Dennis Wright's Blog

Shanghai Owls Reach for the Sky

Posted in China, Far East Cruise 2007, Video by Dennis Wright on May 11, 2007

After our Maglev round trip we headed for Pudong, Shanghai’s new high rise business area across the Huangpu river from the old colonial Bund waterfront.

We went to the observatory atop China’s tallest building, the Jin Mao Tower. The Jin Mao is the 5th tallest building in the world, narrowly beating 2 International Finance Centre (2ifc) in Hong Kong which we had visited earlier. Both are taller than the Empire State Building in 9th.

The Jin Mao and 2ifc both have 88 floors, a number the Chinese regard as lucky. At 2ifc we could only get to the 55th floor. At Jin Mao the observatory floor is right at the top.

The building under construction alongside the Jin Mao, and which will be taller when complete, is the SWFC building. Now I know that with a population of at least 13m (some claim 18m) Shanghai is bound to have at least some fellow Sheffield Wednesday Football Club fans as residents. But enough to justify the tallest building in Shanghai? Could Owl mania be that strong in the East? My dreams of grandeur were dashed when we found it was the Shanghai World Finance Centre building.

Oh, well.

The Jin Mao has its own post office in the observatory from where you can send your postcards of the Tower.

The Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower is a weird pink molecular model shaped thingy.

A blimp on the Shanghai skyline.

Our ship, the Holland America Line ms Statendam, seen from across the Huangpu.

The video below briefly shows the outside of the Jin Mao Tower and then our return from the Pudong side of the river back to the Bund using the interesting but quirky “Tourist Tunnel”. It is a means of transport combined with a rather cheesy tourist attraction. We saw it mentioned in a guide book and decided to give it a go, since we needed to get back to the Bund side of the river, but had no idea what type of “attraction” it was. It was also quite hard to find the entrance on the Pudong side. We spent quite a while exploring the riverfront before we tracked it down. It is quite fun, in a weird way, and parts of it oddly reminiscent of the bit in 2001 A Space Odyssey where Bowman travels through the stargate.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Later that evening, we went on our first organised shore excursion, a visit to a Chinese acrobat showBelow is a short video of our coach journey back to the ship. It really shows off the bright lights of Shanghai. We get views of the Radisson hotel, the Westin hotel (with lotus leaf crown) and behind it, over the river, the Oriental Pearl TV tower, then the Shanghai Museum (lit up in yellow) at Renmin Park, the giant electronic advertising display mounted on a boat on the river.  Strangely, however impressive the modern skyscrapers, the most imposing part of the journey was the view of the old square colonial buildings of the Bund as we descended towards them on the flyover.  We get a close-up of the Bund waterfront buildings and eventually arrive at the ship.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Not captured on video, immediately afterwards a fellow passenger nearly fell in the abovementioned Huangpu.  The woman I had sat next to at the acrobat show lost her footing as she was walking the gangplank to reboard the ship. For one ghastly moment it looked like she would fall in the narrow gap between the quay and the boat, but Naomi’s lightning reactions saved the day. There was some brief but desperate grappling and teetering, then one of the Statendam crew got a hand on the unfortunate elderly lady and ensured her survival. She was a bit shaken but thankfully fine.

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