I’m Not Dead!

After many painful months of trying to restore blogging capabilities to no avail, a tropical vacation, and a new job, I finally bit the bullet and bought a domain name to host a new site. Roomaomao has migrated to www.stuckinshanghai.com/wordpress . Well, kind of migrated. The wordpress export/import totally blew it. I managed to import my categories, two comments (out of hundreds), my media library, but absolutely no posts or pages. Dang. 

Hope you swing by and follow the new site. It feels great to be blogging again!

Better Learn To Hold Your Baijiu Bro!

Warning, this post contains explicit language. I had to put it in order to faithfully display the situation

Wow! What an interesting Tuesday night!

I had just gotten comfy in my bed, all snuggled under the covers at about 11:20pm, when a great deal of drunken laughter and noises sprung up from outside my window. Now, I live on the 5th floor in an old apartment building next to the reasonably quiet, leafy JianGuo Xi Rd. There aren’t any bars or such right in the vicinity, but sometimes a bit of late night drunken conversation floats up from the street below. No big deal. They usually walk past and the noise fades away. Not Tuesday night. After a few minutes, super loud music plus bass starts blaring away outside. Dang, my building is 6 stories tall and I hear that music clear as day on the 5th floor. Everyone in my entire apartment complex can definitely hear that, most of them are kinda old. This is really obnoxious.

I can’t tell what language the music was in and it sounded rather indy. In the background, behind the music, I could hear rather unintelligible shouts and some snatches of poor Chinese. My racist self thought , “Damned Foreigners” “Must be the French” Expats tend to drink a lot, and I’m not sure why I thought French. Maybe because the music sounded hip. Anyways, after about 10 minutes of this, I take a look out my window at the scene below. Holy crap! No wonder the music is so loud. There is a car parked on the side of the street with all the doors open, blaring music, and there are like 5 or 6 wasted Chinese being complete idiots. I shut the window and lay back down. 10 more minutes pass, then the music goes down a bit, but the yelling persists. The lull lasted about a minute, the music is up full blast again. I wait another 10 minutes and then head over to the window again to look out. Now the music goes down again, and one of the group- a big guy probably in his 40s has grabbed one of the potted small trees from the sidewalk, knocked it over, and is in the process of smashing it by jumping up and down on it(while drunkenly falling) while a lady (presumably his wife) is shrieking with laughter. Just then I notice the the red and blue flashing of two motorcycle cops that have pulled over into the bike lane on the opposite side of the one-way street. I can’t hear what the cops start to say, but the driver of the car realizes he should probably get out of there. The driver shouts over to the cops something about how he will get out of there right away and maybe a sorry. As some of the people get into the car and prepare to leave, the big guy is still smashing the tree and is is shouting at max volume in Shanghainese “Hey fuck you cops!” “I’m fucking smashing this tree” “Fuck your mothers! “Fuck you!” “Come and fucking fine me!” The driver drunkenly stumbles over to the car and drives away. Yes, I could tell he was wasted from the 5th floor, and the cops just let them leave. Ok, music taken care of. I was getting ready for the show! An absolute piss-drunk asshole screaming obscenities at the cops while smashing public property? His ass is getting beat and going to jail! Wrong. The cops look at him doing this and procede to drive away. What?

Now there was just a very wasted guy left screaming in the street. Still not very conducive to sleep. I retreat back to bed, hoping it will be over soon. Time passes, it doesn’t stop. My girlfriend and I go back to the window and she shouts out (In Chinese) “Shut the hell up! There are people trying to sleep, idiot!” The guy looks stunned. Like he is amazed someone would challenge him. He glances around and shouts , “Hey, who swore at me?!” He glances upwards and sees us. He lets out a torrent of rage our way. He screams (In Shanghainese) over and over again “Fuck you , fuck your mother, fuck you, fuck your mother, fuck you, fuck your mother.” My girlfriend is furious now. She yells back “Go to hell, you piece of shit” and storms back to the bed (the bed is right by the window). I’m left there and I just look at the guy. He notices I’m foreign and now starts to mix up the “Fuck you, fuck your mom” in Shanghainese with a heavily accented “fuck you” in English. He then starts to scream in Mandarin “come out of that building and fight!” “fuck your mother” in Shanghainese, and “fuck you” in English at me. I didn’t even say a word to him. After a few minutes of this, I slip out of sight. He doesn’t stop. I’m getting a bit worried that he will throw something at the window or try to break into the building. Our lady security guard for the building wouldn’t have much of a stopping effect against him.

