Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Weekend in Shanghai

A friend sent me this article. It's from the Asia-Pacific Edition of the travel section of the New York Times. If you click here, you'll be directed to the full article. I've excerpted a portion below. If you follow the link, you'll find many more interesting Asia-Pacific related articles. Enjoy.

36 Hours in Shanghai

NOW that the Beijing Olympics are but a memory, the spotlight in China is moving to Shanghai as that city gears up to host the 2010 World Expo. With an anticipated 70 million visitors and 200 participating countries, the six-month World’s Fair will be enormous by any measure — not that Shanghai has ever needed an excuse to party. While the global economic slowdown has had its impact, Beijing’s naughty sister is still up to her tricks: from the flashing neon signs and light-bedazzled skyscrapers to the throbbing clubs and houses from the foreign-concession era hiding their decadent secrets. But beyond the clich├ęs, mainland China’s most cosmopolitan city still offers a breadth of experiences.


7 p.m.

Tonight is about embracing the kitsch. So set the tone by taking the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, a Disneyesque ride from the historic Bund area (look for the sign across from the Peace Hotel on Nanjing Road East) to the futuristic Pudong district. Buy the 40 yuan ticket (about $5.70 at 7 yuan to the dollar), and a silver pod will shuttle you across the Huangpu River through an extravaganza of pulsing, flashing and spiraling lights, creepy blow-up dolls and even creepier voice-overs (“hell and paradise,” “nascent magma”). Don’t ask questions; just sit back and look forward to that cocktail at the end of the night.

8 p.m.

But first more sensory overload. Emerge from the tunnel in Pudong and walk toward the Oriental Pearl Tower, a TV tower that would be Shanghai’s Statue of Liberty if the Statue of Liberty looked like a rocket ship in Christmas lights. Then head to the skyscraper with the giant hole at the top: the new 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center. If you can stomach it, go up to the 100th-floor observation deck (150 yuan) with its terrifying glass floors. Otherwise, enter through the Park Hyatt Shanghai and take the elevator to 100 Century Avenue, the sprawling restaurant on the 91st floor with triple-height atriums. Its six open kitchens serve everything from oysters and pasta to sushi, Peking duck and wagyu beef (dinner for two, with wine, about 2,000 yuan). Admire the geometric mosaic floors and swirling bas-reliefs — if you can keep your eyes off the panoramic views.

10 p.m.

You can’t avoid the Bund. Across the river from Pudong, this waterfront stretch of Art Deco and other edifices is Shanghai’s signature promenade and a hub of upscale restaurants and bars. At night, its floodlit facades offer an unparalleled vantage point for marveling at the giant light show that is Pudong. So go for a nightcap at the Glamour Bar (No. 5 on the Bund, sixth floor; 86-21-6329-3751), a perennially popular lounge with a 1930s inflection.

11:30 p.m.

Caught a second wind? Head to No. 18 on the Bund, which, depending on your perspective, is either a hotbed for the stylish and beautiful or a nightmare of boozy, over-coiffed expats in too much cologne and too-tight camisoles. There you’ll find two swanky spots: Bar Rouge (seventh floor; 86-21-6339-1199) and Lounge 18 (fourth floor; 86-21-6323-8399). For something more underground, don’t miss the Shelter (5 Yongfu Road; 86-21-6437-0400), a testing ground for up-and-coming D.J.’s. Housed in a former bomb shelter and painted black, it’s packed with the hoodie-and-skullcap set.

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