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The three supertall buildings of Shanghai - Clockwise from left: The Jin Mao Tower at 420.5 meters making it the 17th tallest building in the world. The Shanghai Tower at 632 meters making it the 2nd tallest building in the world. The Shanghai World Financial Center at 494.3 meters making it the 7th tallest building in the world, and the highest observation deck of 474 meters.

Modern Ghost Towns, Racecars, and Skyscrapers in Shanghai

After being the more traditional cities of Beijing and Xi’an for a bit, I was ready to step into the more modern world of Shanghai. In the last few decades, like much of China, Shanghai has been on a building spree, with new buildings popping up everywhere. I took about a week to walk the city, and explore as many interesting places as I could.

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After being the more traditional cities of Beijing and Xi'an for a bit, I was ready to step into the more modern world of Shanghai. In the last few decades, like much of China, Shanghai has been on a building spree, with new buildings popping up everywhere. I took about a week to walk the city, and explore as many interesting places as I could.  Arriving in Shanghai, this is the classic shot from the Bund, looking into the main financial district.
Arriving in Shanghai, this is the classic shot from the Bund, looking into the main financial district.
As the sun fades on The Bund of Shanghai, orange lights illuminate the classicically styled buildings. It's a beautiful sight, enjoyed by masses and masses of people strolling up and down the curved walkway. The bund is beautiful now, but given the speed at which things are being knocked down and rebuilt in China, I'd be surprised if the skyscrapers of Pudong didn;t start to creep into the Bund area and the Concession areas in short time. The Chinese seem to be on such a fast and determined building spree that they're fine with buldozing away beauty, culture, and history in favor of new soulless office buildings and factories. It's a sad reality of the new China.
As the sun fades on The Bund of Shanghai, orange lights illuminate the classicically styled buildings. It’s a beautiful sight, enjoyed by masses and masses of people strolling up and down the curved walkway. The bund is beautiful now, but given the speed at which things are being knocked down and rebuilt in China, I’d be surprised if the skyscrapers of Pudong didn;t start to creep into the Bund area and the Concession areas in short time. The Chinese seem to be on such a fast and determined building spree that they’re fine with buldozing away beauty, culture, and history in favor of new soulless office buildings and factories. It’s a sad reality of the new China.
In the business center of Pudong, skyscrapers are huge, and being built as fast as possible. Looming in the back of this photo is the Shanghai tower, the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world.
In the business center of Pudong, skyscrapers are huge, and being built as fast as possible. Looming in the back of this photo is the Shanghai tower, the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world.
The Shanghai Tower, world's second tallest building, rises to the sky.
The Shanghai Tower, world’s second tallest building, rises to the sky.
The three supertall buildings of Shanghai - Clockwise from left: The Jin Mao Tower at 420.5 meters making it the 17th tallest building in the world. The Shanghai Tower at 632 meters making it the 2nd tallest building in the world. The Shanghai World Financial Center at 494.3 meters making it the 7th tallest building in the world, and the highest observation deck of 474 meters.
The three supertall buildings of Shanghai – Clockwise from left: The Jin Mao Tower at 420.5 meters making it the 17th tallest building in the world. The Shanghai Tower at 632 meters making it the 2nd tallest building in the world. The Shanghai World Financial Center at 494.3 meters making it the 7th tallest building in the world, and the highest observation deck of 474 meters.
The view from the worlds highest observation deck - 474 meters in the Shanghai World Financial Center.
The view from the worlds highest observation deck – 474 meters in the Shanghai World Financial Center.
Rampant building in Shanghai seen from the worlds highest observation deck - 474 meters in the Shanghai World Financial Center.
Rampant building in Shanghai seen from the worlds highest observation deck – 474 meters in the Shanghai World Financial Center.

 

Shanghai’s Knockoff Ghost Towns

 

A number of years ago, Shanghai started a program called  "One City Nine Towns", in which they sought to build nine smaller townes on the outskirts of Shanghai that emulated towns from around the world.
A number of years ago, Shanghai started a program called “One City Nine Towns”, in which they sought to build nine smaller townes on the outskirts of Shanghai that emulated towns from around the world.
Thames town is a ghost town now - the town was built, and there are a few inhabitants, but it's largely empty. The main use of Thames Town is as a backdrop for engagement and wedding photos.  Everywhere you look, couples are snapping wedding photos.
Thames town is a ghost town now – the town was built, and there are a few inhabitants, but it’s largely empty. The main use of Thames Town is as a backdrop for engagement and wedding photos. Everywhere you look, couples are snapping wedding photos.
Thames town is a ghost town now - the town was built, and there are a few inhabitants, but it's largely empty. The main use of Thames Town is as a backdrop for engagement and wedding photos.
Thames town is a ghost town now – the town was built, and there are a few inhabitants, but it’s largely empty. The main use of Thames Town is as a backdrop for engagement and wedding photos.
Couples taking wedding engagement photos are everywhere in Thames Town, a Chinese copy of a traditional British town.
Couples taking wedding engagement photos are everywhere in Thames Town, a Chinese copy of a traditional British town.
Couples taking wedding engagement photos are everywhere in Thames Town, a Chinese copy of a traditional British town.
Couples taking wedding engagement photos are everywhere in Thames Town, a Chinese copy of a traditional British town.
Couples taking wedding engagement photos are everywhere in Thames Town, a Chinese copy of a traditional British town.
Couples taking wedding engagement photos are everywhere in Thames Town, a Chinese copy of a traditional British town.
Inside a Chinese copy of a typical British pub.
Inside a Chinese copy of a typical British pub.
Couples taking wedding engagement photos are everywhere in Thames Town, a Chinese copy of a traditional British town.  How many couples can you count?
Couples taking wedding engagement photos are everywhere in Thames Town, a Chinese copy of a traditional British town. How many couples can you count?
Despite the classic looking exteriors, Thames Town is mostly deserted, with the insides of many of the buildings bare concrete.
Despite the classic looking exteriors, Thames Town is mostly deserted, with the insides of many of the buildings bare concrete.
The british motif extends outward, into huge oversized Chinese apartment buildings.
The british motif extends outward, into huge oversized Chinese apartment buildings.
Selfie Sticks are sold everywhere - there's no escaping.
Selfie Sticks are sold everywhere – there’s no escaping.
Lots and lots of tourist traps in Shanghai.
Lots and lots of tourist traps in Shanghai.
At the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center,  a scale model of the entire city. Huge!
At the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, a scale model of the entire city. Huge!
My timing in Shanghai was perfect for the Shanghai Auto Show -which was horribly overcrowded. I lasted about an hour, and then had to leave - it was madness pushing through the masses to stand in line to see a random crappy car. And no models!
My timing in Shanghai was perfect for the Shanghai Auto Show -which was horribly overcrowded. I lasted about an hour, and then had to leave – it was madness pushing through the masses to stand in line to see a random crappy car. And no models!
Masses at the Shanghai Auto Show.
Masses at the Shanghai Auto Show.