I would have loved to chuck some glass beer bottles at him but it wouldn’t have helped things. Seeing as how this is China, then police would then have probably come back, ignored the guy, and then come up to my apartment and arrested me for chucking the bottles. I choose the smarter option and slunk back into bed. We laid there for a good 10 minutes while the guy continued to shout. Then I guess his wife managed to drag him away, but the whole time we could hear him saying “fuck your mother” in Shanghainese, just getting fainter as he got further. Finally it stopped. Now, my heart is beating pretty hard and I can’t fall back asleep. We lay there nervously. 5 minutes later the shouting starts again right under our window! Fortunately, it started to die out after another minute.

Damn!

That’s the story. Wake up a 100 people (probably more, those 28 high rises down the street could probably hear all that racket) at night, blare loud as hell music for 20-25 minutes, smash property, drive drunk, scream swear words at police, threaten citizens, and nothing happens! You get away with it all! Congratulations!

I guess I have some rather choice words for those worthless Shanghai police.

You can probably guess what they are.

Shanghaiist Killin’ It!

http://shanghaiist.com/2013/01/22/shanghai_laowai_emily_ford_deigns_t.php – Shanghaiist take
http://www.shanghaidaily.com/nsp/Feature/2013/01/21/Enough%2Blaowai%2Bliving%2BIts%2Btime%2Bto%2Bgo%2Blocal%2Bin%2BShanghai/ – original article

Oh my God! Can’t stop laughing. This lady is in an absolutely expat bubble and Shanghaiist is happy to make fun of her.
Quoted is the lady, non-quoted is Shanghaiist

Thank you Shanghaiist!

Shanghai laowai Emily Ford deigns to live like a local for the day

Reading Emily Ford’s latest column in the Shanghai Daily made me picture a deeply self-satisfied, foreigner hating editor who has succeeded in getting a highly qualified writer (Ford is a former Times reporter) to inadvertently confirm every negative stereotype people have of overprivileged, naive laowai living in an expat world of their own.

“I’m at home watching the BBC, eating a Marks & Spencer’s sandwich, when it dawns on me that I may not be living a particularly authentic Chinese life.”

Never mind the fact that I’m sure one could find an awful lot of Chinese people who watch the BBC and shop at Marks & Spencer, I suppose it’s admirable that Ms Ford wants to get more in touch with an “authentic” Chinese lifestyle. Ford, who has been living in Shanghai for over six months, has apparently never stepped outside the expat bubble that she now decries.

“Another drawback of living in laowai land is that it is vastly more expensive, from yuppy cocktail bars to overpriced salad chains and markets running two-tier pricing systems, one for Chinese and one for foreigners. Even taxi drivers sometimes suggest I pay more, on the basis that I am European, and therefore rich. “Enough laowai living,” I think. “It’s time to go local.””

Taxi drivers suggest you pay more on the basis that you got a damn taxi to go 200m in a city with an extensive subway network, and are therefore rich.

“At lunch, I eschew the fancy Western bakery and go to the convenience store instead. What look like dumplings and unidentifiable things on sticks float in little pots of bubbling, brownish-colored liquid. It occurs to me that I would not know how to ask for convenience store food even in English.”

OMG you guys! Chinese food is so weird!

