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The largest city in China

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The first two things we noticed when getting off the train in Shanghai, was that it was already totally dark at 6:30pm and that it was very humid, compared to the dry weather we had in Beijing. Our hotel was perfectly located right next to the People’s Square and we were upgraded to a room on the 58th floor, overlooking the city.


Whereas in Beijing the biggest attractions are the historical and cultural sights, Shanghai is all about skyscrapers and the skyline. It is the largest city in China and its financial center, despite its relatively young age of only 180 years. In fact, where today the most famous skyline of the city is located, 20 years ago there was absolutely nothing. Probably nowhere else you can feel the economic growth and prosperity in China more than here.


One might expect to see a lot of Western faces in this city and while there might really be a lot of them in absolute numbers, they are so massively outnumbered by the Chinese locals and the Chinese tourists, that one might easily believe to be the only non-Chinese around. On the morning after our arrival to Shanghai, we joined a walking tour around the center of the city. Our host explained to our group of 30 Westerners that we shall not be offended if we spark curiosity among the Chinese. 90% of Chinese never left their country, therefore seeing a Westerner is a major attraction for them. So it happened that many Chinese took photos of our group or made selfies with us in the background.


The most interesting part of our walking tour was the marriage market, where local parents try to find a partner for their son or daughter. They post the most important information, like height, age or how much they want their partner to earn on a piece of paper that they put on top of an umbrella. As our host explained, there is an immense pressure on young Chinese to marry, as it is considered an integral part of being successful in life. There is apparently a Chinese word for unmarried people of 30 years or older, that roughly translates to “left-over”.


On our second day in Shanghai we went to visit the Shanghai tower, at 632 meters the second-highest building in the world. In the tower we went to the world’s highest observation deck, brought by the world’s fastest elevator, travelling up to 18 meters per second. The scale of this city is impressive and it is fascinating to look at it both by day and by night.


Posted by samandmarta 20:00 Archived in China

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