My first trip to China was a long weekend in Shanghai last year. At the time I was still freelancing and I accompanied Husband on a business trip. Definitely an international city, I found myself intrigued by Shanghai’s style and culture.
I started my time in Shanghai with a walk down the Bund, the colonial riverside of Old Shanghai lined by historical buildings on the west and the Huangpu and financial district on the east. In the morning, the air was clear but by 4 pm, the haze had rolled in and the buildings weren’t very visible. Luckily, I had a chance to snap these shots in the morning.
In China, red symbolizes prosperity and joy while white symbolizes death and mourning so it’s only fitting that a Chinese bride should wear red. This bride and groom were having their wedding portraits done along the Bund.
The riverfront walkway along the Bund underwent a major reconstruction in March 2010. The benefits are clear.
I took a similar photo of a bull at Wall Street in NYC a few years ago.
Continuing my walk, I ran into these fun guys dishing up some street snacks.
I stumbled into People’s Park and found a man practicing his Mandarin characters.
It took me a while to figure out what was going on with the hordes of people below. Eventually I came to the conclusion I was at a marriage market. Every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m parents of unmarried adults gather to try and play matchmaker. The gender gap in China has widened to make finding a suitable bride more and more difficult for Chinese men. This market has been ongoing since 2004.
All this walking was making me hungry so I made my way to Jiajiatangbao (90 Huanghe Lu) for xiaolongbao. I arrived just in time to miss the long queue and sat across from a sweet local couple who gave me tips on the art of eating the dumplings without spilling out the precious juices or burning my mouth.
There are plenty of temples in Shanghai. Later with Husband now in tow, we visited the Jing’an Temple just north of Jing’an Park.
After the temple, we settled down into the lovely grass at Jing’an Park where we were promptly booted out by these officers. They were very strict about the “No sitting or standing on grass” policy. A shame, really. The grass was so nice and well cared for. I challenge you to resist temptation to sit on it.
We topped the evening off with cocktails and jazz, which is apparently live and well in Shanghai.
Until next time, Shanghai!
Editors note: Visas to China are required for many countries and can be expensive, particularly for Americans. If you plan on staying 72 hours or less, you may qualify for the 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption Program. Keep that in mind when booking tickets for a quick weekend and you could save yourself a few hundred dollars.