Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Safe in Shanghai!

For various reasons, 2006 has been the Year of Asia for me. I spent Spring Break touring through Japan, and then, early in the evening of July 11, 2006, I set foot for the first time on Chinese soil.

Whoa.

All those stories you've been reading in the media about China exploding? If the little bit of Shanghai I've gotten to see so far is any indication, they're definitely to be believed. Everything here is big, bright, beautiful and ultramodern -- even the roads. The "upcoming curve" arrows on the freeway are made up of blinking red lights, there are tiny little blue lights in the pavement by exit ramps, and the sides of the freeway itself were dotted with glowing lights. The Shanghai skyline was similarly illuminated, stretching from horizon to horizon and made up of all kinds of breathtaking silhouettes and lightforms. One building has its outline traced with red lights, another is actually two twin buildings set up like mirror images of each other, and our hotel, The Shanghai Westin, is topped by what appears to be a gigantic lit-up lotus flower. The lightshow continues inside the hotel lobby, with a grand staircase with lights inside every step that change colors every minute, gracefully fading from red to blue to green to purple and so on. Add to this the somewhat bizarre experience of listening to a Brazilian lounge singer crooning "Fields of Gold", a song by a British pop rock star, in the lobby of a Chinese hotel and the result is completely otherworldly. (A sensation that I'm sure isn't helped one bit by the jet lag.)

I'm posting this from the business center of the hotel and I have yet to visit my room, much less grab a shower to wash off the road dust, so I'll bid you adieu here. I'm sure we'll have much, much more to report tomorrow - with pictures! - once we're all properly, ah, "reoriented".

Onward!

4 Comments:

Blogger chinadoctor said...

Hi. Do you know about “ English teacher in Shanghai”
There is have a blog called Sex in Shanghai in which a Western guy tells about all his exploits with Chinese women here in Shanghai. (That blog is still #1 on the “hottest blogs” list on the CBL, but it now seems to be inaccessible.) Since then, the Chinese have found out about the blog, and they are (understandably) pissed.

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September 02, 2006 6:05 PM  
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