Living in Shanghai: In the Eyes of a Shanghainese

    Written by: Huzi Azhong
    Posted on: July 10, 2012 | Post your comment here Comments | 中文 (Chinese)

    Shanghai, China - About China: Living in Shanghai

    Shanghai, China

    The city I live in has been a port, a carnival for adventurers --- the Paris of the East.

    Chinese people living in a foreign country must think of the crowded and bustling streets whenever they come across the word “Shanghai”, --- the neon lights floating on the buildings, the music and dances in the halls, the brick forest on the Bund, and the elegance of the women wearing chi-pao walking on  the bank of the Suzhou River.

    I used to live in the old section of Shanghai which has a history of over a hundred years, and now it is the only old downtown area left in this modern city. I like the endless, sprawling lanes. Their names evoke the fragrance of the ancient country, such as Wangyun Street (Cloud-Watching), Menghua Street (Dream of Flowers), Anren Street (Peace and Benevolence), and Jingxiu Street (Meditation). The place I used to live in was called Xundao Street (Road-Tracing), Tiandeng Nong (Heaven Lamp); it sounded very ancient.

    Occasionally I visit Yuyuan Garden. I pick a cool day with a light drizzling rain to step over Jiuqu Bridge, visit a tea house, and sip tea while I listen to traditional Chinese music and watch the roofs with traditional cornices on their sides. How can I possibly not feel the clarity and richness inside!

    Watching sakura in Lu Xun Park in the spring and taking a walk under Chinese parasol trees on Hengshan Road in the autumn are also a special enjoyment for me. I love the heavy gate of the New World, the outdoor bars, the shimmering candle lights, and the smiling faces of friends. I love Christmas and New Year too, when people with shopping bags and children, who seem to make Nanking Road as crowded as it could be, look around with joy.

    A friend of mine who studies textile once said: “Comparing China to a giant textile store, Chengdu is the dark blue batik coarse cloth, Beijing is the piles of bright yellow brocade, Hangzhou is the pink chiffon, Xi’an is a piece of unearthed linen cloth, and Shanghai is bright and brand new, like a piece of gorgeous, shiny silk; you just couldn’t possibly ignore it.” 

    I’d love to believe that the Yangtze River is a river of history. It is like a peaceful giant who, after a long journey, makes his final exploration in this rich land of Shanghai and then greets the world as he claps his hands.

    The glory of Shanghai doesn’t belong to a single spot or a single lane. It belongs to a two-dimensional face or a three-dimensional space. She is not just an oriental pearl, but thousands of glittering gems that would make one gasp. Flying above the city in a plane 3,000 feet high in the sky and looking down at this sparkling and sleepless city in all its splendour, how else would you feel but thrilled and amused?

    I always want to take a close look at the city where I was born and grew up. I’ve been with her every second, but I still long for her beauty. She is changing every day, becoming more charming. She is still a growing city.

    The best views of Shanghai can only be enjoyed in a convertible car. Driving all the way, tracing a few circles around Nanpu Bridge, flying on the highway, you will find that the buildings transform themselves into musical notes and that the view of Lujiazui turns to a riff. And then when you slow down, and take a deep breath of the fresh air generated by the trees, you enter the glamorous downtown with great surprise at seeing the beautiful shop windows and advertisements…this is the robust Shanghai: a friend of mine who is walking to you in chic poise, a friend of mine who will always be young.




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