A Travellerspoint blog

Back to the Future - Part 1

sunny 18 °C

Close your eyes and imagine the future, when skyscrapers will soar effortlessly into the sky; when swift modern subways will whisk you smoothly between ultra-modern shopping malls; when sleek trains will fly you from the city to the futuristic airport at more than 400 kilometres an hour; when super capacitor electric buses will slip silently and cleanly along elevated flyovers and through streets teeming with electric motorbikes – now come to Shanghai and open your eyes to the future…
None of these sky-high towers existed 25 years ago…
Twelve lane highways like this keep the traffic flowing through the heart of the city…
While the squeaky clean spacious airport in Shanghai is a picture of functional perfection…
And this is the train that flew us the 40 kilometres to the airport in just 8 minutes...
Yes, dear blog reader, this MagLev train actually flies above the track on a cushion of magnetism and can zoom along at an astounding 450 kilometres an hour. However, since a high speed train crash in China earlier this year all trains are temporarily restricted to a measly 300 kms an hour. We crawled along at just 301!

The future is already here in this part of China and on the surface the Chinese are light years ahead of us. Canada seems quaint and old-fashioned – even archaic - in comparison. But whenever we find ourselves marveling at the futuristic architecture and technology here we only need to walk around the corner to get slammed back into the past. Beneath the gleaming glass towers the narrow backstreets are cluttered with the everyday stuff of life overflowing from the tiny shops and cramped one-room apartments…
When the laundry gets too much for the family’s line there is always the public park…
For many life here is lived on the streets, and the city’s open spaces are full of people playing mah-jongg and practicing tai-chi, while street vendors and delivery men struggle with inhuman loads on clapped out bikes…
We still have a lot to explore in Shanghai but in the meantime here's the answers to the Beijing quiz. The signs are:- No vendors allowed: Slow Down: Falling hazard, and postcards are on their way to the winners. However, the puzzlers continue – our hotel swimming pool has an expensively engraved plaque warning that sufferers of “Venereal disease, acute sand holes and intestinal infections such as mental disorders” are not allowed.

Posted by Hawkson 05:40 Archived in China

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Hard to imagine that those with such afflictions would admit to their diseases and setting up a screening program would be a challenge for sure.
That towering, modern cityscape makes many of the western financial centres pale in comparison. The world is tilting east it would appear.

by R and B

We too saw that contrast when we were in Shanghai ten years ago. The cushion train was just being built and we were still at the old airport. I remember that very picture - turning a corner and seeing that old street after leaving Pudong. Quite the place!

by joyce

My question is did you go for a swim in the pool.....? Not that you have any of the above. The plaque itself is off putting and based on that I would be inclined to decline. The level of chlorine itself in the pool just for the day to days give thought. What are acute sand holes?

by Sue Fitzwilson

Interesting plaque in English. No translation into Chinese I am sure since those are diseases of the decadent west! Great shots of Pudong. Love the shots of the delivery bicycle - reminds me of all the other shots of bicycles delivering incredible loads throughout developing Asia - not to mention transporting small families!

by Tom

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.