“Emboldened, I decide to take the bus home after work. I have never seen a foreigner on a bus in Shanghai before, partly because taxis are so cheap and also because the timetables are written exclusively in Chinese. “This is the real test,” I think. “This is when you know you’re local.””

Obviously foreigners, who are incapable of reading Chinese or even making such basic preparations as writing their destination down on a piece of paper to check against a timetable or checking a route online beforehand, never get the bus. Ford is a pioneer, a modern day Marco Polo, setting forth on a grand adventure alongside the strange and peculiar natives. Never mind the fact that many buses in China (unlike in Europe) display route maps inside them, have digital displays showing the next stop, and announce the name of the stop when they arrive.

“Several buses pass in the 10 minutes I spend squinting at the timetable. Eventually, I spot two characters which I am fairly sure from part of my address. I catch passers-by looking at me with what I assume must be unadulterated admiration. “Yes that’s right, I’m a foreigner,” I think proudly. “And I’m taking the bus.””

That’s right lowly Chinese plebeians, I, Emily Ford, am taking the bus. Worship me, for I am your new foreign god.

My comments – convenient store food? Dude, eat local and go to a frickin’ Chinese restaurant. Convenient store food in China is not good. It’s shit that has been shitting around for hours, that wasn’t good to begin with. While true that when I ride a bus , I’ve never seen another foreigner on one, her odd comments on catching unadulterated admiration are so whack. Chinese think we are weird if we ride a bus, they don’t admire it at all! Learn to read some Chinese and you won’t have to stare at the timetable for 10mins! HAHAHA

Shanghai’s National 4A Sights

Here goes the next installment. This is one is substantially heftier with 24 AAAA locations. Yikes.

Shanghai Jinshan City Beach. Jinshan District. 5 JinShan New City Road (5 Jin Shan XinCheng Lu). http://en.jsq.sh.gov.cn/venues_detail.asp?id=348
-The JinShan official website is slow on the update but now the JinShan Beach Metro Express is open! The JinShan light rail is available from Shanghai South Railway station and it cuts the travel time from the city center in half! I went here last summer for a musical festival and had quite a nice time. http://roomaomao.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/zebra-music-festival-at-jinshan-beach/ . While it can’t touch the tropical Southeast Asian beaches , it’s quite nice to relax at with a cold brew in hand. Plus , bikini girls are never a bad thing.

Jiading ZhouQiao Old City. Jiading District. Tacheng Rd. http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_5da9023c0100ociw.html
-Never been up here before. It’s quite a hike all the way to the end of Line 11 at North Jiading. Looks like a traditional Chinese old town complete with Confucius Temple, canals , park , museum, and traditional style buildings. This is high up there on my new to-do list.

Shanghai Fangta Park (Square Pagoda Park). Songjiang District. 235 Songjiang East Zhongshan Rd. http://www.chinatouronline.com/china-travel/shanghai/shanghai-attractions/square-pagoda-park-(fangta-gongyuan)_183.html
-Hah! Awesome! I just went there a week before starting to write this. Located way out in the burbs of Songjiang this is an impressive Pagoda rising up from a park. It’s an easy walk from the new Zuibai Pond metro line 9 station. The park itself is nice but not worth going all the way out there for. The pagoda would provide a sweet view of the surroundings but I don’t know from first hand experience. The ticket booth said closing time was 4:00pm but the workers in the pagoda ticket booth were busy clocking out at 3:45. Bleh.

Moon Lake Sculpture Park. Songjiang District. Linyin New Road. http://www.shanghaiexpat.com/article/my-afternoon-getting-high-shanghai-sculpture-garden-13957.html
-Located right next to the 4A SheShan Forest Park , I almost went here but the hefty 120 rmb price tag kept me away at the time. Me + Girlfriend + Waiting for pay-day = no go. This place looks pretty danged fun! At the center of the park is an artificial lake with a nice looking beach. Surrounding that is a wonderful green space with plenty of fun sculptures to interact and play with. I’m going here as soon as the spring arrives!

