxi side of the bridge whereby Oriental Pearl Tower is in Pudong which is set in the background. It is the highest structure slightly deviated to the left in the picture with a round and ball-like structure in the middle and a sharp pointed arch to the sky. As you can see, it was actually raining the time we were there and the skies are cloudy....too bad on a day you decide to do some sightseeing and touring:P Furthermore, our Shanghai friends actually told us that it seemed kind of a trend that it rains very heavily on weekends and also as predicted in the weather forecast...of all the hopes and luck...all washed away:(
The next picture was a night view of the tower which was actually captured on the first night I was in Shanghai; basically I have been to that same place twice:p
The tower, as I was told was actually a telecommunication tower; probably something like our Menara Telekom or Telekom Tower in Malaysia. Since it's a tourist spot, there are some fees incurred in visiting the tower. Anyhow, this is definitely not the only skyscraper in Shanghai, I am sure you can tell based on the continuous growth and development in one of the busiest cities. In fact, there is actually an ongoing construction of the highest building in the world somewhere nearby the Tower when I was in Shanghai and I was told that it is expected to complete by this year; 2006. Furthermore, the area was also surrounded by banks and financial institutions which is definitely not a surprise as Shanghai is also known as a growing financial city.
Moving away from the hustle bustle of the city, we also paid a visit to another tourist attraction which was The Yu garden (Yu Yuan in Chinese) which was historically an official's garden now converted into a shopping bazaar of some sort, commercially selling all the souvenir-like collectibles. In fact, my mentor had fun shopping around....hehe...with souvenirs for her friends, family and relatives. We did have some nasty encounters though with some of the folks selling those wooden chess sets in the plaza:( However, it may not be politically and technically polite to comment on the people and culture in the country as we do need to respect the diversity we may come across the globe.

This is the Yu Garden and as you can see, it's actually raining and you can imagine the chill....hmmm, let me rephrase that, the COLD when it rains during winter season, be it day or night:p
Anyway, I am sure you can see that the architecture of the buildings are pretty unique which is basically shaped in the olden style of the Chinese buildings and temples; typically resembling more of the pagoda-style.
After a freezing experience and the dark settling in pretty soon (it gets dark by 5pm here in Shanghai but the skies are also pretty bright by 6am....guess it's due to its geographical location towards the east...nearer to Mrs. Sun:), we then proceeded to hail a cab to head to Pudong for dinner; one of our friends was thoughtful enough to make reservations for dinner at a nice restaurant in one of the huge shopping malls overlooking The Bund; it's well-known due to its location and everyone is vying for the window seats which entails them the opportunity to enjoy a good panoramic view of the Bund at night...with all the lights, etc. Unfortunately, our friend was unable to get those seats although she booked a week ahead...anyhow, we didn't mind as we got ourselves a private room and toasted to a good dinner after a long day in the rain.
Oh ya, I even forgot to mention about the policy here in hailing a cab...it seems you have to be pretty aggressive in waving down a taxi or you will be stranded in town until the wee hours of the morning:p At the same time, you may also be accused of jumping the line for the cabs; in fact our friend was actually called a "b****" just because she got a taxi before a family. I think they were pretty unfair in saying that as there was no line whatsoever at that point of the time. It was indeed an eye-opener here in the big city where the cabs and public transport seem to be very much in demand...and the cars here drive at Initial D speed:p
Back home in Kuala Lumpur, public transports are also in demand but still pale in comparison to the picture here in Shanghai.
So, that's the short summary of a day in the tour around Shanghai....we caught a cab...again fighting our way to it after dinner and finally reach our hotel for a peaceful rest :)
Thanks to Kelsey, Mark and Rachel for that wonderful tour and also your hospitality for the whole day!!!:)