Bright and colorful by night, Pudong’s tallest buildings turn grey and hazy in the morning. I want to be on the other side of the Huangpu River but I can’t really figure out where to cross. After about an hour on the promenade I find the commuter ferry and take it to other side.
Large boulevards with colonial style buildings host posh hotels and luxury stores. Starbucks, Prada, McDonald’s, Gucci. Giant Chinese characters hanging on the sides of buildings remind me I am in fact still in China and an art supply store is the only thing that keeps Nanjing Road from being a complete waste of my time.
I sidestep into some narrow alleys between boulevards and find them full of life and motion. And full of street food. It’s too early for street food and I’ve had Chinese all week… Or I’m just not breve enough to eat something without really knowing what it is – again. Moving outwards from the city center the architecture changes and the small back alleys get more an more interesting (but less and less inviting) so I keep going and try to find the french concession.
I need to cross a huge intersection with suspended motorways layered on top of each other and what looks like enough concrete to build a small country.
I try and find a famous antique market but fail. I find a market that sells mostly insects – live insects, and some sort of mocking birds. I browse for a while and it quickly becomes apparent I’m the only tourist in there. Everyone is intrigued by my presence and mindful of my camera. The crickets get louder and louder so I leave.
I want to see the koi in the Yuyuan Garden. Ten thousand other people want the same thing.
Hours later I cross the river again to watch the bright lights turn on from the 474m height of Shanghai World Financial Center’s 101 floor. After three more hours, having crossed the river two more times, I get to my hotel room and my phone tells me I took a little over 38.000 steps that day.