Shanghai Flower Port. Pudong District. Nanhui Town http://www.smartshanghai.com/out-of-town/ (Find the Shanghai Flower Port article)http://english.eastday.com/e/sly/userobject1ai4025435.html
We have reached an important point in the list! The first that I’ve never heard of! Flower Port? What the heck is this place? Doing a little research I’ve found this place is really in the boons. Eastern Pudong southeast of the airport! We’re thinking a good 2 hour bus ride to get here. Looks like the SmartShanghai team went at the wrong time, finding a barren land without any tulips (main point of the flower port). I like their assessment of the situation , “Rated an “AAAA” tourist attraction (usually that serves as more of a warning than a recommendation) and famous for the incredible tulip displays March to early May, this could be an amazing destination. But 50rmb for no tulips and a lot of bare ground though was a bit steep. “
Again , this is another place that will be much more accessible after the opening of line 16.

Former Residence of Chen Yun and Qingpu Revolutionary History Memorial Hall. Qingpu District. LianTang Town 3516 Zhufeng Highway. http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shanghai/former-residence-of-chenyun.htm
Ugh. Here is the first sight that sounds awful. Maybe it’s great but I highly doubt it. Featuring dry , boring, propaganda that glorifies The Red Revolutionary War! WOO HOO! “In 2001, the Former Residence of Chen Yun and Qingpu Revolutionary History Memorial Hall became part of the national patriotism education base. After paying a visit, you will know more about Chen Yun’s great deeds and the Qingpu people’s glorious revolutionary history.”

Fengjing Ancient Town. Jinshan District. 8588 TingFeng Highway. http://www.smartshanghai.com/out-of-town/fengjing-town
-Ah something more my style. Watertowns are great for relaxing out of Shanghai, for ditching the skyscrapers for old stone buildings , cobblestone walkways, and canals. I’ve heard of this place but haven’t made it yet. I’ve opted for the closer, cheaper (free!), and consequently more crowded Zhujiazhao water town. This place seems like the secret watertown. The place to avoid the million other people who want to get out of the city on a nice summer weekend. Admission 50 rmb. 1.5 hour bus ride from the city center.

Sun Island Hot Spring Holiday Resort. Qingpu District. Zhujiazhao Town 2588 Shentai Rd. http://www.sunislandclub.com/en/
Whoa. These resort seems ballin’! Not sure why it ranks a national tourist place ranking. Looks awesome(expensive) perhaps someone in the government has some cash invested in it? I might have to do a little look around but won’t enter if I want to check it off the list.
Here is their winter package deal.
“Get cozy and warm with us this winter and improve your health.
It’s time to get cozy and warm with us! Sun Island invites you to experience the difference in winter. Book our package now to get your blood and Qi move freely and restore your overall health!
One Night Accommodation in a Deluxe Room at Sun Island Resort
Complimentary Breakfast for 2
Choose from a selection of leisure activities (4 vouchers with 1 voucher per activity):
One round of Go-kart racing (1.3KM track)
Planting at Herb Garden (1 pot)
Golf Driving Range (30balls)
An hour of island-wide cycling on tandem bike
Craftwork DIY (1 piece)
Five Elements Assessment (Reservation Required)
Mahota Hot Pot for 2 at Members’ Restaurant
90-minute Hot Spring Bath or 50-minute Massage (worth RMB 330/pax)
Free Access to Indoor Geothermal Pool and Gym
Sun Island’s Daily Activities
Weekends: RMB 1330 /2 pax
Weekdays: RMB 1080 /2 pax”

BiHai Golden Sands Water Paradise. Fengxian District. Haiwan Tourism Zone 2 Haihan Rd. http://baike.baidu.com/view/1103987.htm
I could not find any English language information about this place at all. That link is helpful if you read Chinese and to look at a few photos. It looks pretty much like a decent beach. Come summertime I’ll head over there to make some comparisons between JinShan City Beach and this one.

