I have been in Shanghai for 17 years (I cannot believe it), but I suddenly realized that I haven’t really been to Shanghai. A visit to the Bund and Nanjing Road shocked me. I haven’t ever been there! Never!
Suffered (or enjoyed) from my jet lag pattern from the States, I waked up early in a very comfortable way (not tired, and not sleepy, and just waked up) at 4:00 AM. After writing some blog post, I packed my bag and grabbed a taxi and threw myself to the beginning of the Bund.
Maybe because of the nice weather/blue sky, which is rare, and definitely because I came here earlier in the morning (too early, at 5:00 AM), and I saw the city in a completely different perspective.
Shanghai without PEOPLE!
The key characteristic of Shanghai is people! It is crowded, noisy, and sometimes chaotic, but not so in the early morning, especially in summer when it gets sunshine very early. Just FYI, the sun raised at 5:06 AM today.
When the taxi runs on the roads in Pudong, flying across the Nanpu bridge, and dived into the alleys of Puxi, there are nice buildings, many trees, but there was no PEOPLE! That created a magic view of the city, and reminds of the days in Silicon Valley (well, it was just yesterday). Imagine, if you put the density of people in the China Town of San Francisco into silicon valley, it would be completely different.
Shanghai that is CLEARER
One of the problems to have a lot of people is being dirty, especially in a city that throwing garbage along the way and spitting are national sports. In the morning, the streets are newly swiped, and the street cleaning cars just passed the alleys and streets. It is much beautiful to have blue sky and no garbage on the road.
Shanghai that is a GYM
There are at least three stages of morning in Shanghai. The first stage is empty stage with literally no one on the street. Before business people and office workers and tourists rush into the city, there is a unique stage: the exercise stage, when older people play all kinds of sports activities in the street, even on the famous Nanjing East Road.
Here are some of the photos I took randomly on the street. Below: dancing.
Below: Fan dancing.
Below: Chi Gong.
Shanghai as a SMALL TOWN
Shanghai is a big city, but in the morning, Shanghai seems to be a small neighborhood. Look this photo and tell me where it is. It is the busiest part of Nanjing East Road, the world famous shopping street. There are phenix trees and there are wide pedestrian, and it is just nice.
Finally, I wrapped my short trip of about 2 hours from the Bund to the People’s Square. The Tomorrow Square (JW Marriott) is the stop sign for the trip. I updated the photos in a Starbucks – free WIFI, and re-think about the image of Shanghai.
Maybe, this is the impression for many tourist, because they get up early, and that is very different from my daily perspective. No one, even the person who lives here for their whole life, can claim that they really know a city. So always challenge ourselves, to see more and in a more different way.