Shanghai is one of the most western cities in China. It grew mainly thanks to international investors between 1850 and 1950 where British, French and Japanese got concessions to develop their business (not always the cleanest one, opium and prostitution ensure faster cash than other industry). Anyway these investors compete also in the architecture of their representative buildings: the Bund is an impressive mix of classic and baroque style.
In the last decades, Shanghai turned to the 21st century. Boosted by the World Exhibition in 2010, many towers were (and are) built in the east side of the Pu river, called Pudong (East from Pu). Their flashy lights are particularly impressive after the sunset. Shanghai dreams to become the major financial place in Asia (taking over Hong Kong, not done yet!) Again something who reminds me Frankfurt where I used to live, Frankfurt being one of the major financial places in Europe. You got however more, bigger and nicer towers in this new part of the city than the whole city center of Frankfurt. And the west side of the Pu is anyway 25 times more, if you consider the population ratio (18 million in Shanghai vs 0.7 in Frankurt).
Shanghai is also the old city, where many confessions used to live close by: within 2 sq km, you got Buddhist, Taoist and Confucius temples as well Mosque and Cathedral. The Yu Garten is beautiful but also very crowded: many Chinese tourists over there. So is also the People’s park. The old city got partially destroyed and rebuild. Original old streets were more interesting (and less crowded) to my taste.
I spent also 3 hours in the Shanghai museum, which has impressive collections. I particularly liked the bronze sculptures. Just entered there, I was looking for the ticket office but found none: the museum is free, a nice move to promote the rich Chinese history. So I took an audio guide, something that I rarely do. It was interesting to have more details of some items.
I had great times with Olivier who brought me in nice international and local places: the diner in Kathleen’s 5 over the People’s park was particularly delicate. The Paulaner Biergarten has everything from the German counterpart, Bier, Schweinhaxe und Dirndln, this caricature made me laugh! The French Brioche Dorée with ridiculous old French music from the 70ies was also not bad in this game! I could however enjoy Pigeon in a true Chinese restaurant or octopus in a huge Chinese self service chain.
The 2 days in Shanghai were sunny and hot (>35°C), a kind of weather I had earlier until Iran (but Shanghai is wetter), but not really in Mongolia.