Shanghai SheShan National Forest Park. Songjiang District. Waiqingsong Highway.http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shanghai/sheshan-holiday-resort.htm
This area in Songjiang is super-concentrated with sights. Sheshan Forest Park , Moon Lake, and Happy Valley are crammed up next to each other. SheShan Forest Park is divided into two separate parks, east and west. SheShan West has The Church of Our Lady of Sheshan – an active pilgrimage church in China, and the SheShan observatory. The East Park is more about nature with some nice walkways through bamboo thickets. Shan , meaning mountain in Chinese is more of misnomer at only 100 meters but it’s still pretty cool. Here is my previous trip there , http://roomaomao.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/shanghais-mountain-sheshan/

Shanghai Gongqing Forest Park. Yangpu District. 2000 Jungong Rd. http://www.shgqsl.com/e_introduce.htm
I love this forest park! It’s got the nature I like plus the Chinese version of park complete with roller coasters, paintball, go-karting, electric boat rental, and horse riding. Pretty awesome all-in-one entertainment area. http://roomaomao.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/gongqing-forest-park/

Shanghai Zoo. Changning District. 2381 Hongqiao Rd. http://gochina.about.com/od/shanghaiforkids/p/Visitors-Guide-To-The-Shanghai-Zoo.htm
Eh , well if you’ve been to any zoos in a Western country you don’t really need to go to this one. The conditions of some of the indoor enclosures and the treatment of the animals by guests (so much trash/food flung into the monkey enclosure) are surprising. I’ve been to the Cleveland, San Diego, and Shanghai zoos. Shanghai’s is laughable (with some weeps) in comparison.

Guyi Gardens. Jiading District. 218 Huyi Highway. http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/venue/Around_Town-Parks__Gardens/1247/Guyi-Gardens.html
It’s a hike up to Jiading District but worth it when this garden is pared with Nanxiang Ancient Town and its famous Xiaolong dumplings. Stuff yourself and then take a post-dinner stroll through the greenery. http://roomaomao.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/nanxiang-old-town/

Oriental Green Land. Qingpu District. 6888 Huqingping Highway. http://shanghai.cultural-china.com/html/Arts—Culture/Park—Garden/200812/25-2612.html
Oriental Green Land is billed as one of the top sites in the country for juvenile extracurricular education and entertainment. A sprawling green area next to Dianshan lake serves as a center for city youth to get out and enjoy the green space. This quote displays the Chinese mindset quite well “Nowadays, students are always overloaded with homework and feel they are under great pressure from peers, which is not healthy for their overall development. In addition, health and fitness are under threat through ‘over-safe’ lifestyles,” said Huang.
“Thus, high school students around the city are required to attend the three-day outdoor activities here in order to help them develop physical and social skills,” Huang added. Yes , it’s China. Give the kids too much homework and then force them to participate in outdoor activities to combat the work. Nothing says fun and gets me ready like compulsory. Seems like visitors can also partake in dragon boat rowing and sculpture viewing.

Century Park. Pudong District. 1001 Jinxiu Rd. http://www.chinatravel.net/forum/Shanghai-Century-Park-The-Best-Place-in-the-City-for-Running-Boating-Picnicking/2183.html
Ah, one of the first places I visited when I was new to Shanghai and desperate for an escape from the city. The largest park you don’t have to venture super far to get to. Cool events also take place here like the Spring Midi Music festival and fireworks show.

Yu Gardens. Huangpu District. Fuyou Rd. http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shanghai/yuyuan_garden.htm
The small garden is just a small part of the massive super touristy Yu Garden Bazaar complex. Tons of people, touts, and cheesy souvenirs. It’s an overwhelming place to see in the summer when the tourist crowd is at its max. I take visitors to see this place and go on an annual trip to see the lantern festival during spring festival. At all other times I avoid it.

