|IT'S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN IN
China's most cosmopolitan city, Shanghai. The capitalist mecca of the Far East
in the 1920s and '30s, Shanghai is undergoing a renaissance, poised to become a
fashion and finance center to rival London, Paris, New York and Tokyo.
The Wild West of the East.
During its heyday in the Roaring Twenties,
Shanghai was known as the Queen of the Orient and the Paris of the East for its
prosperity and trendsetting style. It was China's window on the West, one of the
world's fastest-growing cities, home to the country's most fashionable women and
But, built by the opium trade of the 19th
century, the city also had a seedy underside of vice and indulgence, making it
equally attractive to smugglers, gangsters, warlords and pirates.
Light and dark. Yin and yang. Exceptionally
Chinese yet suffused with British, French and American colonial interests, the
city has always been an enigma. And as it enters the new millennium, you can
expect even more contrasts and surprises from this vibrant city.
Reborn for the 21st century.
Shanghai was chosen in the late 1980s to
spearhead China's economic progress, an effort that was furthered by the
establishment of the Pudong Special Economic Zone in 1990. Since then, the
government has poured millions into the city to create a glass-and-steel skyline
supported by a new "Shanghai Wall Street" and foreign investment.
The city now gleams with the world's fastest
train, the neon glow of elevated highways, broadened streets, new green spaces
and a modern subway system. Shanghai's Pudong International Airport opened in
1999, a soaring glass structure by French architect Paul Andreu, designer of the
Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. And the tallest building in the world is in
the works - the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
A few historic areas have been spared, though,
including the lovely art deco colonial buildings along the Bund and the French
Concession with its mock Tudor mansions.
Thoroughly modern millions.
Shanghai's more than 16 million residents have
the country's highest income and highest standard of living. As a result,
they've become China's trendsetters when it comes to consumption, with
sophisticated urban tastes that have helped to turn Shanghai into a thoroughly
Hotels offer fitness centers and aromatherapy,
restaurants serve international cuisine, the latest fashions hang in modern
malls and the nightlife is posh and pricey. Yet Shanghai is anything but a
cultural wasteland. In fact, it offers world-class architecture and is beginning
to rival Beijing as a cultural capital. The Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Art Museum
and Grand Theater rank among the best in Asia. And the classical cities of
Suzhou and Hangzhou, as well as the Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi'an, are just an
hour or two from the city.
|14-Day China, Japan & Korea
Hong Kong to Osaka,
Apr 19, 2007
Check on available Dates and Rates
and read the Reviews.