Something Old, Something New

Is any city a more extreme example of ultra-new (cutting edge, bold) paired with old (historic, outdated)?   From our arrival we plunged into the newness.  We took the MagLev train traveling at up to 430 km/hr.  The taxi driver, who took us at night from the MagLev station to our Airbnb, delighted in pointing out the amazing light show from the too-many-to-count skyscrapers as we sped through the city.  When on another day, we walked the nearby shopping mall, it offered all the best brand name stores.  We traveled around the city with ease on the well-signed and fairly easy to use modern metro system.




When we ticked off features of the city, would you have guessed Shanghai?  Joe first visited Shanghai in 1984, and the city has transformed itself since then.  Shanghai’s rapid pace of growth astounded us. New construction continues everywhere you look.  Treasures of older buildings do remain here and there in Shanghai, but we could see from using decade-old guidebooks that some of those areas have already disappeared.

Not all has caught up yet in the cutting-edge new city, for better or worse.  Old China is evident down allies; street sweepers with their homemade brooms (Joe thinks these are much better and more civil than leave blowers); trash overflowing with nowhere to go.  If China “stood up” in 1948, then it has “built up” since 2000 at a remarkable pace.


Last remaining section of the original old wall surrounding the city, built in 1554 as a defense against Japanese pirates.



We found the city fascinating and fast-paced, perfect for a 9-day visit.

September 2013

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, China and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Something Old, Something New

  1. How are you finding your airbnb places? We stayed in three during our trip to Belgium and Germany. One was simply amazing, one was great and the third was just okay. It was in the most fantastic position in the centre of Brussels, but it wasn’t clean. I will definitely use airbnb again though.

  2. gkm2011 says:

    Welcome to my home for the last 6 years! It is a city of contrasts – a great place to live. I hope though that you did get out to see the water villages or Hangzhou, Suzhou – a different pace of life.

    • We did not get out to those beautiful & different villages. Probably a mistake. We had so much to do in Shanghai and didn’t want to bother with transportation. So we rode the Metro in the city. Joe has been to Hangshuo on previous trips, going back to 1984.

      • gkm2011 says:

        I imagine he would not recognize it compared to 1984. So much has changed! I am glad you had a good experience October holidays is a crazy time in China, but always a lot going on. Enjoy the rest of your time here.

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