Dongping Forest Park. Chongming Island. Beiyan Highway. vhttp://www.timeoutshanghai.com/venue/Around_Town-Parks__Gardens/1628/Dongping-Forest-Park.html
The holy grail of Shanghai forest parks! This is largest man-planted forest in Eastern China and the place with the freshest , cleanest , air . Walking among the giant pines in the evening I didn’t run into a single other soul. This does not happen in the densely populated Eastern coast of China. Besides just enjoying nature there are BBQ grills, camping, ziplines, boat rentals, and games. There is even a giant bonfire space to rent out at the hefty price of 1100 rmb. http://roomaomao.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/dongping-forest-park/

Zhujiazhao Ancient Town. Qingpu District. 763 XiangNingBang Rd. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhujiajiao
One of Shanghai’s closest and most popular watertowns. It really is like stepping back in time. Take the time to stroll down the cobblestone leafy streets that border the ancient canals. Eat a steaming plate of crayfish and then wash it down with a BeerLao from the punk bar. The town also attracts young Chinese who want to drop out of the hectic city life and open up a small shop or guesthouse.

Grand View Garden. Qingpu District. 701 Jinshang Rd. http://www.smartshanghai.com/out-of-town/out-of-town-daguanyuan
Grand View Garden is a replica of the magnificent garden created within the Jia residence for imperial concubine Yuanchun, as described in the Qing Dynasty novel A Dream of Red Mansions. The pictures look pretty spectacular. Chill out in the Qing dynasty tea house and enjoy the green spaces. At nearly 2 hours out of the city you will certainly need a bit of relaxing!

Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. Pudong District. 1388 Lujiazui Ring Rd. http://www.sh-aquarium.com/en/html/index.aspx
Shanghai’s aquarium is pretty cool. It boasts the world’s longest under water tunnel at 120 meters. The jellyfish exhibit is also quite stunning. Much more worth it (with a corresponding price tag 120 rmb) than the zoo.

Jinjiang Amusement Park. Minhang District. 201 Hongmei Rd. http://www.allaboutsh.com/Attractions/S51.php
Urban Shanghai’s (city center) only rollercoaster , and if you ride line 1 down south you probably recognize the giant ferris wheel looming overhead. Not much desire for me to go seeing as how in Ohio I lived an hour and a half ride away from one of the world’s greatest amusement parks , Cedar Point. Man , I miss the Millenium Force and Top Thrill Dragster!

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center. Huangpu District. 100 People’s Avenue. http://www.supec.org/english/english_page.htm
While it sounds rather boring, its main feature, a scale model showing the entirety of urban Shanghai with future buildings also appearing. It’s a great way to see how Shanghai will continue to develop and a lot of fun to try to pick out your living complex (obviously for those of us who live or have lived here). They also have smaller models of areas of interest such as the Bund. I haven’t been here yet, but it does seem pretty cool.

JinMao Building 88th Floor Observatory. Pudong New District. 88 Century Avenue. http://www.jinmao88.com/en/jinmao_edifice_tour.htm
The JinMao building? That’s like so early 2007. When was this list made? Haven’t the authorities been notified of the taller adjacent Shanghai World Financial Center? What’s going to happen in 2014 when the even taller Shanghai Tower which is right next to those is completed? The 88th story observation deck is really cool, but unless you like to blow cash, why not just visit the 100th story observation deck of the SWFC? It’s even better.

Shanghai Museum. Huangpu District. 201 People’s Avenue. http://www.chinamuseums.com/shanghai.htm
Museums in China tend to rather dull. Provincial museums are the worst, without even any English signage. Good thing it’s Shanghai. The city went all out to get a museum worth of national praise. It seems they did the job right. There are many different halls loaded with various antiquities from Qing dynasty furniture to jade, calligraphy, and paintings. I’ve been saving it for a rainy day.

