Sandra Scott Travels: Shanghai Is A Pleasurable Experience Today

Pudong skyline from the Bund

Pudong skyline from the Bund

Last week I asked: What Chinese city’s name is also a verb?


Pudong skyline from the Bund
Pudong skyline from the Bund

Today, I think people would love to be shanghaied as Shanghai, China, is truly amazing.

But, back in the 1800s, most adventurers were heading to the west coast of America, especially the gold fields of California.

The practice of Shanghaiing was prevalent in San Francisco, California; and Portland, Oregon.

During that time sea captains were unable to secure enough able-bodied seaman to make the onerous two-year journey to China by legal means so they would pay middlemen about $50 a head to kidnap sailors.

The unsuspecting sailors were drugged, plied with liquor, and/or knocked out.

When the sailors woke up they were on the ship headed to Shanghai or shanghaied.

According to historical data the practice in Portland occurred between 1850 and 1941.

MegLev train
MegLev train

There is a Shanghai Tunnel Tour in Portland that is on my “Gotta’ Do List” that deals with the practice.

Shanghai is the largest city in China and ranks as one of the largest in the world depending on how you define “city.”

One accounting has the population at around 24 million.

We have been to Shanghai several times and are always impressed.

It never seems several times larger than New York City.

But I think that is because the Bund, the area on the western bank of the Huangpu River that was once the hub of international settlement, has an open ambiance.

I find the Bund fascinating – it is like the Yin and Yang of the city.

 shangahi tower to the right
Shangahi tower to the right

One side is lined with early 20th century buildings in the Beaux Arts style and building heights are restricted while across the river in Pudong the skyline is one of towering buildings, many with a futurist look.

At night many of the buildings are illuminated with LED lights.

The new Shanghai Tower is finished on the outside but they are still working on the interior.

It is 121 stories and 2,073 feet high making it the tallest building in China and second in the world surpassed only by Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

However, they are building one that will be 2,170 ft high in Shenzhen, China, that will surpass the Shanghai Tower in 2016.

Hyatt atrium
Hyatt atrium

There are many buildings in Asia with interesting architectural design but I don’t think this Shanghai Tower is of them.

To me it looks a little twisted, tilted and not plumb.

It should be open to the public sometime this year and will have a hotel.

The first time I came to Shanghai in the 1990s I was impressed with the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, which was the tallest structure on Pudong at that time.

It made me think the designers of Pudong had watched “The Jetsons” when they were younger.

Everything looked so space age.

We never took the tour to the top of the TV tower but did go to the top of the Jin Mao Tower, which is only 88-stories with a view of the area and an incredible view down the atrium of the Grand Hyatt hotel.

Full moon over Pudong
Full moon over Pudong

The Jin Mao Tower and a boat ride on the Huangpu River were included on our hop-on bus sightseeing tour making the bus tour an excellent value.

We also took the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel under the Huangpu River.

The meglev train trip is nearly a half mile in length with multi-media effects long the way some of which are a bit garish but it is still an interesting way to get to Pudong.

Trivia Tease™: What salad is named after a hotel?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!