Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shanghai

Since I've come back from my travels, the most common question I get is: "What was your favorite destination?" It's always an internal battle to choose, but the answer is always the same: "China!" That being said, I'm really excited for my next few posts through China and am hoping that you'll get a taste of why I loved this place so much. A special shout-out here to my friends Justin and Lisa for their unmatched hospitality and without whom this trip would have been impossible!

When I landed in Pudong airport in Shanghai, I had no idea what to expect from China. Would it be similar to India? A huge socioeconomic difference between the rich and the poor, with 5 star hotels and homeless alike...Or would it be more like Israel? Developed to a large extent and exploding with growth, yet paralleled with a strong sense of culture?

China was nothing like I had imagined. Of course, it encompassed elements of other countries and was partly like India, partly like Israel, and partly like so many other places. Yet, it was uniquely unpredictable too. I wasn't expecting European architecture and high-end rooftop bars coupled with rows of food carts and street vendors. Shanghai and Xian were far more infrastructurally developed than anything I had seen in India, while the cultural grounding and abundant cheap labor surpassed the Zurichs and Londons of the world.

I deeply cherish every one of my experiences in China, no matter how crazy (coming up: getting food poisoning while watching my favorite DJ at a nightclub, missing my flight to Xian and getting stranded for a whole day, trying to find vegetarian food at the top of a mountain, nearly dying trying to scale said mountain, getting lost in the subway without knowing a word of Mandarin, and so much more) - so I hope that you enjoy the posts ahead!

Shanghai


First stop - a whirlwind of cultures, people, food, and life. A few snaps through my lens:

Lucky for me, tons of veggie options at the street-food carts


The Bund


The Bund: a cultural cross-section of Shanghai running along the Huangpu River. Originally developed by European settlements, the Bund was an international hodgepodge of banks, consulates, and government buildings. Today, the Bund houses the major financial institutions of the world and serves as a global business hub. It's architectural diversity is uniquely alluring, making it one of Shanghai's most popular tourist destinations.



 This last shot is from the rooftop VUE bar, overlooking the Bund on a gloomy Shanghai day.

Deloitte Shanghai! 


Justin and I found our future employer halfway across the world! We had to stop and take pictures while we strolled through the streets...

 Lujiazui - Shanghai's Financial District


The Shanghai public infrastructure explosion is world-famous. Lujiazui, Shanghai's Financial District, is a testament to Chinese growth and development. The landmark buildings that exemplify the Shanghai skyline include the Shanghai Tower, the Jin Mao Building, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and the Shanghai World Financial Center. 

We took a high-speed elevator to the top of the skyscrapers for a beautiful view of the business district. The Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the World, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The high-speed elevator is modeled similarly after the one in Dubai, a strategic tool that has fueled tourism and business-related travel in Shanghai. 

Lujiazui by day and night: 


I hope you all enjoyed this post...lots more to come on Shanghai!
XoXo