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2006 06 14
Shanghai Missive, Part 2
Photo: AGOTW

by Emmanuel Madan

Across the river in the old part of Shanghai, I spent a bit of time walking around through some much more classic architecture. Most of Shanghai is not very old, although it has some gardens which were first built in the 1500s and then restored after being bombarded during the opium wars. Nevertheless, walking through lane-ways and happening upon full-on outdoor markets or sidewalk noodle joints gave me the feeling that this was a style of life that people had spent considerably longer developing and getting used to. The tiny streets can accommodate bicycles single file, but as the distances are not great most people just walk.

The overwhelming smells and sights made my travelling companion think of this area as a "slum", but for me the dominant feeling was a kind of displaced nostalgia. Having read about all the old traditional neighbourhoods which are being demolished at breakneck speed up in Beijing and in other cities across the country, I had to wonder how much longer this area would survive as I looked up at the skyscraper apartment buildings looming not 2 kilometres further south.

Setting up the show at the museum was a fascinating ( more...)
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 06/14
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