Modern glitz overshadows the pagoda-style architecture in this most
Americanized China city, but Shanghai has not forsaken its roots.
To magnify the
contrasts, stand in front of the Bund, a group of 1930s-era
buildings once known as the Wall Street of China, and look directly
across the Huangpu River to the Jin Mao Tower, Shanghais tallest
skyscraper at 1,380 feet, and a cluster of ultramodern structures
in the Pudong section.
In Pudong, the
1,535-foot Oriental Pearl Tower exemplifies Shanghais futuristic
look. The needle-like TV tower rests on a base resembling childrens
jacks and sports two bulging globes at either end. The lower globe
houses a restaurant and the upper a hotel, with a deck popular for
its spectacular views.
Across the river,
the Temple of the Jade Buddha often looks as though all of
Shanghais 13 million residents have crowded in to worship. The
devout jostle tourists for positions at altars to light their
incense and kneel in prayer. Among the array of statuary are the
revered green jade idol and two huge Buddhas carved in white
The Bund Tourist
Tunnel goes under the river to connect these dramatically different
All tours stop at
the Childrens Palace. At this after-school day-care center in the
palatial former home of a Chinese millionaire, youngsters are
taught new technology and old cultures. During my visit, 8- to
10-year-olds demonstrated the art of calligraphy and performed on
traditional musical instruments, and the kindergarten set offered a
rendition of Inky Dinky Spider.
Nanjing Road is
so famous for shopping, its a tourist attraction. Department
stores, souvenir shops, boutiques, food stalls and kiosks sell
everything from top-name brands to cheap trinkets.
The Road is not
the place for bargaining, but slip down tiny side streets where
residents shop and the scene changes.
wide-open fronts invite a streetside audience of Shanghai
fashionistas who eagerly discuss the merits of the outfit youre
trying on and give their advice -- in Chinese, of course, but the
meaning is clear.
A day spent at
the Shanghai Museum impresses visitors with the history and
endurance of the Chinese people as well as their many practical and
This museum is
alive with architectural style. Escalators rise four floors through
a dramatic central atrium, right up to the domed ceiling. The top
floor is devoted to the lifestyles and dress of Chinas 56 minority
nationalities, detailed in fascinating displays and explained on an
audio device rented to visitors.
exhibit furniture, sculpture and ceramics from several dynasties,
exquisite brushstroke paintings and ancient currencies. Its a
virtual tour of China through the ages.
noontime, locals gather to practice Chinas universal craze,
brand-name hotels welcome guests in Shanghai. The lobby at the
468-room Sheraton Grand sets an Asian mood with teak tables,
hand-painted vases and silk wall hangings.
In Pudong, the
Grand Hyatt Shanghai goes futuristic at its Cloud 9 bar on the 87th
floor of the Jin Mao Tower. The hotel occupies the 53rd to 87th
floors of the building.
offer options to book the Hyatts, Westins, Hiltons and Marriotts,
but Asia-brand hotels are their core offerings.
Contact the China
National Tourist Offices, (212) 760-9700.
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].