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First Impressions from China

Monday noon, Nanjin Donglu, Shanghai center. Sitting in a little Café, enyoing the airco and trying to sort out the impressions of the first few days here in China.

I arrived last Friday to visit Florian and to spend some time in Shanghai and the surroundings. Florian is living in China now for more than two years, one in Shanghai. So reasons enough to come over here.

Friday evening we went out for dinner to a local restaurant with Florians room-mate and a friend of hers. The pure chineese menu was hard to read even for Florian, so we gout ourselfs completely into the hands of our hosts and waited for the things to come up. I’m not totally sure what all these specialities were named, but all was very tasty.

After dinner we headed for the city center for a first look at Pudong skyline from The Bund. It’s impressive to see how rapidly the city is growing, especially at Pudong. About 15 years ago, the area was more or less empty, just swamplands, some greenhouses. And nowadays no other city in the world has as many skyscrapers as Shanghai has. More than 4.000 buildings are above 100 meters.

But still, Shanghai has it’s older parts. On Saturday, we went to the former frensh quarter, Fuxing park and Xintiandi. Lots af smaller, older buildings and narrow streets, very lovely.

Sunday morning we got up early and left for Suzhou and Tongli, a few hours south-west of Shanghai. The cities are so-called water-towns along the ancient canal from Shanghai to Beijing. Especially in Tongli, many of the old, medieval houses are still in use. And as there are not too many tourists, one still has a chance to really take a look around. There are still people living in the old town, lots of craftsmen are working there. It’s really worth visiting.

In fact, it was so interesting, that we came back to Suzhou quite late. We didn’t had much time for the city left. It’s larger than Tongli, but the old parts are as narrow as Tongli, with lots of winding alleyways.

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