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A typical Chinese view - massive scale construction happening everywhere.
A typical Chinese view – massive scale construction happening everywhere.
I got addicted to this pounded, breaded, fried chicken, simply called "big chicken".
I got addicted to this pounded, breaded, fried chicken, simply called “big chicken”.
They sprinkle the chicken with chile and garlic powder. So good.
They sprinkle the chicken with chile and garlic powder. So good.
Anting is a Chinese copy of a typical modern German town. I strolled around there for an afternoon, and was completely weirded out. The town is laid out like a european town, but none of the charm, flare, or people are there - it's almost completely deserted.
Anting is a Chinese copy of a typical modern German town. I strolled around there for an afternoon, and was completely weirded out. The town is laid out like a european town, but none of the charm, flare, or people are there – it’s almost completely deserted.
Housing areas are huge, and while there is lots of vegitation, there's little activity.
Housing areas are huge, and while there is lots of vegitation, there’s little activity.
A bar in Anting setup with German wares - but no patrons.
A bar in Anting setup with German wares – but no patrons.
Anting, outside of Shanghai
Anting, outside of Shanghai
Walking down the street in Shanghai, this is a common scene - building going on everywhere. In order for buildings to be buit faster, they house workers directly on site, to cut out the commute, and maximize working hours.
Walking down the street in Shanghai, this is a common scene – building going on everywhere. In order for buildings to be buit faster, they house workers directly on site, to cut out the commute, and maximize working hours.

 

On Sundays, a portion of the central park in Shanghai becomes matchmaking central. Here, parents post advertisements for their kids, with hopes that another passing parent will see the ad and connect their kids.  Personal ads are put on cards which are pasted to umbrellas for higher visibility, and assembled into large boards.  The practice is so huge that there are now even brokers who manage listings for lots of people.
On Sundays, a portion of the central park in Shanghai becomes matchmaking central. Here, parents post advertisements for their kids, with hopes that another passing parent will see the ad and connect their kids.
Personal ads are put on cards which are pasted to umbrellas for higher visibility, and assembled into large boards.
The practice is so huge that there are now even brokers who manage listings for lots of people.
Parents trading matchmaking details about their single kids.
Parents trading matchmaking details about their single kids.
A hopeful parent holds up information about his kid, hoping that another parent will have a suitable match.
A hopeful parent holds up information about his kid, hoping that another parent will have a suitable match.
Personal ads in the Shanghai matchmaking market.
Personal ads in the Shanghai matchmaking market.
Weddings are a big deal, and it seemed like this ceremony was a huge disco party!
Weddings are a big deal, and it seemed like this ceremony was a huge disco party!

 

Volkswagen has a major plant on the outskirts of Shanghai. Although I didn't have an appointment or any contact there, I showed up and managed to talk my way into a private tour of the factory.
Volkswagen has a major plant on the outskirts of Shanghai. Although I didn’t have an appointment or any contact there, I showed up and managed to talk my way into a private tour of the factory.
My two tourr guides at the Shanghai Volkswagen were super fun!
My two tourr guides at the Shanghai Volkswagen were super fun!
I had the good fortune of Couchsurfing with Suskita - an awesome person who is kicking ass in Shanghai as she shoots photos, rides bikes, and hosts travelers from all over the world. Suskita is the best!
I had the good fortune of Couchsurfing with Suskita – an awesome person who is kicking ass in Shanghai as she shoots photos, rides bikes, and hosts travelers from all over the world. Suskita is the best!
Suskita's apartment is in a massive apartment complex.
Suskita’s apartment is in a massive apartment complex.
Pujiang, a Chinese copy of  a modern Italian town. Strange for sure.
Pujiang, a Chinese copy of a modern Italian town. Strange for sure.

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Shanghai has the world's fastest Maglev train, which I rode twice, for fun - 501 km/h!
Shanghai has the world’s fastest Maglev train, which I rode twice, for fun – 501 km/h!
A Baidu street view car! Cool!
A Baidu street view car! Cool!
On my way from Shanghai to Hong Kong, the Chinese smog is terrible.
On my way from Shanghai to Hong Kong, the Chinese smog is terrible.