Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shanghai: Pudong Downtown

(This post is part of a series on my trip with the 9th grade to Shanghai in May 2009.)

In May, I helped chaperone the 9th grade school trip to Shanghai. We had a much lower turnout, proportionately, than last year's Japan trip, in part owing to the students' general lack of interest in visiting China. Without saying so directly, the students who elected not to go made their reasons pretty clear: China, they seemed to think, is the land of swine flu and melamine, a sprawling slum that dwarfs Mumbai, an impoverished Communist police state like North Korea, only larger and dirtier.

Even the students who came on the trip, it seemed, expected to get food poisoning from every morsel of food that passed their lips, and as such came equipped with entire suitcases full of ramen and Spam (both available, mind you, in any Chinese grocery--and both exported to Korea from China, of course).

So it was a stroke of good luck that our first sightseeing stop in Shanghai was the Pudong ("east of the river") section of downtown, seen above at night.

Pudong is home to two of the four tallest buildings in Asia (the others being Taipei 101 in Taiwan an the Petronas Towers in Malaysia), and by 2012 it will be home to three of the five.

The tallest building in Shanghai is the Shanghai World Financial Center, which features the highest public observation deck in the world.

Here's a view from the Financial Center observation deck, showing the second tallest building in Shanghai, the Jin Mao building (foreground), with the iconic Shanghai TV Tower in the background.
Oh, and those little white boxes in the Financial Center photo above? Window washers.
How would you like that job?

Here's a clearer shot of the TV Tower from street level at the Financial Center.
And here's a shot of the Jin Mao building and the Financial Center from the Puxi district, on the other side of the river.Needless to say, the students were quickly disabused of their misconceptions about Shanghai. Of course, the fact that we stopped for ice cream at a Cold Stone Creamery after lunch--and no one died of melamine poisoning--certainly helped.

More on the trip coming soon.

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