Dang, I’ve been busy lately with the new job. That took quite a while to finish. There are still 16 more 3A places in Shanghai. Not sure when I’m going to get to them, the next 2 weeks promise to be hectic then it’s off to Thailand for a much needed 11 day break!
Woo hoo!

Workin’ with Sherpa’s!

So it’s official, I’ve started work as the Sherpa’s Social Media Editor. I’m not controlling those hardy Nepalese mountain dudes’ Facebook profiles, but rather the Shanghai, Beijing, and Suzhou based food delivery services’! Woo hoo!

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been pretty damn exhausting, and quite overwhelming first getting into it, but I feel like I’m catching onto things. Kind of intimidating to hit the post button when my news gets out to potentially tens of thousands of people. I’m being my own grammar nazi.

Right now, I’m responsible for updating the news on the official company ordering website – http://www.sherpa.com.cn , creating promotions and news on the company blog – http://www.blog.sherpa.com.cn , and working my magic with the company Facebook profile page (search for Sherpa’s Food Delivery). Once we get things totally running, we plan to expand to various other platforms.

It definitely takes more time, is more work, and pays less than my breezy kindergarten job, but it’s totally awesome. It’s also got some pretty killer perks too. Free Sherpa’s cash to do “official product testing”? Cha-ching! Plus, it’s pretty cool to learn about and get an insider view at all the different restaurants in the three cities.

If you live in Shanghai, Beijing, or Suzhou, check out the blog and follow our Facebook posts to enter in a bunch of contests to win Sherpa’s vouchers, free beer, and more! If you don’t, well, we’re always glad for the support, and hopefully we’ll share some interesting stuff on our Facebook feed.

Now, I’m dead tired. Sleeeep.

Say It Ain’t So

Oh, the sad , sad , horrible act of trading the long term for the short term. Putting a quick infusion of cash over the preservation of nature, and the long term enjoyment of life.

Please, please , say it ain’t so Shanghai!

Via Shanghaiist:

Tensions between development and environment look set to define this century. In Shanghai, the municipal government is currently wrestling with the temptation to hand Chongming island – described as the city’s “last virgin territory” – over to the developers.
The island lies at the mouth of the Yangtze river and is well known for its unspoilt natural beauty. It has large swathes of wetland that millions of migrating birds rest and recuperate on every year. The island is already populated but remains relatively rural, undeveloped, and distinctly low-rise. A fifth of its area – 300 square kilometres – has already been turned into the Dongtan wetlands nature reserve.
The official line of the local government is that the environment of the island will come first if (i.e. ‘when’) it is developed. They have recently released new plans proposing to build a Chongming ‘eco-city’ that will only have ‘environmentally friendly industries’ on it. The island has already been connected with new bridges and tunnels but officials insist that any developments that arise from these vastly improved transport links will be limited.
However, privately, the South China Morning Post reports, municipal authorities are considering turning the island over to the developers. The temptation to do so must be very great. Recently Shanghai’s economy has been performing relatively poorly, and last year the mayor said that it would have to find new ways to drive its growth. Selling the island’s land to developers would make a lot of quick bucks. The island is huge – over 1,400 square kilometres (China’s third largest) – far, far bigger than Hong Kong island (80.5 sq km) and more similar in size to all of Hong Kong’s territories combined (1,104 sq km). This represents a lot of undeveloped land and the Post reports how officials privately refer to it as the “Long Island in the East” (comparing it to New York’s relatively developed Long Island). They are also increasingly keen on the idea of developing it into a special zone where gambling is allowed, similar to Macau.
At the moment the island remains an excellent destination for a peaceful day-trip from busy Shanghai.

I love Chongming! I don’t want to see it become overly developed with brass , rude drivers beeping angrily , almost killing pedestrians, and emitting noxious fumes into the air. I love the tranquility and peace of the island. I had planned to make it my summer weekend destination spot for many a year to come.